Ifugao towns say yes to hydro

BAGUIO. Three Ifugao mayors with SN Aboitiz Power president and chief executive officer Joseph Yu show the framework agreement for the proposed Alimit HEPP Complex. From left to right Mayoyao Mayor Ronnie Lumayna, Lagawe Mayor Martin Habawel Jr., and Aguinaldo Mayor Gaspar Chilagan Jr. (Photo by Jean Nicole Cortes)

AN AGREEMENT spanning half a century has been inked.

Elders and leaders from the towns of Lamut, Mayoyao, Lagawe and Aguinaldo signed the framework agreement for the proposed 140-megawatt (MW) Alimit Hydro Electric Power Project (HEPP) of SN Aboitiz Power Ifugao.

Ifugao Governor Pedro Mayam-o welcomed the project saying it will boost the economy while preserving the environment of the province.

"We have nothing to lose but many things to gain. The province will benefit in terms of employment, taxes and utilization of God-given natural resources," Mayam-o said.

The governor said Ifugao is rich in natural resources and it is best to take advantage of it, in terms of economic value to its people, quashing fears of losing water for irrigiation.

Kjell Valdal, SN Aboitiz Power (Snap) vice-president and Alimit project director, welcomed the signing of the agreement among the three towns.

He said it took them four years to get the consensus of 81 barangays and engage with four Indigenous Peoples Organizations.

The framework agreement sets the standards for the relationship of stakeholders of the towns with SNAP Ifugao as well as guidelines to fortify cooperation, collaboration and partnership for the coming years.

There are three components to the 140 MW project: the main hydroelectric power plant (120 MW) and a diversion power plant (20 MW).

The project aims to draw water from the Alimit and Ibulao rivers tributary to the Magat river between Lagawe, Aguinaldo and Mayoyao towns, building an impounding reservoir to be supplemented by water to be diverted from the Ibulao river going to the Alimit river giving SNAP a 140 MW of capacity in the area.

Valdal said the four-year course of the crafting of the framework a facet of a project as complex as the Alimit HEPP.

"A four-year feasibility is needed to appreciate, understand and learn what the project is all about, this is the start of a relationship until 20 4," Valdal added.

Originally, the proposed complex was seen to have a power generating capacity of 390 MW with its third component, a 2s0 MW pumped storage put on hold due to market constraints.

The river is 33 kilometers long from its upper trenches in Aguinaldo and Mayaoyao to its confluence with the Magat Dam reservoir in Dulao, Lagawe in Ifugao.

The Alimit HEPP complex is composed of: the 120-MW Alimit HEPP, the 20-MW Olilicon HEPP and the two 250-MW Alimit pumped storage HEPP projects.

The Alimit HEPP Olilicon HEPP is located at the lower stretch of the Alimit river and Ibulao river which are tributaries of the Magat river immediately upstream of the Magat reservoir while the Alimit Pumped Storage upper reservoir is proposed to be located in a natural basin in the mountain range between the Alimit and Ibulao rivers.

Only the municipality of Lamut has yet to sign the framework agreement despite the concurrence of its IPO led by James Tayaban, it is hoped to reach an agreement in the next three weeks.

Mayam-o said with the construction of a dam weir, irrigation to the 4 towns will not be affected and lauded SNAP Ifugao for following all provisions of law as well as community beliefs and traditions.

Present in the signing were Mike Hosillos of SNAP Vice President and Chief Corporate Officer, Joseph Yu SNAP President and Chief Executive Officer, Mayors Gaspar Chilagan Jr. of Aguinaldo of Lagawe, Martin Habawel Jr of of Lagawe and Ronnie Lumayna of Mayoyao, with the respective IPO of each town.

The Alimit HEPP was awarded 3 renewable service contract by the Department of Engery in 2014 signalling Snap Ifugao to bankroll talks with the municiplaities of Lamut, Mayoyao, Lagawe and Aguinaldo.

When Lamut signs the agreement Snap will submit all documents to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) for its anticipated decsion to allow the company to proceed with the conduct of the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) process between itself and the IPO of each town, ending the fasibility stage of the project, inching closer to construction of the HEPP.


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