EMB gives thumbs up for hydro project

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Thursday, July 24, 2014


SABANGAN, MT. PROVINCE -- Hedcor Inc. is implementing enough and appropriate mitigating measures in the construction of the 14 megawatts Sabangan Hydropower Project.

Environmental Management Bureau Chief of Clearance and Permitting Division Engr. Nestor Donaal told the media during a monitoring that Hedcor Inc. is complying with requirements as well as the necessary procedures to continue the hydropower project.

Donaal was pleased with the mitigating measures Hedcor has done so far and is still doing to prevent soil erosion, siltation and contamination of the Chico River.

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Hedcor has also been putting up engineering works such as gouted ripraps, gabion ripraps and drainage systems to prevent damage caused by the construction of access roads and extension of existing community roads.

Currently, the company has five ongoing mitigating measures and plans to do more.

"Hindi matatapos yan (construction of mitigating measures) hanggat may construction," Donaal said.

He added: "Basta may construction, may typhoon, may mitigating measures diyan or maybe may masisira, irerepair nila" stressing it is a work in progress.

"There are still enhancement measures for them to consider," he stressed citing construction of additional drainage systems and disposal areas as suggestions.

There are currently four disposal areas located in the different parts of the host communities located in barangays Napua and Namatec where all soil deposits are dumped.

These disposal areas include one near Hedcor's powerhouse and in Chico River, which Donaal fears may erode if soil deposits are uncontrolled.

Furthermore, most of the proposed mitigating measures cannot still be implemented because they are still waiting for landowners of the identified areas to confirm if they are willing to do the work.

As part of a Memorandum of Agreement, the mother contractor of the project, Sta. Clara International Inc. is not in-charge of all the mitigating measures works. Instead, Hedcor gives the option for the landowners to man the clearing and construction or they can also hire for other local contractors.

Hedcor clarified this is to show respect to the landowner to give him options on how to manage his property.

Whether the landowner accepts to perform the mitigating measures or hires other contractors, the expenses will be paid by Hedcor based on their standard pricing.

Sta. Clara will only implement the mitigating measures if the landowner cannot do it or cannot hire other contractors.

Moreover, the construction of the mitigating measures are closely being monitored by a multipartite team composed of the DENR-EMB, PENRO and government officials of Sabangan and a community monitoring team composed of barangay officials as well as ordinary members of the community.

Hedcor was tasked to perform mitigating measures within the project site after a complaint was issued against them for two conditions of unwanted disposal and a monetary penalty was also imposed for each violation costing P25,000.

According to project director Rafael Jabonillo, Hedcor has allocated around P20M for the mitigating measures from the P1.8B total budget for the hydropower project.

The Sabangan Hydropower Project is expected to be finished by April 2015.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on July 25, 2014.

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