KAPANGAN, Benguet – The Cordillera Hydroelectric Power Corporation (COHECO) assured concerned stakeholders of Kapangan and Kibugan that it will complete and make operational its 60 megawatt hydropower project in Barangay Cuba to help propel economic growth within its host communities.
COHECO president and chief executive officer Jose Xavier Gonzales underscored that he is a Filipino and he will surely work for the interest of his fellow Filipino citizens, especially in terms of bringing development opportunities in the countryside, particularly the host communities and adjoining areas of its run-of-river hydro project that it acquired from an alleged enterprising Korean businessman.
He underscored that COHECO officials will not fly in and out unlike other investors because they want to make sure that whatever commitments made to the host communities will be fulfilled for the benefit of the indigenous peoples living in the host communities.
COHECO is now in the process of starting the construction of the access road from Cuba, Kapangan to Badeo, Kibungan with a total length of over 20 kilometers which will jumpstart the building of other facilities and the subsequent installation of the required units of equipment for the plant to be able to generate renewable power for the grid.
Gonzales also assured the IPs of Kapangan and Kibungan that they will be receiving their prescribed benefits pursuant to the signed memorandum of agreement between the concerned parties, even if they were not the ones who made the commitments to the IPs considering that they acquired the power generation company.
The COHECO official claimed the company will implement various projects that will guarantee the preservation and protection of the environment considering that the sustained greenery of the watersheds will help ensure the continuous operation of the power plants as well as projects that will contribute in the uplifting of the living condition of the people, especially those in the host communities.
According to him, the company has been releasing payments for its various obligations since it acquired majority ownership of COHECO but the ballooning expenses will not hinder the investors to fulfill their obligations to the concerned local governments and IPs in both towns.
The put-up of the 60 megawatt run-of-river hydro plant in Barangay Cuba was given free and prior informed consent (FPIC) by the IPs of Kibungan and Kapangan after several years of aggressive consultation, which resulted to the signing of the memorandum of agreement between the IP organizations and the company.
One of the major commitments of the company is for the construction of the access road from Cuba, Kapangan to Badeo, Kibungan to guarantee subsequent development interventions that will be infused in the remote villages playing host to the operation of the power plant which is own by majority Filipino shareholders.
Gonzales appealed to the concerned stakeholders from the two municipalities for understanding and patience if the company is not able to deliver their benefits on time, considering that the company is still in the construction stage.