Issue of October 8, 2017
Mt. Province

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Moratorium on water rights, permits issuance in CAR sought
by Jane B. Cadalig

Here’s a move that will challenge government agencies’ ability to balance the interests of indigenous peoples and investors.

The Board of Directors of the Benguet Electric Cooperative sought the help of Cordillera’s highest policy-making body in putting a stop to the issuance of water rights and service contracts to entities intending to put up hydro plants unless would-be host communities have given their consent.

In a resolution, the Beneco board asked the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC) to request the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) and the Department of Energy to declare a moratorium on the issuance of water rights and hydroelectric development permits in the region, except to the communities who have been host to these resources since time immemorial, electric cooperatives covered by funds, and local government units.

“The proliferation of water rights and hydro-electric plant development by and for giant and foreign-led companies continues to be an irritant between them and residents of host communities who are often the last to know that their water resources have become the subject of water rights of outsiders out to develop them,” the resolution reads.

The Beneco board also asked the RDC to request the NWRB and the DOE to first obtain the endorsement of the would-be host region, province, and host community before approving applications for water rights and energy development in the Cordillera and cancel rights and permits for energy development if these are opposed by the would-be host communities and LGUs.

Existing guidelines in the issuance of water rights and service contracts for energy development provides that the free prior and informed consent (FPIC) consultations with host communities will be done after the permit to develop and the water rights have been issued.

DOE-Luzon Officer-in-Charge Reynaldo Ligamor said the DOE serves as the partners of energy developers and therefore helps facilitate the process by which investors acquire the requirements.

Echoing the stand of Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi, Ligamor said: “The DOE should not make it burdensome for proponents of energy development. We should not be the stumbling block in the development of renewable energy projects in the country.”

He said the request for NWRB and DOE to issue a moratorium on the issuance of water rights and service contracts and cancel those that were already issued but are met by oppositions must be studied carefully.

Ligamor said the DOE is strengthening field offices to allow the agency to address issues between hydro project proponents and the communities, among the other concerns raised against the office.

He said the DOE is working on the putting up of a satellite office in the Cordillera.

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PRO-Cor awards best offices 2017

Baguio Country Club
Department of Tourism – CAR
University of Baguio
Venus Parkview Hotel

Congressman Mark O. Go
Department of Health – CAR
Kings College of the Philippines
Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company
Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan
Narda’s Handwoven Arts & Crafts Inc.
Philex Mining Corporation
Pines City Colleges
Province of Benguet
Sangguniang Panlungsod
SM City Baguio
Social Security System

Assumption Medical Diagnostic Center
Baguio Center Mall
Baguio Central University
Baguio Heart and Lung Diagnostic Center Inc.
Baguio Memorial Chapels Incorporated
Baguio Water District
Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources – CAR
C & Triple A Supermart
Congressman Ronald M. Cosalan
Curamed Pharmacy
Data Center College of the Philippines of Baguio City Inc.
Department of Agriculture – CAR
Department of Environment and Natural Resources – CAR
Department of Trade and Industry – CAR
Department of Transportation – CAR
Easter College Incorporated
Fabulo Beauty and Image Salon
Fast East Pacific Commercial
Filipino–Japanese Friendship Association of Northern Luzon, Inc.
GMS Technology
Immigration Network Services, Inc.
La Funeraria Paz, Inc.
Mayor Romeo K. Salda
MMS Development Training Center Corporation
Mother Earth Deli Basket
National Economic & Development Authority–CAR
Overseas Workers Welfare Administration
Philippine Science High School – CARC
R.A. Gapuz Review Center
Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board – CAR
Solibao – Ganza Restaurant
Technical Education and Skills Development Authority

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