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Philippines: Indigenous leaders killed in police raid had been red-tagged over dam opposition

'Indigenous leaders killed in Philippines were ‘red-tagged’ over dam opposition', 08 February 2021

... on Dec. 30, 2020, police officers raided Indigenous villages within a military reservation camp in the central Philippines in search of alleged members of the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the banned communist party. During the raid, authorities killed nine leaders and arrested 16 members of the Tumandok ethnic group… Lawmakers and local groups say the targets of the raid, especially those who were killed, had been opposed to the ongoing construction of the controversial Jalaur dam in the nearby municipality of Calinog... The Jalaur project is the first large-scale dam to be constructed in the Philippines’ central and southern Visayas and Mindanao regions. Eighty percent of the project cost, nearly $208 million, comes from a loan from the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (KEDF) of South Korea, issued through the Export-Import Bank of Korea in 2012. In 2018, the Philippines’ National Irrigation Administration signed a 11.2 billion peso ($224 million) contract with South Korea’s Daewoo Engineering and Construction for the second stage of the Jalaur project. The project is expected to provide year-round irrigation, bulk water supply, hydroelectric power, and ecotourism opportunities… the nine Indigenous leaders were part of a Human Rights Day rally, in which they protested against the dam projects. They were accused of being rebels that same day — a practice known as “red-tagging” that is often used to justify a subsequent crackdown by the police or military…

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