KIBUNGAN, Benguet – Concerned indigenous peoples (IPs) and embattled members of the council of elders of the different barangays of this town questioned the financial capacity of all the registered owners of Coheco Badeo Corporation and their capacity to bankroll the ambitious P29.6 billion 500-megawatt pump storage hydro project that the company plans to build in the remote village of Badeo.
Based on the company’s latest general information sheet submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the owners of the company include Korean nationals Jarry Howon Kim and James Kim and alleged Filipino dummies Apolinario Bagano, Fina Cruz and Engr. Jason Polinag wherein four of them trace their employment history to the Kapangan-based Cordillera Hydroelectric Power Corporation (COHECO) planning to put up a 60 megawatt run-off-river hydro project in Cuba, Kapangan.
The IP leaders pointed out based on the individual and collective assets of the Coheco Badeo Corporation owners, they do not have the individual or collective capacity to bankroll the multi-billion project that stands to displace thousands of IPs in the affected villages from their ancestral domain.
Because of the projected financial constraints of the Coheco Badeo Corporation owners to bankroll the project, the concerned IP leaders argued there is no way by which the proponents will realize the project, except to again sell the consent of the IPs and the company at a premium price after the IPs shall have been fooled and hoodwinked into giving their consent to the project.
The alarmed IP leaders accused Coheco Badeo Corporation officials, in cahoots with members of the free informed and prior informed consent (FPIC) team of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), are desperate to secure the consent of the IPs for the project so they can sell their consent and the company at a much higher buying price.
“It will be history repeating itself. Kim allegedly sold majority of his shares in COHECO 60 to a Filipino company by a whopping 1.2 billion pesos plus hundreds of millions of reimbursements after which he this Coheco Badeo Corporation so he will surely sell again to this company and our consent to prospective buyers waiting on the sidelines,” one of the IP leaders stressed.
According to experts, the dilution of shares in a company or the increase of shares that will be offered for other investors are technically considered as sale of the company, among others, that is why Coheco Badeo Corporation officials have no recourse but to explain or justify such act of earning billions of pesos at the expense of the IPs.
The IP leaders emphasized it seems Coheco Badeo Corporation officials are simply after the multi-billion developer’s fee that they could earn once they sell the indigenous peoples’ consent and the company at a premium price after they secure the consent that is why the people of Kibungan should wake up to the reality that enterprising Coheco Badeo officials, some indigenous individuals themselves, happily take their earnings while the IPs will be left out and suffer the consequences of the negative effects of the project.