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KIBUNGAN , Benguet – The CohecoBadeo Corporation revealed the construction of the 500-megawatt pump storage hydro project in the remote village of Badeo will cost approximately $700 million or equivalent to at least P35 billion that will spur economic growth in the municipality in the future.
Larry Howon Kim, chairman of CohecoBadeo Corporation, said the company’s equity to the project is around $200 million while the remaining $500 million will be opened to potential foreign and local investors who already signified their intention to invest in the first-ever pump storage hydropower plant in the country.
However, Kim pointed out the capital to be infused by the potential investors will still be subject to negotiations once the company is able to secure the free and prior informed consent (FPIC) of the affected ancestral domain of Kibungan.
“The government is not capable of providing most of the basic needs of the indigenous peoples in less developed areas like Kibungan that is why the project will help in providing the people with roads, scholarships for their children, health benefits and livelihood programs that will help improve their living condition,” Kim stressed.
The Korean businessman claimed among the projects that will be committed by the company is to build a road that will link Benguet, La Union and Ilocos Sur through the interior communities to allow the people to have access to urban centers for them to market their agricultural produce aside from contributing to increasing the economic activities of the IPs in the remote villages of the three provinces.
According to him, CohecoBadeo Corporation is willing to undergo the stringent process of securing the consent of the IPs and the subsequent processing of permits from concerned government agencies so that the proposed power plant will be operational within the next two years to bring development opportunities to the undeveloped areas of Benguet.
Kim claimed one of the potential investors is a State-owned Chinese company which earlier forged a memorandum of agreement with CohecoBadeoCorporation although the terms and conditions relative to the infusion of funds to the company was not detailed in the said agreement.
He said the company is willing to answer whatever criticism hurled against their project because it will provide them the opportunity to appropriately address misconceptions about their project which is considered as the new technology in the hydropower industry.
Kim also refused to divulge the identities of other foreign and local investors who have signified their intention to partner with CohecoBadeo Corporation for the implementation of the 500-megawatt pump storage plant, saying that the public will be appraised on the developments of the project once the IPs will issue their consent to the company.