BAKUN elders in consensus have issued non-consent of the issuance of Certificate of Precondition (CP) of existing hydropower plants of Hedcor Inc. located at Lon-oy, Lower Labay, FLS, all within the ancestral domain of Bakun town in Benguet.
Elders of Kankana-ey and BAGU Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs) of Bakun through a resolution signed on July 17 at the Municipal Function Hall issued a non-consent on the issuance of Hedcor Inc. of a certificate of pre-condition for the hydro-electric power plants (HEPPs).
The resolution cited the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) process was done until the negotiation stage.
“After a series of negotiation, the ICCs/IPs presented their final demand that a one centavo gross generation for the first three years to be increased by one half centavo for every three years to be given to them as a royalty on top of other requests from the different barangays,” the resolution stated. “However, the proponent asserted of their counter offer of one centavo for the first five years to be increased by one half centavo for every five years thereafter, hence, this rejection.”
The elders and leaders agreed to give non-consent to the proposed renewal of the HEPPs and agreed that the resolution of non-consent be signed by the representatives of each barangay.
The FLS Hydro with 5.4 Megawatts, Lower Labay Hydro with a 2.4 Megawatt capacity was the first plant to be built in the Bakun followed by 3.6MW Lon-oy plant which has been rebuilt three times due to the damages incurred from the previous typhoons.
On July 24, NCIP-Cordillera director Ronald Calde penned vice president for corporate and regulatory affairs Darlene Arguelles regarding the non-consent.
“You are given 15 days from the knowledge of the said rejection and the receipt of the notice to request for reconsideration of the same,” Calde said in the letter.
Hedcor, in a press statement were saddened with the resolution of non-consent while negotiations are ongoing.
“However, we would like to ensure our stakeholders in Bakun that we are working closely with NCIP to remedy the situation. We would like to clarify that this issuance does not represent the end of a process but a step towards resolution. We will continue to follow the Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC)
process. As set out in Section 27 of the FPIC Administrative Order No. 3, Series 2012 we will be filing a motion for reconsideration shortly,” the statement said.
Carlos Aboitiz, president and COO of Hedcor, added that over the last 25 years, the company has contributed to the socio-economic development in Bakun municipality by providing local employment opportunities, by being a consistent top local taxpayer, and by directly investing in the local educational, health, and other key social infrastructure in the community.
“We hope to continue to provide these benefits to our host communities well into the future,” added Aboitiz.
Hedcor manages and operates more than 20 hydropower plants in the country in Benguet, Davao City, Ilocos Sur, Davao del Sur, and Mt. Province.