San Roque Sign-On Letter to JBIC

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Mr. Kyosuke Shinozawa
Japan Bank for International Cooperation
4-1, Ohtemachi 1-chome
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8144
Fax: +81-3-5218-3950

Dear Mr. Shinozawa,

We, the undersigned 37 nongovernmental organizations from 14 countries, are actively monitoring the social and environmental impacts of export credit agency lending and are deeply concerned with JBIC’s continued support of the San Roque Dam Project in the Philippines.

As you know, impoundment of the reservoir began on August 8 despite violations of Philippine national law and outstanding issues regarding compensation and mitigation. More than 20,000 people living upstream of the dam site are at risk of losing their lands as sediment begins to accumulate in the reservoir.

We recognize JBIC’s efforts to strengthen its own environmental guidelines and to encourage the adoption of stronger standards for export credit agencies within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). However, JBIC’s support for San Roque violates even the weak existing OECD guidelines that it has committed to, as well as conditions established specifically with regard to San Roque. The OECD’s Draft Recommendation on Common Approaches on Environment and Officially Supported Export Credits (Revision 6, June 8, 2001) states that

With a view to achieving consistency in the benchmarking process, members recognize that projects should be evaluated as follows: Projects should comply with standards of the host country. (Paragraph 15)

While the Recommendation is still officially considered a draft and has not formally entered into effect, all OECD members except for the US and Turkey have agreed to comply with the Recommendation. As shown below, JBIC has failed to comply with this Recommendation and has violated its own loan conditions regarding San Roque. Outstanding resettlement and compensation issues are also outlined below.

Violation of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act

Implementation of San Roque is proceeding although it violates the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) of the Philippines, which requires the free and prior informed consent of indigenous peoples for projects that impact their ancestral lands. JBIC has stated that one of the important conditions for further disbursement of funds for San Roque is compliance with IPRA. This requires the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples- Cordillera Administrative Region and NCIP staff to conduct consultations with affected people.

A report released last year by the Office of the Presidential Assistant on Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs validated claims that project proponents did not obtain the free and prior informed consent of affected communities and that consultations were conducted only after the project was already underway. Indigenous Ibaloy communities living upstream of the dam continue to assert their rights and remain fiercely opposed to this project. They intend to file a lawsuit to stop the project based on the violation of IPRA and other Philippine laws.

Violation of Local Government Code

JBIC stated in a 1999 Memorandum of Understanding that from the viewpoint of compliance with Philippines laws/regulation, especially the Local Government Code, NPC [Philippine National Power Corporation] has agreed to consult with the Provincial Board of Benguet to provide accurate information and obtain such endorsement or other expression of support that may be deemed appropriate. The Provincial Board of Benguet has refused to issue an endorsement for San Roque, and the Municipal Council of Itogon has rescinded its endorsement of the project.

Failure to Fulfill Commitments on Resettlement and Compensation

There are serious problems with the implementation of the Resettlement Action Plan. NPC has failed to provide adequate compensation or sustainable forms of livelihoods for people impacted by San Roque. In the resettlement areas, there is no source of long-term livelihood or income for the families. There is no land to till, and livelihood projects offered by NPC have not succeeded. Last year, NPC banned people from gold panning along the lower Agno River. In response, more than 1,000 gold panners petitioned NPC and San Roque Power Corporation to allow them to continue gold panning. Construction of the San Roque Dam has undermined 3,000 families� major source of livelihood during the rainy season.

Sedimentation Issues Not Addressed

High rates of sedimentation in the watershed area will likely lead to flooding around the reservoir, inundating the lands of thousands of people living upstream. Despite the potential impacts of sedimentation on communities, project proponents have failed to publicly disclose information on sedimentation or its possible impacts. The project�s Watershed Protection Program fails to address this issue and even restricts the livelihood activities of people living within the watershed area.

Legal Issues with Power Purchase Agreement

Last month, the Philippines Inter-Agency Review Committee investigated independent power producer contracts and found legal and financial issues with the contract for San Roque. Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo stated that the San Roque contract and four others have both legal and financial issues that need to be referred for appropriate study, renegotiation and possible legal action. Critics in the Legislature have charged that the contracts were unfair to the public as they required NPC to pay huge amounts to independent electricity producers even if it did not tap these sources. San Roque will force a huge financial burden on the Philippine government and taxpayers.

As you may know, NGOs have called for stronger common environmental standards of export credit agencies. If JBIC now violates the present weak Recommendation by continuing to fund San Roque, this will destroy the credibility of the Recommendation and of JBIC’s commitment to it. We urge JBIC to stop all further disbursements of funds for the San Roque Dam Project and to immediately cancel the remaining loan for this unjust project.


Susanne Wong
Southeast Asia Campaigner
International Rivers

Cc: Mr. Masaaki Yamada, Director, Press and External Affairs Division, Japan Bank for International Cooperation
Mr. Masajuro Shiokawa, Minister of Finance, Japan

This letter is also endorsed by the following organizations.

Shwe Myo Thant
Karenni Evergreen, Karenni (Burma)

Ian Baird
Global Association for People and the Environment, Canada

Grainne Ryder
Probe International, Canada

Sebastien Godinot
Friends of the Earth, France

Maren Jung
Urgewald, Germany

Heike Drillisch
WEED – World Economy, Ecology & Development, Germany

Himanshu Thakkar
South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People, India

Ikuko Kobuke and Itaru Shimada
Akay Project, Japan

Hanako Odagawa
Asian Coalition for Housing Rights, Japan

Toshihide Fujiwara
Campaign for Future of Filipino Children (CFFC), Japan

Hideyuki Kurita
Donglala, Japan

Hidehito Okochi, Yu Tanaka, Yamazaki Motohiro, Yuki Nara, Kunito Imai, Tomonobu Ichimur, Akiko Fujii, Tomoyuki Takada and Takahiro Yasui Edogawa Citizen’s Network for Thinking About Global Warming from Where We Stand, Japan

Ikuko Matsumoto
Friends of the Earth, Japan

Hisashi Suzuki
Fukuoka NGO Forum on the ADB, Japan

Tomohiro Aoki
Isahaya Tidal Flats Emergency Rescue Task Force Tokyo Office, Japan

Cecilia Haruko Ishikawa
Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Japan

Yoshihiko Murata
Japan CHT Committee, Japan

Takeji Fujiwara
Japan Environmental Lawyers Federation (JELF), Japan

Junko Okura
Jubilee Kyushu on World Debt and Poverty, Japan

Sayoko Iinuma
Mekong Watch, Japan

Yasuo Endo
National Dam Opposition Network (Suigen-ren), Japan

Reiko Amano
NGO Association for Public Works Review, Japan

Takahiko Ezaki and Fumiko Tanaka
People’s Forum on Water, Japan
Kazuyoshi Okada
Sagami River Camp-in Symposium, Japan

The Struggle Against Tokuyama Dam Committee, Japan

Lee Cheol Jae
Korean Federation for Environmental Movement, Korea

Sem Kiong Angin
Indigenous Peoples Development Center, Malaysia

Thomas Jalong
Sahabat Alam Malaysia, Malaysia

Wiert Wiertsema
Both ENDS, The Netherlands

Asim Nawaz Khan
Network Welfare Association, Pakistan

Jenina Joy Chavez and Shalmali Guttal
Focus on the Global South, Thailand/Philippines

Hsao Tai
Sapawa, Thailand

Nicholas Hildyard
Corner House, UK

Aaron Goldzimer
Environmental Defense, US

Jon Sohn
Friends of the Earth, US

Doug Norlen
Pacific Environment, US