The Chico River Pump Irrigation Project in Kalinga is faced with increasing opposition after grave violations of the nation’s sovereignty and patrimony were exposed.
The Duterte regime surrendered the country’s mineral resources as collateral in exchange of a $62 million loan for the said project from China. Whatever dispute that may arise from the project will be filed and decided not in Philippine courts but in a court established by China for its foreign projects. Moreover, the project was given to Chinese contractors and workers, instead of Filipinos. The Duterte regime also agreed to keep quiet about the details of the contract which was signed in April 2018.
Aside from these, China imposed a very high annual interest of 2% in contrast with the standard 0.25%-0.75% in loans from other countries. Additional charges such as the $186,260 “management fee” and annual 0.3% “commitment fee” will also be paid. The ”commitment fee” is imposed to ensure that China keeps on profiting from the construction during future project delays or suspension, which usually happen with big dam projects.
China also loaned $211 million for the Kaliwa Dam in Quezon, with almost similar conditions.
The dam is set to be constructed in the ancestral land of the Igorot people in Pinukpuk, Kalinga. Residents were taken aback at the arrival of heavy equipment and personnel of the contractor China CAMC Engineering Co. Ltd.. Quarters for the Chinese workers were built and dredging was started by the contractor despite the absence of consent from the Igorot community, in violation of their right to self-determination.