SAN GABRIEL, La Union: The officials of this town led by Mayor Divina Daliguez-Velasco and the Municipal Council, said they would not agree to any compromise that may push the planned construction of a hydropower plant near a popular local tourist attraction.
A group called, TEAM Philippines Renewable Energy Corporation (TPREC) of the Baroro Hydropower Project, allegedly sought the intercession of the Department of Energy (DOE), to validate and monitor a feasibility study of the technical and financial viability of the project.
The power plant site will be along the Baroro River in Bacnotan town to the Cabassitan River in San Gabriel, where the popular Tangadan Waterfalls is located.
The TPREC representatives presented a project scheme to the municipal council last June 10, at the behest of the Hydropower and Ocean and Energy Management Division of the DOE, led by its chief, Andersito Ulgado.
The objective of the visit is to enlighten the stakeholders of the project, the renewable energy targets of DOE, implementing rules and regulations, which focused on the municipal government’s shares and benefits.
Councilor Isagani Dumaoang, in an interview with the Manila Times, said the proponent’s plan was to build three powerhouses, 2 to 3 kilometers apart on either side of two dams. The plant is expected to generate as much as 6 megawatts of added electricity that would be sold to local power utilities.
“They claimed they have made a feasibility study but it has many flaws and would affect Tangadan Falls and would lose water supplies while residents in the proposed sites would be displaced and then the fishes in the river deplete as fast as the source of farmers’ water irrigations, “ Dumaoang said.
Mayor Velaso said she opposed the project and never issued a permit for the TPREC to conduct a feasibility study in the town.
Bacnotan Mayor Francis Fontanilla allegedly also gave a cold shoulder treatment to the idea of the project that also involves the main river in Barangay Baroro.
Dumaoang added that an average of 500 to 800 daily tourists flocked to the Tangadan Waterfalls in regular days and can be a big loss in their booming tourism industry.