You are on page 1of 2

Tumandok burial and sacred sites to be desecrated by

Jalaur mega dam project*


By Jalaur River for the Peoples Movement (JRPM)

ILOILO City The burial grounds and sacred sites of the Tumandok indigenous
peoples of Central Panay will be desecrated by the construction of the Jalaur mega
dam, according to a research conducted by University of the Philippines Visayas
graduates Mar Anthony Balani and Jude Mangilog.
We will be really affected because you know if burial grounds will be destroyed of our
relatives, our culture will be affected. The continuity and tradition of our family will be
destroyed because our burial grounds are remembrance of our respect to our dead
family relatives and ancestors, one of the Tumandok key informants said in Kinaray-a.
The study, entitled Necropolitics: Panays Tumandok Burial Grounds and the
Jalaur Multipurpose Project Phase II (JRMP II), identified 5 Tumandok burial
grounds and 1 sacred site in Calinog, Iloilo that will be destroyed to facilitate the
construction of the Jalaur mega dam and access roads.
A total of 9 Tumandok communities will be totally submerged to make way for the mega
dam.
Balani and Mangilogs study, which the two fulfilled last May 2016 as their
undergraduate political science thesis requirement at the UPV Department of Social
Sciences under the advisorship of Prof. Tomasito Talledo, was presented during the
International Fact Finding and Solidarity Mission to Panay (IFFSM-Panay) held last
weekend, July 16-18, 2016 in Calinog, Iloilo and Tapaz, Capiz.
The burial grounds that will be submerged once the dam is finished include those in
Sitio Sakalon in the boundary of Agcalaga and Alibunan, Sitio Balikan in Garangan, the
concrete public cemetery in Garangan, and the Bukay Isda sacred site in the Jalaur
river itself in Agcalaga.
The burial grounds in Sitio Kabuyan in Masaroy as well as the public cemetery in
Masaroy will meanwhile be destroyed by road construction.
Citing Tumandok accounts, it is estimated that each burial ground where the Tumandok
bury their dead may have at least 30-50 to more than 100 buried people.
The burial ground are marked by the planting of bamboo and gumamela while the
Bukay Isda is a whitish fish shaped stone in the center of the Jalaur where they
perform their rituals.
We respect our dead. Our dead will condemn us that we agree that they will be
desecrated. How painful it is to know that theyre dead already but they will be drowned

by water. It is very painful for us Tumandok because our dead is not respected, said
another key informant in Kinaray-a.
The study concludes that the project is an example of development aggression against
the Tumandok, with the destruction of burial grounds committed by government
agencies violating existing international laws, agreements, and jurisprudence
particularly the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,
International Labor Organization Convention No. 107 in 1957, and International Labor
Organization Convention No. 169 in 1991.
The study cited the case of the Awas Tingni indigenous peoples who won a case in the
Inter-American Court on Human Rights (IACHR) in 1998 against Nicaragua, which was
sued for granting the Korean company Sol de Caribe S.A. a permit for the exploitation of
62,000 hectares of tropical forests falling within the ancestral domain of the Awas
Tingni.
Another is the 1994 Hopu and Bessert indigenous peoples' case in the Human Rights
Committee of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ICCPR) against
France which planned to build a luxury hotel complex in the former's ancestral grounds.
Balani and Mangilog conducted interviews with Tumandok elders as key informants,
personnel of offices in-charge of the construction of JRMP-II, identified and mapped of
burial grounds, and made close reading of international and domestic laws during the
research and experiences on the protection of sacred sites.
The IFFSM-Panay is organized by the Jalaur River for the Peoples Movement (JRPM),
an alliance of environmental advocates, peoples organizations, church people,
members of the academe and indigenous peoples organizations.
- 30 -

* This article was published in the following news outlets:

Panay News
(http://www.panaynewsphilippines.com/archives/2016/07/24/respect-ourdead-ip-burial-sacred-sites-face-destruction-study-shows/)
Panay Today (https://panaytoday.wordpress.com/2016/07/21/tumandokburial-and-sacred-sites-to-be-desecrated-by-jalaur-mega-dam-project/)
Bombard the Headquarters
(https://karlomongaya.wordpress.com/2016/07/21/tumandok-burial-andsacred-sites-to-be-desecrated-by-jalaur-mega-dam-project/)