by Alena Mae S. Flores – August 23, 2016 at 11:25 pm
from Manila Standard Today
SN Aboitiz Power-Ifugao Inc. is pushing ahead with plans to build the 390-megawatt Alimit hydro power complex in Ifugao province after starting talks to seek the consent of the host community.
SN Aboitiz is completing the free, prior and informed consent process, or FPIC, with indigenous peoples as required under the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997, SNAP Group spokesperson Mike Hosillos said in a statement.
“We have been conducting the second community consultative assemblies, or CCA2, since January in the four ancestral domains of Lamut, Lagawe, Mayoyao, and Aguinaldo,” Hosillos said.
The Alimit hydropower complex is composed of three power facilities—the 20-MW Olilicon hydro power plant, the 120-MW Alimit hydro plant and the 250-MW Alimit Pumped Storage Project.
The proposed facilities are located in four municipalities—Aguinaldo, Lagawe, Lamut, Mayoyao.
The project aims to provide additional electricity to the Luzon grid and contribute to energy security.
Hosillos said SNAP was scheduled to complete presentations to all 81 barangays composing the ancestral domains within the next two months.
“This will then allow the indigenous peoples to go into a consensus building process to decide whether to give consent to the proposed project or not. So far, we have received positive reception to the proposed project,” he said.
“During the consultations, we have been informed by the indigenous peoples of their key issues and concerns on the project, and this is critical in ensuring that the proposed project considers these concerns moving forward.” he added.
SNAP-Ifugao still needs to secure local government endorsements and an environmental compliance certificate for the project, as well as other mandatory regulatory requirements prescribed by law.
SN Aboitiz executive vice president and chief operating officer Joseph Yu earlier said the company was conducting the feasibility study for the project.
“We’re finishing our feasibility study. We still have to go through FPIC, we have 82 barangays to consult, and then still need to go through the provincial government. We still need to sort through land issues of transmission line,” Yu said.
He said the Alimit project business case must be completed before construction could begin, which means project completion was likely between 2021 to 2022.
SNAP-Ifugao is a joint venture of SN Power AS and AboitizPower. SN Power AS is a Norwegian company that focuses on hydropower development in Southeast Asia, while AboitizPower is a local company, which is the holding company of Aboitiz Group in power generation, distribution and retail electricity services.
SNAP-Ifugao applied with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples to start the process in March 2014.
NCIP conducted its field based investigation until May of the same year and recommended the FPIC process in the 81 barangays of the four ancestral domains in the municipalities of Agunaldo, Lagawe, Lamut and Mayoyao.