The NCIP sought the assistance of local police in Kabugao to ensure the solemnity of the December 18,2021 Consensus Assembly in Brgy. Luttuacan. Truth be told, the Provincial NCIP officers and the FPIC Team Leader – Atty. Calderon have been receiving death threats ever since the Kabugao Youth emerged from the scene in January Y2021. Further, reports of authorized elders and pro-development IP participants from Kabugao are being harassed by the oppossitors and the “outsiders”.
NCIP CAR explained that precautionary measures were necessary due to death threats and increased presence of communist terrorist groups in Kabugao.
True enough, protesters led by Kabugao Youth showed up with placards and Tshirts wearing the “No to Dam” Slogan. Contrary to the exaggerated claims of Jann Alexis Lappas of Kabugao Youth, they were not Violently dispersed. They were barred by the local police from joining the Consensus assembly in compliance with the IPRA Law since Consensus Assembly is for the authorized and validated elders only. This is also contrary claims of Lappas that only a “200 of the handpicked elders were allowed to enter the venue and 5 of the opposing community elders were allowed to participate as observers.”Lappas should familiarize himself with the IPRA law before spewing lies and exaggerated condemnation on the presence of police when his group brought with them outsiders disguised as IPs.
Notwithstanding, the Consensus Assembly was a success. “The majority of the Isnag community of Kabugao belonging to the twenty-one barangays attended the consensus-building on December 18, 2021 which 197 of the 257 authorized elders and leaders attended the assembly and the result was a majority 194 yes to negotiation and only 3 for no to negotiation,” the sworn statement stated.
Not to be outdone, the oppositionists held a municipal-wide assembly organized by the Municipal Govt of Kabugao on December 23,2021where a resolution of No to the Project signed by the attendees of which not a single one is an authorized, nominated and validated elder of Gened 2. As confirmed by NCIP, the December 23, 2021 is not an FPIC activity as this was initiated by the LGU and was already a campaign sortie.
On the faithful day of February 7, 2022, the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between PPRPPC, NCIP and the Isnag IPs for the proposed 250MW Gened-2 renewable hydropower plant was signed. PPRPPC remained generous on its commitment to the Isnag AD. The MOA contained following compensations – (1)Royalties based on actual generation of the hydropower plant; (2)compensation for all the affected houses and agricultural lands; (3) construction of their own Isnag Heritage Center; (4) the hospital and education assistance; (5) compensation for the affected 2 graves and their transfer following the customary laws and traditions; and the (5)mandatory government benefits which include real property taxes, government share and the Renewable Energy Act 1-94. PPRPPC also will provide additional FREE 2 megawatt of Clean Energy electricity to the planned Electric Cooperative where they can sell clean power to the uplands and to the other provinces in the North.
Apart from these harassments, the Kabugao Youth et al continued with their black propaganda and dirty tactics by misleading both local and international communities about the Gened projects ; bullying and forcing some Isnag elders to sign blank sheet of papers to serve their purpose; bad mouthing the NCIP office and its officers by including them in list of “persona non-grata “ in Kabugao; spreading more disinformation and fake news about the project via social media and print . They expanded their black propaganda by filing Motion for Reconsiderations (MR) on both Gened 1 and Gened 2 signed by Kabugao Youth and non-authorized elders – again to derail the renewable projects. In their MR, the Kabugao Youth and the Oppositionists failed to support their accusations with concrete evidence.
The Philippines has been lagging behind its commitment to the Paris climate change. The Philippines , who used to be a tiger economy is now back to being a sick man of Asia. As the country faces with soaring 7.3% inflation, higher gas prices, worldwide recession, Pres. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has an enormous task ahead to keep the country afloat. What we really need is to get our heads together for progress. Electricity is one of the basic needs.
The country is now in a big conundrum. The disinformation tactics of the Kabugao Youth is a disservice not only to the Isnag community who longed for progress but also for the whole country.