The municipal council of Kabayan last week cleared the last hurdle that would enable the Benguet Electric Cooperative to start the process in a bid to develop a mini-hydro plant along the Agno River in a proposed joint partnership with the landlocked town.
In an out-of-town session, the Kabayan council chaired by Vice mayor Lonecio Tampoc amended a resolution that favorably endorsed the conduct of a feasibility study by Beneco for the development of a run-of-river hydro plant.
The resolution firmed up a resolution of endorsements by the 13 Kabayan barangays, which pressed for the conduct of a feasibility study by the utility firm.
Councilor Salvador Aroco said the Philippine National Oil Corporation (PNOC) and the National Power Corporation had earlier sought to develop hydro plants in the municipality but they backed off.
“This was probably because the people opposed the plan of the NPC to set up its proposed plant in Embossi where the seat of Ibaloi culture is located,” he said. “We were wary, considering that NPC had a program to relocate residents along Kabayan Barrio.”
The council deleted from its resolution a condition urging Beneco to proceed with the feasibility study provided no service contract holders are located in the area.
Beneco General Manager Gerardo Verzosa said the condition was not responsive to the interest of the local government unit.
Engr. Melchor Licoben, Beneco engineering department manager, said the proposed memorandum of agreement for a joint venture with the municipality will be presented after the board’s meeting next week.
He urged municipal officials to clarify with the Department of Energy the status of a service contract given to NPC. “We were told it was extended but we have not seen a copy yet.”
Development Officer Garett Waytan said the PNOC had earlier sought to set up two plants, with a total capacity of 74.8 megawatts along a stretch that begins from Amlimay, Buguias to Kabayan Barrio.
“With the resolution clarified, we can proceed with the legwork for the signing of a MOA and the conduct of a feasibility study,” said Licoben.