Davao council awaits NCIP side on Aboitiz geothermal project

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/31 July)–The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) needs to give its recommendation first before a joint city council committee can draft a report regarding the request of Aboitiz Power Corp. for its proposed geothermal power plant project in Mount Apo.

In a phone interview, Councilor Louie John Bonguyan, a member of the energy committee, said he told Manuel Orig, Aboitiz Power First Vice President for Mindanao, on the need for the firm to seek the recommendation of the NCIP.

The plan of Aboitiz to operate a geothermal power plant is being tackled at the city council by the joint committee on energy, environment, and indigenous peoples (IP).

Councilor Berino Mambo-o, IP representative in the council, was tasked to follow-up the requirement needed from the company.

In a text message, committee on environment chair Danilo Dayanghirang said that his committee saw no more need for further hearings as far as the environmental issues are concerned.

Orig, at a presentation during Wednesday’s Club 888 weekly media forum at the Marco Polo Davao, said they have already approached the NCIP for the recommendation.

There are Tagabawa and Manobo communities at the proposed plant site, which would traverse this city and the provinces of Davao del Sur and North Cotabato.

Once it gets the necessary approvals, Orig said the company is planning to complete the project in five years to help augment the energy supply in Mindanao.

The Department of Energy has granted the company two contract areas involving 8,586 hectares in Mount Talomo and 8,910 hectares in Mount Sibulan.

Orig said the company was hoping the proposed power plant would generate around 200 megawatts.

Aside from a favorable recommendation from the city council to push with the project, the firm needs the same from the local governments of Davao del Sur and North Cotabato.

Aboitiz Power said the project’s exploration phase would cost around $16 million to $20 million in five years.

Orig said that the company was “mindful” that the two contract areas are inside the Mt. Apo National Park.

Bonguyan said that he saw “little problems regarding the creation of the geothermal plant.”

“The technology is one of the safest in terms of renewable energy,” Bonguyan said. (MindaNews)