CLOSE to 50 Indigenous Peoples (IP) elders passed a resolution of non-consent affirming the consensus to disallow the proposed hydroelectric power project (HEP) within the ancestral land domain of Tublay, Benguet.
Following community consultations, Marcos Jose, community development officer III of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Benguet Community Service Center, stated that majority of the IPs in the municipality arrived at a consensus to reject the project being initiated by AT Dinum.
AT Dinum Energy Inc., a renewable energy engineering company operating in La Trinidad, Benguet represented by president Wilbur Tagtag, proposed the hydro project with an estimated cost of P1.2 billion.
The proposed facility will consist of the 1.9-megawatt Tublay 1 to be located along Payong River in Barangay Basil; the 6-MW Tublay 2 to be located along Payay and Dug-ong River in Barangay Tuel; and 1-MW Tublay 3 to be located in Ambongdolan.
The proposed project underwent a Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) process as prescribed in the Revised FPIC Guidelines of 2012 promulgated by the NCIP to determine whether it will be accepted by the IPs in the municipality.
In the course of community consultations, the IPs of Tublay arrived at a consensus to reject the 8.9-megawatt hydro project.
Their resolution argues that there is a question of AT Dinum’s financial capability or financial track record and the company did not present substantial document to establish their partnership in the management of the supposed mini-hydro-projects such as in Didipio, Nueva Vizcaya.
“That the AT Dinum Company manifested in several assemblies that they already had water permit or pending application of the same without securing the consent of the host communities,” adds the resolution signed December 7 at the municipal closed gym in Caponga, Tublay.
The resolution added during assemblies conducted, some members of the board of the company admitted all the interest of AT Dinum Company will be transferred to the AT Dinum Company, Incorporated. This is contrary to the rule that the resolution of consent is non-transferrable.
“The AT Dinum Company, which is the applicant is a partnership while the proposed company that will be organized later on is a corporation, with a period of legal existence. This creates uncertainty on the legal juridical personality of the applicant,” the resolution adds.
The resolution also stated that the offer of the company to give royalty after 12 years of operation remains unacceptable.
The company submitted its proposal in 2017. The resolution has been transmitted to the regional director of NCIP-Cordillera for action.