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QUEZON CITY – A mini hydroelectric power (MHP) dubbed as .60 Megawatt Likud 2 will soon be erected along the Guihingon River separating the Asipulo and Kiangan Ancestral Domains (AD) of Ifugao after earning a unanimous vote from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Commission En Banc (CEB) for the approval of its Certification Precondition (CP).
It can be recalled that sometime 2017, FIRECO applied for the issuance of CP before the NCIP Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). It is also the same year when the conduct of the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) process commenced.
NCIP – Ifugao, Community Development Officer, Norina Habiatan disclosed during the NCIP Commission En Banc sessions that the FPIC process was conducted with all the concerned 27 barangays/IP Communities within the AD of Asipulo and Kiangan. Indigenous Peoples (IPs) dwelling therein belongs to the Ayangan, Tuwali and Kalanguya ethonoliguistic groups.
Habiatan added that decision making process used by the IPs was based solely on their customary decision making process locally known by them as “Huhumangan”. The FPIC process took more than two years to due to the long and novel customary procedure of the IPs in the consensus building stage.
“The long and novel customary decision making of the IPs has no substitution and should be respected. It is in this process that all issues and concerns which will affect the IPs in their domain relative to the MHP will be taken into account. Issues and concerns will be discussed and decided between and among the IPs themselves.”, said NCIP – CAR Technical Management Division Chief (TMSD), Michael Umaming.
Umaming added that FPIC is more than just a mere process that requires checking. It is a right which sprouted from the historical injustices done to the IPs.
The FPIC was well participated by the concerned IPs of Asipulo and Kiangan according to Habiatan. She added that they did there due diligence in informing and equipping the IPs of their rights through the series of Information and Education Campaigns (IECs) during the community assemblies.
Habiatan said that concerned IPs from both the affected ADs were able to meet at a decision using their customary decision making process. The concerned IPs, according to Habiatan gave their consent to the project which was reduced into writing through the execution of the Resolution of Consent (ROC).
Habiatan further added that after the execution of the ROC, concerned IPs laid down their terms and conditions to the project which in turn was accepted by the proponent, First Ifugao Renewable Energy Corporation (FIRECO). The meeting of the minds between the concerned IPs and project proponent FIRECO was cemented through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).
Likud 2 MHP is pegged to generate an approximate 560 Kilowatt of energy. As stipulated in the MOA, FIRECO committed a royalty share of two and five centavos per kilowatt hour to the two affected Ancestral Domains (AD) of Kiangan and Asipulo.
FIRECO assured during the Commission En Banc session that there will be no displacement of IPs and that rice fields situated therein will be properly irrigated. They likewise committed to shoulder all of the school fees of the students coming the affected Ancestral Domains who will enrol at Riverview Polytechnic and Academic School Incorporated.
By Rocky Ngalob