RDC to review Chico project

A FACT-FINDING committee of Regional Development Council of the Cordillera Administrative Region (RDC-CAR) is set to convene to discuss issues hounding the P4.37-billion Chico River Pump Irrigation Project (CRPIP).

The project is the first flagship infrastructure financed by China under the Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” program that covers Kalinga and Cagayan.

The committee tasked to conduct a fact finding on the Chico project to study the timeline, loan conditions, Environment Compliance Certificate (ECC), and assess if there were laws violated such as Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) process.

“RDC members are pointing out that the committee did not tackle some issues like what was lodge in the Supreme Court. The reason why the committee will have to meet again is to look into that, get the status, what were the issues and the matter of ECC and it will have to be further discussed,” RDC-CAR vice-chairperson and National Economic Development Authority (Neda)-CAR director Milagros Rimando said.

On the issuance of the ECC, EMB-CAR was not required to issue an ECC because the project coverage in the Cordillera region is lesser of the total land area.

“Parang practice nila na - what prevails is the ECC of the bigger region covered by the project,” Rimando added.

Rimando said she called the attention of Neda central office to request henceforth for next projects of similar nature and not just involve the main region that proposed the project and consult the RDC of other affected regions like Cordillera.

“They should also require ECC of not only the main region that is proposing the project but even from the region that is affected like CAR. Finally, the FPIC should not only be in the main region that proposed the project but it should also be done in the region’s that are affected,” Rimando added.

On the constitutionality and viability terms of the loan from China, RDC agreed not to discuss as the matter is now with the Supreme Court. The Makabayan bloc filed earlier a petition asking the Supreme Court to order withdrawal from the Chico River China loan agreement.

The irrigation project is a project of Region 2 as main proponent. Towns covered by the CRPIP composed of Tuao (7,150 hectares) and Piat in Cagayan (380 hectares), and Pinukpuk in Kalinga (1,170 hectares) with a total of 8,700 hectares.

There are 56 Chinese workers, licensed engineers and 16 percent of the total workforce where 347 are Filipinos.


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