SABANGAN, Mountain Province: An environmentalist has petitioned the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to issue a cease and desist order against a hydro energy plant here for failure to restore environment damage it had caused.
Petitioner Juniper Dominguez also questioned why the rental fee for Hedcor Sabangan’s plant site is not paid to the local government but to the DENR instead.
He said the hydro power plant sits on a part of the Sabangan ancestral domain of indigenous peoples (IPs).
Fees amounting to P87,030.90 from 2012 to 2015 represent payment for special land use permit (SLUP) covering 8.7 hectares, computed based on three percent for the land and one percent for the improvements introduced in the area.
Hedcor’s Sabangan 14-megawatt hydro electric plant costs some P2 billion.
Dominguez asked that Hedcor sign a promissory note to restore environmental damage to the Chico River during the construction of the power plant.
An Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) was issued by DENR in favor of Hedcor Sabangan in October 2011, as well as special land use permit in March 2013 for the barangay (villages) of Napua and Namatec only.
The hydro plant began its generation operations in 2015 and construction activities in 2012 covered the villages of Napua and Namatec, where a diversion dam and turbines are located.
Its transmission lines are in the villages of Supang, Poblacion Bus, Kapinitan, Gayang, Camatagan, Pingad, Baoangan and Lusad and in Barangay Otukan of adjoining Bauko municipality.
The hydropower project aims to produce over 50 million kilowatt-hours of clean energy annually.
Meanwhile, the treasury office of Sabangan said it is yet to receive the 40 percent share of Sabangan municipality from the national wealth taxes of Hedcor.
Hedcor Sabangan Inc. has business address at Beckel, La Trinidad, Benguet.
Under the law, companies must pay their taxes to the locality where the firms are located.
Dominguez said he also appealed to DENR officials for swift action to the petition for the best interest of Sabangan government, particularly the indigenous people, who are deprived of revenue from their ancestral land.