Ifugao power projects draw support, flak from residents

Wednesday, December 24th, 2014
from Philippine Daily Inquirer
BAGUIO CITY—A 350-megawatt hydroelectric project awarded to SN Aboitiz Power Group (SNAP), covering the Alimit and Ibulao rivers in Ifugao province, will need to secure the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of 80 villages, according to Ifugao Gov. Denis Habawel.

Habawel said the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) had started the FPIC process for the project in the towns of Lagawe, Mayoyao and Aguinaldo.

“The FPIC process may take until 2016, considering the number of villages that will be consulted,” he said.

In a text message, Rhoda Santos, SNAP corporate communication manager, confirmed that the villages were being consulted. “We are strictly following the FPIC process required by the indigenous peoples and that the process is ongoing,” she said.

Hydropower complex

The Department of Energy (DOE) awarded the project to SNAP in July. The DOE signed a renewable energy service contract (RESC) for an integrated hydropower complex to be composed of three facilities: the 100-MW Alimit plant, the 240-MW pumped storage facility and the 10-MW Olilicon plant.

The facilities are covered by a 25-year contract beginning on July 24, 2014 and may be renewed for another 25 years.

The facilities will be developed by a subsidiary, SNAP-Ifugao.

In a statement, SNAP said the integrated Ifugao power system was its first major project under the company’s Greenfield development program, which would expand the firm’s renewable energy portfolio by investing in potential small and large hydro projects in northern Luzon.

Difficulties

Another Ifugao power project in Tinoc town is facing difficulties from residents. A group of Tinoc residents in November asked the NCIP to stop a hydro project awarded to Quadriver Power Corp. after they withdrew their support for a memorandum of agreement (MOA) they signed with the firm in 2012 and another agreement in 2013, which included residents of another village.

Residents of barangays Eheb and Tokukan in Tinoc expressed their withdrawal from the agreement in a petition claiming that the FPIC process, which Quadriver Power undertook, was flawed.

“We were deceived. The contents of the MOA were not clear to us and we were rushed into signing it,” said Teofilo Wenhay, head of Eheb. Kimberlie Quitasol, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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