Infanta mayor, who is an opponent of Kaliwa Dam, shot

Infanta Mayor Filipina Grace America wearing face mask and face shield
Infanta Mayor Filipina Grace America. (Source: Mayor Filipina Grace R. America/Facebook)

Infanta Mayor Filipina Grace America was injured after she was shot inside her car after attending a mass, the police said on Sunday (Feb 27).

The local chief executive was rushed to a hospital in Metro Manila after authorities arrived at the scene.

Police on the scene reports seven barrels of bullets were used in the assassination attempt on Mayor America.

Infanta Vice Mayor Lord Arnel Ruanto condemned the attempt on the local executive’s life on a Facebook post. “Violence has no place in our peaceful town! We condemn this! Let us be united! Exert all our efforts to find the perpetrator,” Ruanto said.

She is a known opponent of the P10.37-billion Kaliwa Dam project being railroaded by the Duterte administration, which the locals have long opposed due to its potential impact on the environment and community.

Authorities are still investigating the motive of the crime.

America is running again as mayor in the upcoming 2022 elections under the Nacionalista Party. She is facing off against against Eriberto Combalicer Escueta of the Nationalist People's Coalition and Ednon Peñamora Verano, an independent candidate.

The Local Government Unit (LGU) of Infanta, Quezon condemned the shooting and asked witnesses to cooperate with the police.

A group of scientists condemned the government’s railroading of discussions with indigenous people (IPs) affected by the Kaliwa Dam project earlier in January.

Advocates of Science and Technology for the People (AGHAM) said in a statement on Jan 30 that the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) barred several members of the Dumagat-Remontado tribe from participating in discussions on the memorandum of agreement validation and community royalty development program (CRDP).

According to STOP Kaliwa Dam (Sectors and Peoples Totally Opposed to Kaliwa Dam), a network of local and international organizations and institutions, the project will affect the ancestral domains where 5,000 Dumagat-Remontados are situated.

Moreover, they said that the project will destroy the biodiversity and habitat of 126 species in 300 hectares of the Sierra Madre and endanger 100,000 residents downstream with the risk of massive flooding.

The network currently has an ongoing petition calling the president to stop the Kaliwa Dam Project, citing that the project “violates legal processes and the Philippine constitution, is destructive to the environment, and is against the country's national interest.”

(Additional reporting from Basti Evangelista)

Mark Ernest Famatigan is a news writer who focuses on Philippine politics. He is an advocate for press freedom and regularly follows developments in the Philippine economy. The views expressed are his own.

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