LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The provincial board interposed no objection to the put up of three additional minihydro power plants by a local hydro developer in Tuba town after finding that it was able to secure the free and prior informed consent (FPIC) of the indigenous peoples in their proposed areas of operation.
The board gave the go-signal to Goldlink Global Energy Corporation to proceed with the processing of the pertinent permits required by the concerned government agencies and the local government prior to the commencement of their desired minihydro projects in the host communities.
The endorsement of the provincial board is one of the major documentary requirements being demanded by concerned government agencies for the processing of the certificate of pre-condition to be issued by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) en banc, the service contract from the energy department, the environmental compliance certificate (ECC) from the environment department among others.
The board found out the local power corporation was able to initially comply with the major requirements of their project by being able to secure the FPIC of the affected indigenous peoples and the municipal government of Tuba after the conduct of thorough consultations of their plans for the environmentally-friendly projects.
Goldlink plans to up three minihydro power plants with an aggregate power output of at least 12 megawatts in Tuba, particularly in barangays Tadiangan, Nangalisan, Poblacion and parts of Taloy Norte.
It was learned that affected indigenous peoples in the areas where the minihydro plants will be constructed, particularly the Tuba Indigenous Peoples Organization (TIPO), signed a memorandum of agreement with Goldlink allowing the local power corporation to push through with their desired projects in their respective places, provided that, the company will comply with various conditions agreed upon by the organization and the TIPO.
Under the agreement, host communities will be receiving a one centavo per kilowatthour share from the total power production of the minihydro power plants once operational and that the corporation shall be mandated to implement various corporate social responsibility projects in their areas among other benefits that will translate to the upliftment of the living condition of the local residents.
The corporation is also mandated to implement environmental preservation and protection projects within the host and neighboring communities in order to enhance the state of the environment, especially within its areas of operation, to allow the uninterrupted operation of the power plants which will be banking on the abundance of water supply for their sustained power generation.
Goldlink has been conducting groundworks over the past four years in order to secure the FPIC of the indigenous peoples and the concerned local governments for them to be able to realize their long overdue plan of operating renewable energy plants in the province and contributing to efforts in preserving and protecting the environment.
By Dexter A. See