Japan: standing firm on san roque

For more than a decade, Friends of the Earth Japan has worked closely with local communities in the Philippines, who opposed – and have since suffered the impacts of – the construction of the San Roque Dam (as part of the San Roque Multi-purpose Project). The dam was funded by the Japanese government.
Japan: standing firm on san roqueProtest action of Timmawa in front of the Japanese embassy, 2002.Collaborative activities with local communities and the indigenous people living in the area included a joint protest in front of the Japanese embassy in Manila; and hosting community leaders in Japan to enable discussions with Japanese citizens, and meetings with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and members of the Diet of Japan.

 

 

Since the dam was completed in 2002, FoE Japan has been campaigning for compensation for lost lands and livelihoods, and is working to make sure that promises made to families
engaged in farming and gold-panning are met in full. They have also campaigned to ensure that the indigenous community is recognised alongside other affected people. Even though unresolved issues remain – including unpaid compensation and the impoverishment of residents – this effort has helped to ensure that some of those relocated received susbstitute farmland. Approximately 1,000 people also participated in a livelihoods program after being officially recognised as gold-panners.

 

“Twelve years have passed since the local people and FoE Japan started to work together on the issues triggered by the construction of the San Roque Dam. We cannot bring an end to this work until the livelihoods of local people are restored, and Japan stops forcing similar development projects on others.”

 

Hozue Hatae, Friends of the Earth Japan

 

Japan consistently finances projects in developing countries that focus on the exploitation of natural resources and the development of large infrastructure, which can have serious environmental and social impacts. To prevent this Friends of the Earth Japan has also been participating in policy consultations on environmental and social guidelines with JBIC and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

 

“FoE Japan has helped us demand rights for the gold-panners and farmers since the beginning of the San Roque dam project. We are grateful to them and the people who participated in the study tours they organised. Their fearless visit to us, even after our previous chairperson was assassinated, really encouraged us to continue our campaign. We would like to keep this cooperation alive and prove that we are not demoralised!”


Ms. Nora Luzano, the chairperson of local people’s organisation

 

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