Board invites NCIP to explain towns’ hydro power plans

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013


THE Provincial Board of Benguet is planning to invite the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to explain on the situation of the proposed hydroelectric power plant in Kapangan and Kibungan.

Vice Governor Crescencio Pacalso ordered the Provincial Board’s secretary to set a schedule, hopefully with the month, for a dialogue with NCIP officials.

The invitation arose when a board member revealed the proponent of the project and members of an opposition group are competing airing their sides through radio stations and newspapers prompting the board members to hear both sides of the story through the NCIP.

The Cordillera Hydroelectric Power Corporation (Coheco) plans to build P12-billion run–of–river mini-hydroelectric project along the Amburayan River in Kapangan. The water of the town can produce 60 megawatts which is the target capacity of the project. The water will traverse 15 barangays of Kapangan until it reaches the proposed power house in Sitio Sa–ep of Barangay Badeo.

The corporation is under the process of completing the requirements and is now under the acquisition of certificate of precondition. The certificate will only be given after asking proper permission from the affected people. It requires the conduct of free prior and informed consent for the affected community.

Lawyers of the Coheco identified the affected barangays for this project as Cuba, Balakbak and Beleng–bilis.

Early this year, a group of petitioners paid an advertisement aired on several radio stations encouraging the town folks to reject the project as it endangers the water sources and the environment as well. The advertisement was followed by several discussions on radio.

Last month, a group of lawyers from Coheco countered these publicity acts by doing the same. They asked residents of Kapangan not to listen to the alleged lies spun by the opposition.

In Kibungan, another proposed hydro project is also under the process of acquiring the requirements prescribed by law. The proposed hydro is also being monitored by the NCIP.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 14, 2013.

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