Dominguez petitions Hedcor Sabangan to pay locally

SABANGAN, Mountain Province -- Sabangan resident and environmentalist Juniper Dominguez is pushing for payments from a hydro company.

Dominguez in a petition to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is asking why rental fees of Hedcor’s 14 megawatt hydro energy plant in Sabangan is being paid to the environment department instead of Sabangan town, where the plant is located.

This as rental fees of P87,030.90 for three years 2012 to 2015 representing special land use permit (SLUP) covering 8.7 hectares was paid by Hedcor to the DENR.

The SLUP is computed on the basis of 3 percent of the land and 1 percent of the value of improvements introduced in the area, Hedcor’s Sabangan hydro electric plant costs some P2 billion.

In his petition to the DENR, Dominguez asked why Hedcor is paying rent to the DENR when land utilized by Hedcor is part of the Sabangan ancestral domain owned by the indigenous peoples of the town. Sabangan with its 15 barangays cover 7,204 hectares.

Hedcor’s 14 megawatt hydro plant began operations in 2015 covering two barangays Napua and Namatec where the diversion dam and turbines are located, nine other barangays; Supang, Poblacion Bus, Kapinitan, Gayang, Camatagan, Pingad, Baoangan, and Lusad house transmission lines for energy aside from barangay Otukan of adjoining Bauko municipality.

The run-of-river hydropower project aims to produce over 50 million kWhs of clean energy annually.

Dominguez is asking for a cease and desist order for operations of the Sabangan Hedcor hydro electric plant until demands are met.

The petition asks an order to resume operations only be issued when Hedcor has done a survey to be conducted by the DENR to determine the actual area being utilized the Sabangan hydroelectric power plant from sitio Duskit, Sabangan to barangay Otukan of Bauko in coordination with the indigenous peoples mandatory representatives (IPMR) of the 15 barangays of Sabangan, the local government unit of Sabangan and concerned stakeholders.

That n SLUP not be renewed until a memorandum of agreement be executed by the concerned IPs and Hedcor Sabangan.

Dominguez petitions that a promissory note be issued by Hedcor to restore environment damage its construction activities has caused the Chico river.

An Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) was issued by DENR in favor of Hedcor Sabangan October of 2011; and a special land use permit issued by same government office March of 2013 for barangays Napua and Namatec only.

Meantime, it was known from the treasury office of Sabangan that the 40 percent share of Sabangan municipality from national wealth taxes of Hedcor operating in their jurisdiction has not yet been received by said office.

Hedcor Sabangan Incorporated has its business address at Beckel, La Trinidad. Benguet Companies pay their taxes in the locality where the address of the firm is located as per Philippine law. (Gina Dizon)

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