Kalinga says Chico deal OK

OUTGOING Kalinga Vice Governor James Eduba is quashing allegations that a lack of a Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) was done on the P4.37-billion Chico River Pump Irrigation Project (CRPIP).

Eduba said there was an FPIC conducted by representatives of the Chinese corporation.

“The NCIP conducted an FPIC in Barangay Katampugan aside from going to the municipality despite them not going to the Provincial Government but what is important are the beneficiaries. We also made a resolution requesting for an additional land area and for the resolution of the boundary dispute between Kalinga and Cagayan where the project would pass through,” Eduba said.

Earlier during the Regional Development and Peace and Order Council meeting on June 24, a fact-finding committee was created. It is set to convene to discuss issues hounding the project.

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

“This project will make an impact to the people especially for the farmers of Kalinga where the project would pass through, although a greater majority of the people of Cagayan will benefit from this but what is important is that everyone will benefit from this,” said Eduba.

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

Members of the RDC pointed out the committee did not tackle some issues like what was lodged in the Supreme Court, which is why the committee will have to meet again to look into the status, what are the issues and the matter of ECC that will be discussed further.

“I don’t know where the noise is coming from but we have not heard any opposing statements from the people there and in fact, the people are receptive to the project. What we want to pursue however is to have a resolution on the issues while the project is there since all the focus are there so that those who may be able to help may help solve the issues,” Eduba added.

RDC Co-chairperson Milagros Rimando earlier said that the FPIC should not only be done in the main region that proposed the project but it should also be done in regions that are affected.

CRPIP is a project of Cagayan as main proponent. Towns covered by the CRPIP are 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.


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