Issue of October 7, 2018
     
NEWS
Benguet
Mt. Province
 
OPINION
 

2018
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SNAP, Ifugao towns ink pact on 140-MW hydro project
by Jane B. Cadalig

BANAUE, Ifugao – Three towns here and their respective indigenous peoples’ organizations (IPOs) have signed with renewable energy developer SN-Aboitiz Power the agreement that sets the terms of their partnership on the proposed establishment of a 140-megawatt hydropower complex in the province.

SNAP-Ifugao signed the framework agreement on the Alimit Hydro Electric Power Plant (HEPP) Complex with officials of Aguinaldo, Lagawe, and Mayoyao; their respective IPOs; and officials of barangays in the three towns that will be affected by the project.

The SNAP-LGU framework agreement outlines the cooperation, collaboration, and obligations between and among the power generation firm and host municipalities during the development and operation phase of the project, which is currently on its feasibility study phase.

SNAP Vice President for Corporate Services Michael Hosillos said the primary aspect of the cooperation is the establishment of a stakeholder’s council composed of representatives of the local government units, IPOs, and SNAP that will meet regularly to monitor and decide on critical issues related to the project.

Ifugao Gov. Pedro Mayam-o, who served as among the witnesses of the framework agreement, expressed support to the project, saying it will generate livelihood opportunities for residents of the province aside from the income that it will bring not only to the towns that will host the project, but also to the province.

Mayors Martin Habawel, Jr. of Lagawe; Gaspar Chilagan of Aguinaldo; and Ronie Lumayna of Mayoyao said they are supportive of the project because they have realized the commitment of SNAP to bring development to their localities and partner with the communities in the project.

“The project is an opportunity for us to benefit from our water resources without destroying our environment,” Habawel said.

SNAP President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Yu said the four years that it took the company and the LGUs and communities to sign the framework agreement is an indication of a solid partnership.

“What we are building here is a partnership and it usually takes years to develop a strong one,” he said.

Hosillos said the proposed Alimit hydro complex was awarded the Renewable Energy Service Contract in 2014 and in that year, the firm applied and was granted by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples the permission to undertake the free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) process. 

“We conducted a series of consultative assemblies and were able to finish the second phase of consultations and negotiations on the FPIC memorandum of agreement in 2017. We are now in the final stage of negotiations,” Hosillos said.

The Alimit HEPP complex also involves Lamut, but Hosillos said SNAP is yet to sign a framework agreement with the town as the officials have yet to negotiate with the company. The IPO in Lamut, however, have been engaging in consultations with the company.

The hydro power complex is composed of the 120-MW Alimit HEPP, 20-MW Olilicon HEPP, which will be located on the lower stretch of the Alimit and Ibulao rivers, and the 250-MW Alimit Pumped storage HEPP, which will draw water from the Alimit reservoir.

Hosillos said at present, the only viable projects are the 120 Alimit HEPP and the 20-MW HEPP which results in the combined capacity of 140-MW.

Construction of the Alimit HEPP will start once the process shall have been completed. After the signing of the FPIC MOA with the four IPOs and the issuance of a certification precondition by the NCIP, the second permit that SNAP will have to secure is the endorsement of the four towns to the project and the environmental compliance certificate, the issuance of which is dependent upon the issuance of certification precondition by the NCIP and the LGUs endorsement.


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