The National Power Corporation (Napocor) on Monday clarified that it has only issued “land use permit” to the Angat Hydropower Corp. (AHC) for its implementation of the Angat Dam and Dyke Strengthening Project.
It was the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) which issued the “tree-cutting permit” that authorized the Korean Water-SMC joint venture to cut a number of trees for the temporary campsite for the project, the state-owned corporation said.
The clarification was issued following the recent clamor of the provincial government of Bulacan to stop the cutting of trees in the reservation. Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado claimed that some 900 trees have been felled in the rehabilitation of Angat Dam since 2016, prompting the governor to stop further tree cutting within the dam’s watershed.
“We had only given them land use permits which allowed them to use a total of 42.19 hectares of land within the watershed to serve as their contractor’s and its facilities’ temporary campsite and to complete the rehabilitation project,” Napocor Watershed Management Department Manager Emmanuel A. Umali said.
According to Umali, the tree-cutting permit was issued under Executive Order 23 series of 2011 of the DENR after a joint onsite tree inventory was conducted by the agency and Napocor.
Napocor has assured the public, particularly the stakeholders of the Angat Dam, that it will ensure AHC compliance with the requirements and the conditions of permits issued to them by the DENR.
“We shall ensure that for every tree cut down, AHC will provide 100 seedlings as replacement as indicated in DENR Memorandum Circular 2012-02 and that the trees cut down will be all accounted for and be brought to the DENR as directed,” Umali said.
The Angat Dam and Dyke Strengthening Project is part of the sale agreement of Angat Dam to AHC. It is expected to improve the integrity of the dam and make it at par with the current international standards for dam installations.
AHC is a joint venture of Korea Water Resources Development Corp. (K-Water) and San Miguel Corporation’s SMC Global Power through its subsidiary Power Ventures Energy Inc.