KIBUNGAN, Benguet – Indigenous peoples and indigenous cultural communities (IPs-ICCs) continue to cast doubts in the financial capability of the Coheco Badeo Corporation (CBC) to put up the P35 billion 500-megawatt pump storage hydro project in barangay Badeo.
Concerned IP leaders allegedly employing the so-called ‘divide and rule tactic’ to create confusion among them so that they will be able to win most of the leaders in favour of the ambitious project which poses a serious environmental threat to the low-lying areas of Benguet and La Union.
The IP leaders pointed out that CBC was not able to satisfy the long standing clamor for them to present the company’s financial capability to put up the project considering the enormous funds required to construct the hydro power plant considering that even if the assets of all the company’s founders will be lumped together, it is not even enough to produce a percentage of the amount required to build the power generation facility the appropriate documents for them to takeover the company and work on the project,” the sources stressed.
“Surely, the company will be sold to enterprising investors who are simply waiting in the sidelines and taking their sweet time to perfect the deal. It happened in the past and it will surely happen again in the case of the pump storage project in Badeo,” the sources stressed.
The sources added that the dilution of the earlier company that was put up by the Korean investor was realized with the takeover of the new investor of the Cordillera Hydroelectric Power Corporation (COHECO), the proponent of the 60megawatt run-of-river hydro project along the Amburayan river, that is why it will not be remote if the same scenario will again be repeated with CBC, the proponent of the 500-megawatt pump storage hydro project in barangay Badeo, wherein there will come a time that people of Kibungan will wake up and find out that there will new owners of the company.
According to them, the supposed Korean investor who was able to establish the COHECO and CBC is simply interested in the allegedly developer’s fee that he will be able to earn once he will perfect the possible dilution of the shares of CBC and allow the entry of new investors who will implement the ambitious project, thus, there will be a likely possibility that whatever previous agreements that were made for the project could be simply set aside because the new investors were not the ones that struck the deal.
The sources warned their fellow IP leaders not to be easily persuaded by the sugar-coated promises of CBC officials considering that the same will remain as promises considering that they are simply awaiting for the supposed takeover of the purported new investors for them to be able to free themselves from their commitments with the host communities.
The IP leaders stated that the proposed 500-megawatt pump storage hydro project will cause the occurrence of floodings in the low-lying communities of Kapangan, Benguet and Santol, La Union aside from resulting to the displacement of thousands of individuals who rely on the Amburayan river as their source of livelihood considering that the proposed project site did not undergo the appropriate geohazard study as CBC was simply rushing things to be able to market the company to interested investors.