MANOLO FORTICH, Bukidnon (MindaNews / 23 Apr) – A groundbreaking ceremony that will tap hydropower from Tagoloan River, the country’s 13th largest river system, to produce a total of 68.9 megawatts of electricity was held in Barangay Maluko, Manolo Fortich on Wednesday.
Hedcor President Rene Ronqillo said construction of the two cascading hydro plants—the 43.4 MW Manolo Fortich Hydro 1 and the 25.4 Manolo Fortich Hydro 2—will start right away.
Ronquillo said they expect to finish the construction with its total 68.8 MW rated capacity available to the Mindanao grid in 18 months.
He said the total cost of the project is P12.5 billion.
“The province of Bukidnon is the right place for this project and we commit that it will serve all the stakeholders,” Ronquillo said during the brief groundbreaking ceremony.
Since 1996, Hedcor has been interested in harnessing the tributaries – Tanaon, Amusig and Guihean – of Tagoloan River for its hydropower project.
The government, however, shelved the project proposal in 1998.
After government gave Hedcor the go signal in 2012, Ronquillo said it took them another two years to complete government requirements and get the approval from the lumads who live beside the three tributary rivers located in the towns of Manolo Fortich and Impasug-ong.
The Bukidnon provincial board said seven lumad 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. – will be affected.
Ronquillo said Hedcor has already complied with all government requirements and the lumads have already given their consent to the project.
A lumad delegation led by Datu Honorio Sumohoy witnessed the groundbreaking ceremonies and helped bury a time capsule containing the written notes of Higaonon children.
Ronquillo said more than 800 local workers will be hired in the construction phase.