June 24, 2024

Meddling with International Day of Action for Rivers

March 14 is the International Day of Action for Rivers where environment enthusiasts come together to reiterate the importance of protecting tributaries being the source of clean water for livelihood and survival.
This event started in 1997 in Brazil with the call for a united effort to protect rivers from all forms of harm. This year’s theme, “Rights of rivers” recognizes tributaries as national treasure.
The campaign is imperative for every human being to participate in the celebration. Environmental activists have organized river walks, cleanup drives and webinars to emphasize how rivers serve as lifelines of the planet. Environment organizations from about 30 countries across the globe are participating in these activities.
Here in the Cordillera, there were social media posts by some groups with links to the underground movement claiming to care about our rivers.
These groups conducted community dialogues in Balbalan, Kalinga and Bokod, Benguet that centered on their opposition to hydropower dams in indigenous cultural communities due to threats of flooding and displacement of indigenous peoples.
Their cause may be consistent with the intention of the proponents of the International Day of Action for Rivers, but what their audience do not know is how these groups manage to circulate allegations against the government.
These groups also accused an agency of manipulating community consultations on a dam project in one province, when in fact these groups are the ones devising ways to sabotage consultations by preventing affected residents from attending assemblies where they are supposed to make their stand.
The International Day of Action for Rivers has become a venue for these groups to push speculations and portray themselves as pro-environment and pro-people with the intention of earning influence from IPs in the Cordillera.
Let us not make a mistake by joining activities of these groups that capitalize on events to push political agenda at the expense of IPs. — DANTE BUENAOBRA, Baguio City