67 Cordi hydro projects approved; RDC warns of anomalous contracts

>> Saturday, July 29, 2017

BAGUIO CITY – The Regional Development Council in the Cordillera urged local governments and indigenous peoples in the region to bring to the attention of the region’s policy-making body complaints against questionable service contracts covering river systems to address issues being raised against exploitation, development and utilization of the region’s rich resources to the detriment of the host communities.
This, following approval of 67 hydro projects in the Cordillera by the government’s Energy sector.
RDC-CAR chairman and Baguio City Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said local officials and IPs who have valid issues to raise against the entry of companies to exploit, utilize and develop the resources within their ancestral domain should bring to the attention of the policy-making body their complaints so these can be effectively addressed in the regional level.
Earlier, the RDC-CAR reported there were 67 service contracts issued by the government Energy sector covering various river systems around the region for production of more than 4,200 kilowatts of renewable energy and that the said service contracts are located within ancestral domains.
Under Republic Act (RA) 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA), companies intending to exploit, develop and utilize the natural resources of the region must first secure the free and prior informed consent of the IPs who own the domain of the projected areas of operation.
Concerned IP leaders in the region called the attention of the RDC-CAR to intervene in the alleged questionable issuance of the service contracts covering the river systems in their ancestral domains without their expressed consent in violation of existing laws, rules and regulations.
Domogan said in case the Cordillera will achieve its autonomous status in the future, the issuance of permits for renewable energy plants will be lodged with the autonomous regional government instead of the central office of the energy department and because they know better their backyard compared to those who are in Metro Manila, the perennial issue on these grants of service contract even without the consent of affected ancestral domain owners can be addressed more responsively.
Milagros Rimando, RDC-CAR vice chairperson and regional director of the Cordillera office of the National Economic and Development Authority, said the RDC-CAR passed a resolution requesting the energy department to put a regional office in the Cordillera so that similar issues and concerns will be addressed at the regional level as it is the appropriate agency to respond to concerns relative to energy especially that the region has been and is being eyed as one of the potential sources of renewable energy that could be infused to the grid.


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