CITY OF TABUK, Kalinga (PIA) - - Two indigenous cultural communities (ICCs) in this city re-affirmed their consent for the construction of the 52-megawatt Chico Run-of-River Hydropower Project.
The Dallac and Biga ICC signed with the Karayan Hydro Power Corporation (KHPC) and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to allow the developer/investor to enter the IP area, establish the feasibility of the project and continue to comply with other requirements.
The Nanong ICC has yet to re-assert its consent. In 2017 after all issues were settled, all three ICCs affirmed their consent, according to NCIP Kalinga Provincial Officer Atty. Catherine Gayagay-Apaling.
The two MOAs were signed by IPs of the Dallac and Biga ICCs; and Jose Silvestre Natividad, Director of Operations representing KHPC, in the presence of Governor James Edduba, Vice Governor Jocel Baac, Karayan Business Development Manager Jay Rommel Alcantara, and Apaling.
“The process doesn’t end with the signing of the MOA since it will be subject for review. The proponent further conducts technical studies, determine areas to be affected and has to deal with affected land owners,” Apaling explained.
Under the MOA, the host ICCs/IPs shall allow the proponent freedom of access to and peaceful use of the applied area for planning, development, construction, operation and maintenance of the project; Commit to amicably resolve disputes between and among its members especially those whose properties will be affected by the construction and operation of the plant using good customs and traditions, and Refrain from committing acts that would sabotage the construction and operation of the plant.
Host ICCs/IPs, among other obligations, shall protect and preserve existing communal forest, watersheds or rivers in their respective barangays; account all funds received from the proponent ensuring that the same shall be judiciously spent for the intended purpose, and cooperate with the proponent in the implementation of its Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR) projects and their community development projects.
Other than what has already been granted by law, the host ICCs/IPs shall receive an annual IP Royalty Benefit share in the amount of 2.5 centavos per kilowatt hour (kWh) of the generated output.
In addition, host IPs shall be entitled to the financial benefits to cover projects for development, livelihood, reforestation, watershed management, health and environment.
The conservative estimates of projected generated output of the project is 185,328,000.00 kWh annually or 4,633,200,000 kWh for the whole 25 years.
Aside also from benefits the host ICCs/IPs derive from CSR programs, the KHPC grants continuing educational assistance to 110 college students at P15,000 allowance per semester to Dallac effective upon signing of the MOA and while the project is in commercial operation. Another 15 scholarship slots at P70,000 educational assistance per semester will be provided to students taking up law, medicine, hydrology and engineering.
The MOA also grants 80 educational assistance slots to Biga ICC at P15,000 allowance per student per semester.
KHPC shall also respect the rights of the host ICCs/IPs to their ancestral domain, traditional land ownership system, right to self-governance and empowerment, social justice and human rights and their cultural integrity as provided under the IPRA law. It shall refrain from committing acts that would violate or diminish the said rights and shall abide by reasonable cultural obligations that maybe imposed by the host ICCs and their elders including reasonable expenses for the performance of the necessary rituals prior to development, construction and operation.
Subject to qualification standards, KHPC shall faithfully abide to give priority employment of host ICCs during construction and operation of the project. KHPC also has to provide assistance for the construction of communal irrigation system, flood controls, multi-purpose building and pavements, renovation of churches, maintain emergency transport among other stipulated obligations of the proponent in the MOA.
In a related development, Apaling said approved papers of a joint venture between the Provincial Local Government Unit of Kalinga, DPJ Engineers and Consultants, and Tabuk Hydro Energy under Public-Private Partnerships are now at the NCIP central office for the Commission En Bank deliberation and the issuance of certification precondition before its submission to the Department of Energy. (JDP/PAB-PIA CAR, Kalinga)