KAPANGAN, Benguet – The construction of the over P10 billion 60-megawatt hydroelectric plant here will start anytime this month following the upcoming groundbreaking ceremonies to be attended by national officials.
Lawyer Jingboy Atonen, legal counsel of the Cordillera Hydroelectric Power Corporation (COHECO), said prepatory works will be done within the first three months while full blast construction will be done by the second quarter of this year.
“Our investors are eager to push through with the project after our company was issued the certificate of pre-condition by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and other permits from concerned government agencies,”Atonen stressed.
Initially, he cited the company will be employing around 100 workers to do the preparatory works and the labor force will increase to more than 500 once the full blast construction of the power plant will start by the second quarter of this year.
According to him, the construction of the intake, tunnel and power house was projected to be around four and a half years in order to infuse added renewable energy to the Luzon grid.
COHECO is a power generation company with majority owners from the Philippines and with South Korean partners.
Atonen assured most of the labor force to be hired by the company will come from the host and neighboring communities in order to contribute in the generation of additional employment opportunities for qualified local residents and provide them improved sources of livelihood.
President Benigno SimoenAquino III or |Energy Secretary Carlos Jerico Petilia are the possible guests during the grounbreaking ceremonies to jumpstart the construction of the hydroelectric power plant before the end of this month.
“One of the major components of the hydro project is the opening of a 27-kilometer access road from barangay Cuba, Kapangan up to barangay Badeo, Kibungan in order to provide the residents living in communities in the area access to a road,” Atonen stressed.
He disclosed the initial budget for the major road project in the area is approximately P1 billion which forms part of the P10 billion overall cost for the various components of the hydro power project.
He cited the construction period of the two turbines of the power plant was pegged at four and a half years and that it is likely to operate in full capacity in the fifth year.
Aside from generating employment opportunities and increasing the sources of livelihood for the residents in the host communities, Atonen pointed out the new hydro power plant will definitely spur economic growth in the area and would translate to added income among host communities.
Gov. Nestor B. Fongwan cited the expected enormous contribution of the completion of the renewable source of energy to the economic development of the province and the efforts to preserve and protect the remaining watersheds, citing that the company will work double time to enhance the forest cover of its headwaters in order to sustain the power that will be generated with the availability of optimum water supply.
By Dexter A. See