KABAYAN, Benguet – Hedcor Kabayan, Inc., the developer of the 52 MW Kabayan Hydropower Project filed a civil case versus Benguet Electric Cooperative for interfering in the Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) process the company is currently undertaking for the project.
“We are pleased that the court recognized the merits of our case and issued a Temporary Restraining Order on November 25, 2016. This will allow Hedcor Kabayan to continue the consultation process with the community and the IPs of Kabayan in compliance to the National Commission of Indigenous People (NCIP) guidelines to obtain IP consent for the project. The FPIC process is the first of many approvals and permits that are necessary to allow Hedcor Kabayan to develop and construct the 52 MW Kabayan run-of-river hydropower project,” Chris Faelnar, Hedcor Senior Vice President, stressed.
The HEDCOR official pointed out the company is committed to our corporate mandate to uphold the best interest of our stakeholders and be the partner of choice in the communities where we develop renewable and sustainable run-of- river hydro projects. By virtue of the Renewable Energy Service Contract which has been issued to Hedcor Kabayan by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the subsequent endorsement by the DOE to conduct the FPIC, Hedcor Kabayan, has a right to perform activities in line with obtaining IP and Community approval for the progress of the project.
He added the company will focus its attention and resources on the continued development of the 52 MW Kabayan Hydropower project which will provide the Philippines with an additional renewable power supply and most importantly benefit the Kabayan community.
For the past 38 years, HEDCOR adhered to the company’s mandate—to develop and operate efficient hydropower systems in a socially responsible manner by protecting the environment and improving the well-being of our stakeholders. Today, we are operating 22 run-of-river hydropower facilities in the country.
Earlier, Kabayan indigenous peoples and members of the Council of Elders decided to reject the offer of HEDCOR to operate the 52-megawatt hydroelectric power project along the Agno River from Amlimay, Buguias to Pacso, Kabayan.
With a vote of 58 members of the Council of Eldrs voting in favour, 62 IPs against and 8 abstentions, the Kabayan IPs decided to junkt the plan of the hydro developer to put up a series of hydro plants along the Agno river purposely to generate renewable power from the rich hydro resources of the ancestral domain of the Kabayan indigenous peoples.
Under the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 8371 or the Indigeous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA), companies intending to exploit, developer and utlize the resources of the State must first secure the free and prior informed consent (FPIC) of the indigenous peoples and the indigenous cultural communities in the ancestral domain of the said IPs.
By Dexter A. See