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Karayan Dam in Chico River, Lucog, Kalinga, The Philippines

The Indigenous Peoples of the Philippine Cordillera have resisted against large-scale hydro projects since 1970. In 2007, Karayan Dam is planned in the ancestral domain of the Dallac tribe in Lucog, Kalinga.


The Cordillera Autonomous Region, abbreviated as CAR, is a landlocked mountainous region on one of the country's 7,641 biodiverse islands. There are numerous Indigenous groups living in the Cordillera, who together, are referred to as Igorots, which means “people of the mountains” or “mountain people” (Carling 2001). Being where approximately 33% of all Indigenous Filipinos reside, CAR is considered the most ethnolinguistic unique region in the country[2]. 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Karayan Dam in Chico River, Lucog, Kalinga, The Philippines
State or province:Kalinga
Location of conflict:Lucog, Tabuk
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Water Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Land acquisition conflicts
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific commodities:Land

Project Details and Actors
Project details

The 52-MW run-of-the-river hydropower project´s 14 million m3 (3.7-billion-gallon) reservoir would displace five communities

Project area:25
Level of Investment:104,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:300,000 [1]
Start of the conflict:1970
Company names or state enterprises:Union energy Corporation
Karayan Hydropower Corporation (KHC) from Philippines
San Lorenzo Ruiz Builders and Developers Group Inc. (SLRB) from Philippines
Relevant government actors:National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)
Government of the Philippines
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Timpuyog ti Mannalon ti Kalinga (Federation of Farmers in Kalinga), (TMK); Bodong Federation
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Religious groups
Elder members of affected communities; Igorots (people of the mountains)
Indigenous organizations Timpuyog ti Mannalon ti Kalinga (Federation of Farmers in Kalinga), or TMK, a progressive group advocating for farmers’ and Indigenous people’s rights.
Indigenous communities: Igorot People: Naneng, Dallac and Minanga sub-tribes
Forms of mobilization:Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Bula-at and 88 other elders and members of the 18 affected communities filed a formal objection to cancel the permits
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Violations of human rights
Potential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Other socio-economic impactsTension rised in the communities between people in favour of and against the dam
Project StatusProposed (exploration phase)
Conflict outcome / response:Strengthening of participation
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The war for control of the Chico River hadn’t ended : today, there are three large hydropower dams operating inside the Cordillera region that includes Kalinga and Mountain Province, and at least five proposed dams.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[5]Delina, 2020. Indigenous environmental defenders and the legacy of Macli-ing Dulag: Anti-dam dissent, assassinations, and protests in the making of Philippine energyscape. Energy Research & Social Science
[click to view]

[1]Lapniten, K. 2021. ‘The river will bleed red’: Indigenous Filipinos face down dam projects. Mongabay
[click to view]

[2]Robbins-Waldstein, N. 2021. Indigenous Resilience to Resource Exploitation. StoryMaps
[click to view]

[3]TIMEK (PR), 2017. Kalingas rally anew against Karayan dam project. Northern Dispatch
[click to view]

[4]Catajan, M. E. 2017. Tribes oppose dam project in Chico River. Sun Star Philippines
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[click to view]

[7] ‘The river will bleed red’: Indigenous Filipinos face down dam projects. Mongabay 2021
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Teresa Sanz. ICTA-UAB. [email protected]
Last update23/10/2021
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