MP’s rich hydro resource to be an economic driver

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SABANGAN, Mountain Province – Gov. Leonard G. Mayaen disclosed the province’s abundant water resource will definitely propel the robust growth of the local economy that will contribute in enhancing the economic activities and stabilize the sources of livelihood of the people, especially those living in remote villages.

Mayaen said the full operation of the 14.2-megawatt hydro power plant of the Aboitiz-owned Hydroelectric Development Corporation (HEDCOR), Inc. in barangay Napua will help in the creation of employment opportunities for qualified local residents, increase the sources of livelihood of people living in neighbouring and host communities and generate added income to the barangays, municipality and province hosting the power plants.

HEDCOR inaugurated its newest power plant in the Cordillera and its first hydro power facility in the province amidst various controversies surrounding the implementation of the renewable energy project over the past two years.

“Hydro power projects are environmentally-friendly because operators of the plants will be constrained to maintain the watershed areas of its upstream and downstream communities in order to guarantee the abundant supply of water to run their power plants,” Mayaen stressed.

He said the provincial government supports the construction of more hydro power plants along major river systems in the province in order to increase the utilization of abundant water supply for power generation and make the province as one of the major sources of renewable energy that could be infused to the Luzon grid and be blended with the power produced by fossil fuel among others.

According to him, there are a number of companies that have proposed to build hydro power plants along various river systems in the province but it is up for host and neighbouring communities to give their consent for such projects after the conduct of transparent public consultations in order to gather the sentiments of the affected communities for them to address and attend to.

Mayaen disclosed the track records of the companies interested to venture on putting up hydro power plants in the province must be scrutinized so that those deserving companies will be the ones to implement the projects to avoid host and neighbouring communities from being short changed in the future.

Under HEDCOR’s memorandum of agreement with the indigenous peoples that endorsed the noble project, the power firm will be shelling out some one centavo per kilowatthour of power that will be generated from its operations and that the funds to be generated will be used for projects beneficial to the overall growth of the affected communities.

Mayaen urged indigenous cultural communities in the different parts of the province to continue preserving and protecting their respective communal forests that will surely be beneficial to the welfare of the greater majority of the populace once there will be companies that will be interested to tap the province’s rich water resource for power generation purposes.

Aside from the Chico river, which is the second longest river system in Northern Luzon, the other rivers that race their headwaters from Mountain Province include Magat, Abra and Agno rivers among others thereby sustaining abundant water supply for lowland communities for various purposes such as agriculture, irrigation and power generation. By Dexter A. See

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