“HEDCOR is in clear violation of our rights as indigenous peoples who have the inherent rights to our ancestral lands. There was no genuine consultation nor was there any genuine consent from the Tagabawa lumads as claimed by HEDCOR. If they claim to hold any proof, it was deceptively taken,” said Roger Limukon, chairperson of the Sinubadan Lumad Bagobo Mekatanod (SILUBAME).
SILUBAME, a local lumad organization that was formally convened on January 3, 2008, is a united effort of the Tagabawa lumads in Tudaya, Brgy. Sibulan Sta. Cruz who strongly oppose the HEDCOR hydropower plant which started their full-blown implementation this year. It represents their united stand on the defense of their ancestral domain, including the sacred Tudaya falls where they launched their rituals and now where hydropower plant is currently being built.
Allegedly, a military operation was conducted by the military elements under the 10th Infantry Division after the SULIBAME assembly was held, causing fear to the local residents.
“Everytime we express complaints due to the destruction and disturbance that HEDCOR's power plant is causing, military elements will then conduct their operations in our area, in fact HEDCOR's heavy equipment and materials were delivered to the construction site with the aid of the military soldiers,” Limukon said.
PASAKA Confederation of Lumad Organizations in Southern Mindanao , the regional Lumad umbrella organization, also reported that many residents in Sta. Cruz complained about the aggressive construction of the power plant which runs almost 24-hours. They also said there was a great change in the landscape and so much has been destroyed.
“Before the construction, there were green vegetation and coffee trees near the Elementary School found in Tudaya, now there are only brown earth dug out from vast measures of land. Their promised roads and electricity do not measure to the grave damage this power plant will cause the health, livelihood and environment al safety of the people,” Mel Elio, PASAKA Chairperson and a Bagobo lumad from Davao Del Sur, said.
PASAKA cites further that the Bagobo-Tagabawa tribe is now facing threats of displacement. And since the plant will be located within the Mt. Apo Natural Park , it would disrupt the protected biodiversity and cause land degradation, loss of land and water biodiversity which will consequently lead to diminished and polluted land and water resources.
The Save Tudaya! Campaign, spearheaded by the local lumad organization and environmental groups, is continuously opposing this anti-lumad project.
Dr. Mel Elio
Sinubadan Lumad Bagobo Mekatanod (SILUBAME)