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Letter of the Roman Catholic Bishops of Manila to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on the Laiban Dam Project

September 14, 2009

Dear Pres. Arroyo:

Greetings of Peace!

As Pastors, we are one with the outrage expressed by our people against the Laiban Dam project of your administration. The project is made worse with SMC’s offer of US $2B government guarantee with “take or pay” provision in a proposed Joint Venture contract with MWSS.

“In these trying times when uniting the people is more urgent, any project that can be a cause of suspicion and division should be avoided.” What may be perceived as common good of the present generation may turn out to be a cause of suffering for the next. Even with the best intention of providing more water to the people can spark protests when it ignores and violates framework for sustainable development, ethical and legal considerations.

The project will submerge 28,000 hectares of a biodiverse-rich forest-ecosystem, under a 113-meter high Laiban Dam. Moreover this dam is situated on top of a seismic fault line with historical record of 7.6 intensity. It …