Hedcor eyes five more run-of-river hydro plants in Mindanao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/05 February) — The Aboitiz-owned Hydro-Electric Development Corporation (Hedcor) is eyeing five more run-of-river hydropower plants in at least three provinces in Mindanao, most of them within ancestral domain areas of indigenous peoples.

Rene Ronquillo, Hedcor president, said the five projects which will be undertaken in a span of five years, will add some 75-megawatt more power to the existing capacity in the region.

The company is planning to put up two more run-of-river projects in Sibulan with a combined capacity of 17 megawatts, expected to begin construction in July or August this year.  Ronquillo said the two hydropower plants, named Tudaya 1 and Tudaya 2, will be undertaken by
Hedcor Tudaya Inc., a spinoff from Hedcor Sibulan.

The Sibulan projects are among the five run-of-river hydropower plants that Hedcor plans to put up in the three provinces in the next five years. The others are the 11-megawatt plant in Tamugan, Davao City, the 20-megawatt hydropower plants in the villages of Kamanlangan and
Tandawan in New Bataan, Compostela Valley and a 30-megawatt run-of-river plant  along Sita River in Kitaotao, Bukidnon.

Most of these projects are within the ancestral domain areas of indigenous groups; namely: the Bagobos in Tudaya, Sibulan, Santa Cruz; the Manobos in Kitaotao, Bukidnon and the Mandayas in New Bataan, Compostela Valley.

“Pending the permits, we plan to begin construction of two more plants in Sibulan, Santa Cruz in July,” Ronquillo said. He said that since the area is covered by the CADT (Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title) of the Bagobo indigenous peoples, the company is still in the process of getting their Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC).

Ronquillo said the company has already inked a memorandum of agreement with the indigenous peoples of Tudaya the previous week added that this still needs to be approved by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).  The two additional Sibulan plants, to be set up in
Tudaya, will bring in a combined 17 megawatts of power to the existing capacity in the region.

“It’s important that you understand how our plants work because we are putting up more of the same plants in the coming years,” Ronquillo told reporters.

But he admitted that the company is still in a quandary as  to how to go about the proposed  11-megawatt hydropower project in  Tamugan, earlier declared a protected watershed area under the Davao City Water Code.

Ronquillo told reporters the run-of-river hydropower plants they currently operate in Sibulan could not have caused the floods that drowned three people, two of them children, in Darong, Santa Cruz on the night of January 17. Ronquillo said Hedcor runs 17 hydroelectric plants in the country, all of them run-of-river plants. (Germelina Lacorte/MindaNews)