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LUNA, Apayao – The application of Pan Pacific Renewable Power Philippines Corporation (PPRPPC) for a Certification Precondition (CP) for its proposed 150 megawatt Gened Dam hangs in uncertainty after the Commission En Banc (CEB) of the 8th National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) deferred it.
After hours of deliberation between and among the seven Ethnographic Commissioners, the said body prolonged or suspend PPRPPC’s application to be allowed to build its dam within the Ancestral Domains of the Isnag Indigenous Peoples of both Kabugao and Pudtol, Apayao due to the irregularities in the conduct of the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) process. The deferral was issued following two separate readings of the FPIC report by the 8th CEB.
According to Jann Alexis Lappas, an Isnag Indigenous People and one of participants during the deliberation, there were inconsistencies in the observance of the FPIC process as enshrined in the prevailing NCIP Administrative Order 3 series of 2012. The inconsistencies further blurred the chances of the power company to earn the consent of
the affected Isnag communities in Apayao.
Lappas said the proposed 150 MW Gened Dam was rejected three times by the people but was covertly overturned. He claimed this was done through the maneuvers of a few individuals. He cited an earlier activity that was held inside a hotel at Tuguegarao City, Cagayan that is outside their Ancestral Domain.
Lappas said the holding of such consultation outside the Ancestral Domains targeted for development projects is against the rules or FPIC guidelines. He also said that the Isnag IPs registered their second rejection in September 2019 and affirmed their first rejection setting aside the decision made in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan.
Lappas said that in December 2019, another activity organized by Kabugao Municipal Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) John Antony Amid took place at Barangay Badduat, Kabugao. The second rejection was overturned in the said activity.
He added that there were also installed so called elders and leaders in the activity.
Lappas said they raised the question regarding the so-called elders and leaders before the NCIP CEB. “We questioned the authority of the ‘so-called’ authorized elders/leaders because we don’t recall any assemblies from our barangays or activities called for the purpose. Most of our fellow Isnags don’t recall signing any community resolutions delegating our authority or right to consent, negotiate and sign documents to a selected few”, said Lappas.
The said questionable leaders and elders Lappas said entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the company. He stressed that the MOA is a product of a defective and questionable FPIC process and must be deemed as void.
Meanwhile, NCIP Chairperson Allen Capuyan after the long deliberation was said to have directed NCIP Cordillera to comply with the findings of the NCIP Legal Affairs Office (LAO) and the Ancestral Domains Office (ADO) before the Commission can again take cognizance to the CP application PPRPPC.
Lappas said the proposed 150 MW Gened Dam will displace IP communities within Kabugao and Pudtol Ancestral Domains. The 150 MW Gened Dam is the smallest dam application within the province of Apayao. There are four applications for CP for the construction of the 150 MW Gened 1 Dam, 335 MW Gened 2 Dam, 191 MW Aoan Dam, and 170 MW Calanasan Dam. By HENT