BAKUN, Benguet – The Aboitiz-owned HEDCOR, Inc. recognized the important role of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to ensure that the sentiments of the Bakun indigenous peoples (IPs) are heard and addressed, especially in the ongoing conflict on the proposed extension of the operation of the company’s three minihydro power plants that had been previously issued notice of violation.
In a statement, HEDCOR expressed belief that NCIP plays a key role in effectively and efficiently addressing the aforesaid issues and concerns and that it shall continue to reach out to and work with the agency and other Bakun community leaders to arrive at a resolution of the present impasse.
HEDCOR vice president for corporate services Noreen Vicencio stated that the company has been compliant with all the needed requirements during the course of the earlier free and prior informed consent (FPIC) application process but regardless, the company expressed its willingness to address any deficiencies that are raised, and subsequently comply with them.
HEDCOR’s Lower Labay hydro, FLS hydro and Lon-oy hydro generate a total capacity of 12.4 megawatts of clean and renewable energy to the Luzon grid. It delivers much needed power supply to the public, especially as the country is now dealing with the alleged scarcity in power supply and that stable power is also important to support the government’s efforts to fight the ongoing global health crisis through an effective COVID-19 vaccination roll out.
The HEDCOR official pointed out that with collaboration and reasonable dialogue, the company looks towards the immediately resolution of the prevailing issues at the soonest possible time.
On June 7, 2021, the NCIP-CAR issued a notice of violation covering HEDCOR’s 3 run-of-river hydro power plants in the municipality.
The notice of violation came after NCIP-CAR called for a community assembly in the municipality last June 1, 2021 which was attended by some NCIP Commissioners, the NCIP-CAR regional director lawyer Marlon Bosantog, IP leaders, municipal government officials and members of the IP communities in the affected villages.
Earlier, the Bakun Indigenous Tribal Organization (BITO), the duly registered indigenous peoples organization in the municipality, issued a resolution of no consent for the extension of operation of the company’s 3 minihydro power plants that had been established in the municipality.
The IP leaders and local officials had been pressing for the renewal of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) that will provide the guaranteed shares of the IPs and the local government from the continuous operation of the renewable energy plants to help in the overall development of the host communities.
However, HEDCOR had been pressing for the issuance of its required business permit to allow the continuous operation of its power plants and that the non-renewal of the desired MOA should not be used as a ground to delay the issuance of such permit as the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) had issued a ruling that the issuance of the company’s business permit is automatic. By HENT