KAPANGAN, Benguet – It took the repeated complaints of indigenous peoples (IP) from nearby Kibngan town to convince the IPs in this municipality to also demand their due and demandable share from the developers’ fee earned by Korean businessman Larry Howon Kim from the sale of the 60-megawatt run-off-river hydro power plant in barangay Cuba to a Filipino-owned corporation.
Concerned IP leaders of the Kapangan Kankana-ey Ibaloi Peoples Organization (KKIPO), who requested anonymity for fear of reprisal from the benefactors of the Korean businessman, said the organization is currently working out the passage of a resolution requesting Kim to apportioned a certain percentage from the developer’s ’fee that he derived from the sale of the town’s natural resources and the consent of the IPs to fund their various social projects.
Earlier, the Kibungan Kankana-ey Ancestral Domain Tribe Organization (KKADTRIBO) passed a resolution requesting Kim to apportion 30 percent from the developers’ fee that he earned from the sale of the Cordillera Hydroelectric Power Corporation (COHECO) to be used for the implementation of their social programs designed to benefit the IPs in the host communities.
Further, the Kapangan IPs also want the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to include Kapangan town in the conduct of the free and prior informed consent for the 500-megawatt pump storage project of the controversial Coheco Badeo Corporation in Badeo. Kibungan considering that some of the barangays will be directly affected by the ambitious project.
Based on the initial studies conducted by the concerned IPs, barangays Gadang, Beleng-Belis and other neighboring villages will be affected by the pump storage project in terms of siltation, most parts of the hydro dam, a big portion of the diversion tunnel and the various structures to be erected for the realization of the project.
According to the Kapangan IPs, there is a need for the NCIP to mandate the conduct of the free and prior informed consent process to their ancestral domain because based on the initial assessment done by hydro experts on the areas to be affected by the pump storage project, there are a number of barangays that will be affected in Kapangan, thus, the need for the company to conduct the required FPIC process in the ancestral domain to secure the consent of the IPs.
NCIP-CAR officials explained that if it will be uncovered during the initial FPIC process for the IPs in Kibungan that there are other areas that will be affected by the pump storage project, then it will be mandated that the company will conduct the similar FPIC process in the affected domain to get the consent of the IPs before proceeding with whatever development that will be done for the put up of the ambitious project.
Kapangan IPs believe they also deserve to be consulted regarding the project and for their consent to be included as part of the requirement for the developer to secure considering that in the case of the 60-megawatt hydro project in Cuba barangay, the Kibungan IPs were also consulted and their consent was secured even if the areas in the nearby town which will be affected was proven to be minimal.