Suspension of FPIC pushed over Kibungan Coheco power project

>> Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Benguet Rep. Cosalan questions venture 

KIBUNGAN, Benguet – Indigenous leaders here petitioned the Cordillera office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples to suspend the free and prior informed consent (FPIC) proceedings scheduled here tomorrow (July 3) for the 500-megawatt pump storage hydro project in Barangay Badeo due to questions on competence of persons that made the feasibility study and experts commissioned to explain advantages and disadvantages of the project.
 Benguet Rep. Ronald M. Cosalan also questioned the project urging affected people to study the matter thoroughly, considering its effects on the environment and since the promised projects to be given by the company have not materialized.
He said capacity of so-called owners of the power firm to undertake the project was questionable.
He said local folks should learn from effects of the Ambuklao and Binga dams wherein until now, supposed benefits for the people have not been given and some areas near these power plants still don’t have electricity. 
Meanwhile, in 27-page petition, the IPs demanded the Coheco Badeo Corp. to present documents like final feasibility study including plans and specifications of the project.
They also demanded copy of actual survey showing (not merely map generated through goggle) exact location of the project showing names of landowners, sitios, and barangays that will be affected, maps showing route of transmission lines from sub-station to grid, tracing points, required right of way, sub-station layout, capacity load, general development plan, and preliminary hydroelectric facility designs, and related essential data.
They also asked profile of persons to be involved in implementation of the project; articles of incorporation and by-laws of the applicant, latest general information sheet showing the current officers and board of directors and their respective shares, latest audited financial statement of the applicant prepared by a reputable independent auditor and proof of financial capacity of the applicant to finance the pre-development phase and development phase of the project.
They also demanded that the company bared identity and financial capacity of the owners and board of directors of Coheco Badeo Corp., environmental impact assessment, transmission lines, environmental compliance certificate,  exact coordinates and water level projection of the dam most specially the lower dam to determine the possible, and evident adverse impacts of the project to low lying lands in the domain and other adjacent domains.
Actual topographic and parcellary survey of the project area, was also demanded indicating number of trees to be cut and landowners to be affected including lot area to be used by the applicant.
The firm should “clear first the existence of ambiguities noted by the FBI team in their executive report relative to activities for the proposed project of the applicant and submit the names of the applicant’s representatives in the FPIC process and their expertise/technical qualifications,” the said
The NCIP-CAR was requested of issue an order ordering the firm to submit contracts, agreements, and related documents of its transaction with the Chinese firm and all agreements including those on shareholders.
The NCIP was also asked to order the FBI Team to scrutinize, and study the documents to be considered in their report; An order be issued to re-conduct the FBI for the proposed project to determine the affected areas based on the documents to be submitted by the applicant.
However, Coheco Badeo Corp. insiders branded the “petition for suspension as a desperate act to derail the conduct of the FPIC process” earlier scheduled in Kibungan barangays from June 15 to July 3, saying their arguments are allegedly baseless.
The source added Coheco Badeo Corporation will  answer the petition point by point in the proper forum and that it will adhere to whatever rulings that will be rendered by the NCIP-CAR as an offshoot of the said petition.
He added the first wave of the FPIC will be done by the NCIP-CAR so there is no basis in the filing of the petition considering the fact that all the pertinent issues will be clarified during the community assemblies in the barangays that will be called for the purpose.

“We will be awaiting for whatever will be the decision of the NCIP-CAR on the petition and we will willingly respond to it and face the petitioners in the proper forum,” the source said.


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