• Power project nears final stages of securing permits

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    LAGAWE, Ifugao: The proposed 390-megawatt (MW) hydropower project of SN Aboitiz Power-Ifugao Inc. (SNAP-Ifugao) is moving toward the final stages in securing permits such as the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) with indigenous peoples or tribes in the province.

    Lawyer Mike Hosillos, SNAP vice president and chief corporate and services officer, said in addition to FPIC processes, the company still needs to secure local government endorsements, environmental compliance certificate and other mandatory regulatory requirements prescribed by law.

    The proposed Alimit Hydroelectric Power Complex of SNAP-Ifugao is composed of three power facilities: 20-MW Olilicon Hydroelectric Power Plant; 120-MW Alimit Hydroelectric Power Plant; and 250-MW Alimit Pumped Storage Project. Hosillos said the proposed Alimit power project that aims to provide additional electricity to the grid and contribute to energy security in Luzon are located in the four municipalities of Aguinaldo, Lagawe, Lamut, Mayoyao, all in Ifugao.

    “[We are] still completing the free, prior and informed consent process with the indigenous peoples as required under the IPRA [Indigenous People’s Right Act] Law,” he said.

    Hosillos added the company has been conducting the second community consultative assemblies since January in the four ancestral domains of the four municipalities and scheduled to complete presentations to all 81 barangay (villagers) composing the ancestral domains within the next two months.

    “This will then allow the indigenous peoples to go into a consensus building process to decide whether to give consent to the proposed project or not. So far, we have received positive reception to the proposed project,” he further said.

    During the consultations, the company was informed by the indigenous peoples of key issues and concerns on the project that are “critical in ensuring that the proposed project considers these concerns moving forward,” according to Hosillos.

    In March 2014, SNAP-Ifugao applied with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to undertake the FPIC that led the commission to conduct its field-based investigation until May of the same year.

    The NCIP, in the same year, recommended the FPIC process be undertaken with the indigenous peoples in the 81 barangay of the four ancestral domains in the municipalities of Agunaldo, Lagawe, Lamut and Mayoyao.

    “Though the FPIC process has already taken close to three years, we are keenly aware of the need to be faithful with the spirit and intent of IPRA law to protect the rights of the indigenous peoples and we are committed to following the process prescribed by the law and NCIP to achieve this,” Hosillos said.

    He said SNAP-Ifugao has also been working and consulting closely with NCIP and indigenous peoples organizations involved every step of the way.

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