BAKUN, Benguet – The management of the Aboitiz-owned HEDCOR, Inc. expressed its gratitude to the concerned stakeholders for the timely resolution of the previous standoff that caused the company to temporarily stop the operation of its three minihydro power plants for at least a month and the partnership of the community since 1991 and for another 25 years.
HEDCOR, Inc. president and chief operating officer Rolando Pacquiao stated that ‘we are very grateful that the Bakun Indigenous Tribes Organization (BITO) and the community have expressed their support for the resumption of our operations in Bakun. We are equally thankful for the support of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) in the Cordillera in opening the doors to dialogue, and to the community for the opportunity to sit down and talk so that we can work on a resolution.’
The agreement of the municipal government and BITO leaders to combine the benefit shares from HEDCOR’s local government voluntary MOA proposal and the supplemental benefits to the BITO paved the way for the simultaneous resolution of the local government concerns and addressing the request of the IP community.
Under the supplemental agreement, the Bakun community will collectively receive about P0.14 per kilowatt-hour of the generation of the 3 minihydro power plants which is an aggregation of mandatory shares, voluntary benefits and projects that include the government shares, under ER No. 1-94 funds, shares and projects outlined in the 2019 free and prior informed consent agreement and the agreed supplemental benefits last July 28, 2021.
Pacquiao claimed that the company anticipates the official signing of the supplemental agreement, which will be followed by the conduct of a can֮ao, a ceremony conducted by indigenous peoples in Northern Luzon that signifies thanksgiving and celebration.
With the eventual resumption of operations and the resolution of issues, the company is looking forward to the completion of its FPIC application and consequently, the release of the required certificate of pre-condition by the NCIP.
HEDCOR’s FLS hydro, Lon-oy hydro and lower Labay hydro resumed operations on July 28, 2021 and were synchronized to the Luzon grid right there and then following the successful conduct of a negotiation actively participated by the company, BITO leaders, together with the municipal officials last July 27-28, 2021.
Earlier, the municipal government announced that the BITO and HEDCOR settled the previous disputes with the assistance of the NCIP-CAR under the leadership of regional director lawyer Marlon Bosantog thereby allowing the company’s 3 hydroelectric power plants located within the Bakun ancestral domain to resume operations.
Last June 30, 2021, HEDCOR’s 3 hydro power plants stopped operations after it was issued a cease-and-desist order (CDO) by the NCIP because of the company’s failure to settle the issues raised by the indigenous peoples on the benefits due to the Bakun community. It was the first time in the history of HEDCOR that its power plants stopped operations because of alleged unsettled issues with the indigenous peoples owners of the ancestral domain where they are operating.