MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/11 February) — The Bukidnon Sanggunniang Panlalawigan has “endorsed and supported” Hedcor Bukidnon Inc.’s two hydroelectric power projects in northern Bukidnon that are expected to generate a total of 51.6 megawatts (MW).
In a resolution passed Monday, the SP cited that the provincial government of Bukidnon “has been fully apprised of the company’s commitment in relation to its undertaking vis-à-vis the benefits that the company will be sharing and or extending not only to the host communities but also the general populace in the province.”
Dubbed Manolo Fortich 1 and 2 Hydroelectric Power Projects, the ventures will use run-of-river scheme and tap surface water from Tanaon, Amusig, and Guihean Rivers, all tributaries to Tagoloan River.
The Manolo Fortich Hydro 1 will generate 35.2 MW and the Manolo Fortich Hydro 2 16.4 MW.
The resolution was not clear on how much the host communities will receive except to say that Hedcor, a subsidiary of Aboitiz Power, will share “part of its gross income… pursuant to the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 and other existing laws.”
The projects will affect seven IP communities — Santiago Tribal Community Inc., Higaonon Tribal Communities, Maluko Tribal Council, Bukidnon Tribal Community, Amosignon-Higaonon Tribal Organization, Nalandangan Tribal Datu Association Inc., and Apo Datu Namikunan Association Inc.
The SP passed a separate resolution certifying they have no objection to the firm’s water rights application before the National Water Rights Board (NWRB) to tap water in the three rivers, which are in Manolo Fortich and Impasugong towns.
NWRB requires the SP to post water permit applications on its bulletin board to know if there would be objections before permits may be granted.
Hedcor has complied with all legal requirements thus the endorsement, according to SP member Clive Quiño, chair of the committee on public utilities.
This after board member Roelito Gawilan, a leader of the Matigsalug tribe, reminded the board of the need to balance its power and that of the indigenous peoples.
“The IPs have the sole power to grant permit for natural resources within its ancestral domain,” he added.
Carl Binayao, community affairs officer of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)-Bukidnon, said via SMS Tuesday the firm complied with the requirements for the free and prior informed consent (FPIC).
He said the certificate of pre-condition for the FPIC was still pending before the NCIP regional review team.
Gregorio Jabonillo, Hedcor’s vice president for business development said the two plants are expected to fill about 35 percent of the power shortage in Mindanao in 2016.
The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, he added, estimated the shortage at about 150 MW. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)