In a Sixteen (16) page Joint Sworn Affidavit, the 197 of the 245 authorized elders for the 250 MW Gened-2 renewable hydropower project clarified that they were present, confirmed and validated by the Isnag community and the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) team of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) during the first community assemblies held on July 15, 16, 19 and 22, 2021.
They emphasized that the FPIC process of the 250MW Gened-2 project adhered to the prevailing guidelines of NCIP AO No. 3, series of 2021.
The authorized elders explained that after the completion of the FPIC process of the 150MW Gened-1 project which was endorsed by their fellow elders, the community is more knowledgeable with the pertinent provisions of Republic Act (RA) 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) and the development for the Municipality of Kabugao and the whole Apayao province.
Unlike the Gened 1 FPIC process, the first and second community assemblies were clustered primarily in compliance with the prevailing community quarantine restrictions imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) due to the prevailing Corona Virus Disease (COVID) 2019 pandemic situation last year.
“It was unfortunate that the Kabugao Youth and the oppositionists who mostly hailed from Brgy. Poblacion prevented the pro-development elders from their own barangay to participate in the Gened 2 FPIC process.”
“The main oppositionists led by Jann Lappas, Maricel Enciso, Ma. Angelica Umingli, Cariaga Pallat, Angelo Umingli, etc requested NCIP during its 1st Community Assembly for the Non-Impact areas on July 22, 2021 to have a separate assembly for Barangay Poblacion – the bailiwick of the oppositionists. NCIP acceded to their request but later on it was proven that their true intention is to nullify the FPIC process of Gened 2. The oppositionists vaunted plan of trouncing the FPIC process faltered . It is unfortunate, however, that the pro-development Isnag elders belonging to Brgy. Poblacion whose numbers are significantly higher than the anti-dam followers were not given a voice inspite of the Poblacion assemblies on December 4 and 11, 2021. The pro-development elders of Brgy. Poblacion submitted their list of elders/leaders to the NCIP office on December 18,2021 but not one was confirmed an elder since the oppositionist intentionally did not want Brgy. Poblacion to participate in the FPIC process.
“It was very clear from the start that the oppositionists wanted the FPIC process of Gened 2 to fail. “ Notwitstanding their request to have a separate assembly, the oppositionists still attended all assemblies of the remaining Kabugao barangays just to disturb their proceedings. What made it worse is the fact that they always bring with them outsiders who are outsiders and not Yapayaos or Isnag IPs who unfortunately sow fear, intimidation and harassment to both the elders and the FPIC team. The legitimate and authorized elders characterize this as “highly condemnable. The outsiders were identified by the military as affiliated with left wing groups thus necessitating enhanced security measures to ensure the safety and protection of both Isnag elders and NCIP personnel.