Chico gets NCIP nod

A CERTIFICATE of Precondition (CP) is set to be released by the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) after an en banc meeting Thursday, May 23, said the group's Cordillera Director Ronald Calde.

"It is approved by en banc for issuance of CP yesterday afternoon," Calde told SunStar Baguio.

The P4.37-billion Chico River Pump Irrigation Project (CRPIP), the first flagship infrastructure project to be financed by China under President Rodrigo Duterte's "Build, Build, Build" program, has since been criticized because it lacked the needed CP.

Last week, Calde said the National Irrigation Administration agreed to suspend work at the Kalinga side of the project pending the release of the CP by the NCIP.

The Cordillera People's Alliance has since opposed the project with the Makabayan Bloc filing a case to the Supreme Court.

Groups are questioning the constitutionality of the loan agreement between the Philippines and China in the hopes to get a temporary restraining order.

Speculation over the Chico River stems from constitutionality of making patrimonial assets as collateral will be raised, as well as agreements on automatic appropriation as the deal takes away the power of the purse from the congress.

The 20-year loan deal for the CRPIP was signed by Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotenciary of China Zhao Jianhua and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd on April 2018.

The project seeks to create canals diverting the water from the Chico River into different areas in Tuao and Piat in Cagayan and Pinukpuk in Kalinga.

According to the Department of Finance, the interest rate on the US dollar denominated loan is two percent per annum with a maturity period of 20 years, including a seven-year grace period.


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