Case Study C:
The Ambuklao-Binga Story: Nurturing the Value of Dialogue and Listening - A Community Perspective from the Philippines

INTRODUCTION: This case study presents the transformative journey of the Ibaloi, an indigenous ethnic minority group in the northern uplands of the Philippines, and their struggle for rights over their ancestral land after being displaced by the construction of two hydroelectric dams. The Conflict Resolution Group Foundation Inc., in collaboration with the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman, embarked on a transformative intervention to bridge the divide between the Ibaloi community, the National Power Corporation (NPC) and other stakeholders, facilitating a dialogue process that nurtured the values of talking and listening.

BACKGROUND: The Ibaloi community, with a rich cultural heritage deeply rooted in respect for ancestors and harmony with nature, faced displacement and the loss of their ancestral land due to the development of the Ambuklao and Binga dams by the NPC. Their struggle for justice and fair compensation spanned almost six decades, leaving them living in poverty and hazardous conditions, longing to be heard.


  1. Displacement and Land Disputes: The Ibaloi community was forcefully displaced from their ancestral land, leading to a loss of livelihood and connection to their cultural heritage. Disputes over compensation and inadequate resettlement further fueled resentment.

  2. Communication Breakdown: Years of broken promises and unfulfilled commitments deepened the divide between the community and the NPC, eroding trust and hindering effective communication.

  3. Socioeconomic Struggles: Relocated to unsuitable areas and facing limited livelihood opportunities, the community endured poverty and hardships, exacerbating their grievances.

THE APPROACH: The CoRe Group employed a transformative approach to address the complex challenges faced by the Ibaloi community. The key steps of the intervention included:

  1. Engagement with Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman: The community filed a complaint with the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman, which initiated a dialogue process between the community, NPC, and the new private investor in the dams.

  2. Aggressive to Constructive Dialogue: Shifting from an aggressive stance, the community engaged in a constructive dialogue process, providing an opportunity for grievances to be heard, understood, and addressed.

  3. Bridging the Divide: Facilitators from The CoRe Group nurtured a culture of open dialogue and active listening, creating a safe space for all stakeholders to share their perspectives and work towards mutually beneficial solutions.

  4. Rebuilding Trust and Collaboration: The intervention focused on rebuilding trust and strengthening the relationship between the community and the NPC, encouraging genuine communication and partnership for sustainable solutions.

OUTCOMES AND IMPACT: The intervention led by The CoRe Group yielded significant outcomes and positive impacts:

  1. Restored Dialogue: The transformative intervention re-established a platform for open dialogue, enabling the community and the stakeholders to voice their concerns, fears, and aspirations.

  2. Recognition of Rights: The Ibaloi community's long-standing claims and demands for fair compensation and land rights were acknowledged, leading to an increased understanding of their perspective by the NPC and the new private investor.

  3. Enhanced Communication and Collaboration: By fostering active listening and constructive dialogue, communication channels were strengthened, allowing for the identification of shared goals and the development of collaborative solutions.

  4. Empowerment and Sustainable Solutions: The community regained a sense of empowerment as their voices were heard and respected. Together with the NPC and the new investor, sustainable solutions were devised to address compensation issues, land rights, and socioeconomic development in the community.

CONCLUSION: The case study of the Ambuklao-Binga story demonstrates the transformative power of dialogue and listening in bridging the gap between a marginalized community and a government corporation. Through the intervention led by The CoRe Group, the Ibaloi community's grievances were acknowledged, trust was rebuilt, and collaborative solutions were developed. The journey from aggression to constructive dialogue paved the way for the recognition of rights, enhanced communication, and empowerment of the community. This case study highlights the importance of nurturing the values of talking and listening, fostering understanding, and fostering collaboration for transformative conflict resolution. The CoRe Group invites organizations and communities to embrace dialogue and listening as powerful tools for building bridges and finding sustainable solutions to complex challenges.

Watch the documentary made by the Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative of Harvard University.