Save Pulangi Alliance, Bukidnon province, Mindanao, Philippines

Environmental defender Margarito Cabal was killed in 2012. However, the 5th hydropower project in the Pulangi River that he fought against, seems to be going ahead in 2018, for a 250 MW dam.


In 2018 it was announced that that First Bukidnon Electric Cooperative Inc. (FIBECO) and Pulangi Hydro Power Corp. (PHPC) signed a memorandum of understanding on March 8 2018 to begin construction of the 250-MW Pulangi (also spelled Pulangui) fifth hydropower plant in Bukidnon in Mindanao, according to the Philippines National Electrification Administration (NEA).

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Basic Data
NameSave Pulangi Alliance, Bukidnon province, Mindanao, Philippines
ProvinceBukidnon, Mindanao
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Water Management
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Dams and water distribution conflicts
Specific CommoditiesElectricity
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe Pulangi River, also spelled Pulangui, is the longest river in Bukidnon. It is one of the major tributaries of the Rio Grande de Mindanao, an extensive river system in Mindanao, Philippines. It has a length of 320 kilometers and traverses through majority of the cities and municipalities of Bukidnon from its source in Barangay Kalabugao, Impasugong, Bukidnon.

Pulangi is also the site of the proposed Pulangi V Hydroelectric Dam. The project is expected to generate about 300 megawatts of renewable energy for Mindanao. The dam implies flooding 3,300 hectares mostly highly sloping lands along the riverbank in 22 barangays in Kitaotao, Kibawe, Dangcagan and Damulog in Bukidnon and Roxas town in North Cotabato. Of the total dam area, 40% is the present river itself and the inundated areas are stiff slopes along the river bank. An estimated of 1,060 households will be affected. Opposition to the project have claimed that the project would submerge the burial site of Apo Mamalu, a revered ancestor of the Manobo indigenous people in Mindanao. Anti-large dam activist Margarito Cabal, was killed by an unidentified gunman in 2012. Cabal was an active leader of Task Force Save Pulangi (TFSP) campaigning against the construction of a hydroelectric dam in Pulangi River which threatens the integrity of the ecosystem and the displacement of the peasant and indigenous community along the said river.

in March 2017 (4) it was reported that Chinese finance would become available for the Pulangi V hydropower project. "Chinese companies are now in talks with the government and potential local private sector partners for the development of two additional hydroelectric power plants at the Agus and Pulangi complexes in Mindanao that could produce about 550 megawatts (MW) of new supply. Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Deputy Executive Director Romeo M. Montenegro said these two proposed plants -- the Agus 3 project in Lanao del Sur that could produce about 250 MW and the Pulangi 5 project in Bukidnon with a 300-MW output -- are expected to help balance the Mindanao energy mix between renewable and fossil fuel by 2030. Mr. Montenegro said Pulangi 5 was among the projects agreed upon when President Rodrigo R. Duterte visited China last year ..."
Project Area (in hectares)3300
Level of Investment (in USD)800,000,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population1,060 households
Start Date2012
Company Names or State EnterprisesNAPOCOR from Philippines
First Bukidnon Electric Cooperative Inc. (FIBECO) from Philippines
Relevant government actorsMindanao Development Authority (MinDA)

Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersKalikasan – People’s Network for the Environment (PNE).

Task Force Save Pulangi.

Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan n Pilipinas (KAMP)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Religious groups
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns
Argument for the sacredness of Apo Mamalu, a burial place
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusPlanned (decision to go ahead eg EIA undertaken, etc)
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Violent targeting of activists
Development of AlternativesMANILA, 12 August 2015 (Bulatlat)– Indigenous peoples ... call for a stop to at least six mega dam and mini-hydro power projects being undertaken by the Aquino administration. “Building of dams may be able to produce electricity or provide irrigation services and flood control, but to indigenous peoples, it has meant erosion of culture and ethnocide,” said Jill Cariño, executive director and convenor of the Philippine Task Force for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights (TFIP). TFIP, a network of 12 NGOs, along with the Katribu Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (Katribu) trooped to the House of Representatives in Quezon City to submit a petition calling for a stop to mega dam projects. Copies of the petition were submitted to district representatives in the affected areas, and to the House committee on environment and natural resources. The petition want to stop the following six dam projects: the Kaliwa River or Laiban Dam in Rizal and Quezon, the Jalaur dam in Panay island, the Balog-balog Dam in Tarlac province, the Pulangi Mega Dam V in North Cotabato and Bukidnon, and the Tinoc Minihydro power plant and Alimit Hydropower Complex in Ifugao. (3)
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.There was no reddress for the killing of Margarito Cabal in 2012 (and also of so many other environmental defenders in the Philippines), and the project seems to be going ahead in 2018 with Chinese finance for a 250 MW dam.
Sources and Materials

(1) May 13, 2012. Environmental activist shot dead in Bukidnon

Rhodina Villanueva.
[click to view]

(2) Human Rights Watch, Philippines: Killings of Environment Advocates Unpunished
[click to view]

(4) Business World. Carmelito Q. Francisco, correspondent, Davao City. . Chinese firms in talks for new plants in Agus-Pulangi hydro complexes. March 16, 2017
[click to view]

March 16, 2017, Bukidnon News
[click to view]

Media Links

(3) Damn the dams’ | Indigenous peoples say no to destructive energy projects. Dee Ayroso August 12, 2015
[click to view]

Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan n Pilipinas (KAMP) condemned the killing of Margarito Cabal, a government employee from Kibawe, Bukidnon
[click to view]

Other Documents

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Source: D.Ayroso/ Bulatlat
[click to view]

Meta Information
Last update05/06/2018