NCIP asked to explain FPIC result on Coheco project

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

THE Provincial Board of Benguet urged the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to explain the result of the free prior and informed consent (FPIC) of the proposed hydro project of the Cordillera Hydro Electric Corporation.

Vice Governor Crescencio Pacalso said they will invite NCIP to clear the issues before them during their June 3 regular session in Capitol, La Trinidad, Benguet. He said they have to know what really transpired during the FPIC process in Kapangan because of several complaints stemming from the issue.

Most of the board members are confused on the result of the FPIC. The confusion stemmed from opposing parties, each claiming that they won. One group said the “no” had it while the project proponents claimed it got the nod from the town folks during the FPIC.


On April 22, the NCIP revealed the FPIC results to the Kapangan folks. NCIP Director Nora Ramos revealed nine out of 15 barangays voted yes for the project while only six barangays rejected the proposal. The nine barangays are Balakbak, Beleng–belis, Datakan, Gadang, Labueg, Pongayan, Sagubo, Kapangan Central, and Gaswiling.

The FPIC process was conducted sequentially in the fifteen barangays of the town namely: Balakbak (March 26); Beleng–Belis (March 27); Datakan (April 1); Gadang (April 2); Labueg (April 2); Pongayan (April 2); Sagubo (April 3); Kapangan Central (April 5); Gaswiling (April 10); Cuba (March 27); Paykek (April 1); Pudong (April 1); Cayapes (April 3); Taba–ao (April 4); and Boklaoan (April 12).

In the 2012 revised FPIC guidelines, it mandates every investor to have an FPIC process in the whole domain regardless of whether the proposed project will only affect some portions of the domain.

In the case of Barangay Badeo, which is the only area in Kibungan to be directly affected, Coheco still needs to conduct another series of FPIC process in the whole town as one domain.

The NCIP must include the other barangays of Kibungan on the FPIC process. The FPIC process in Kibungan is ongoing.

The P12 billion–worth project aims to construct a power plant with 60 megawatts capacity. Coheco plans to construct a tunnel with an outside diameter of 4.2 meters and inside diameter of 3.5 meters with a length of nine kilometers traversing Balakbak, Beleng–belis, and Cuba all of Kapangan; and Barangay Badeo of Kibungan. A 12–meter diameter and 50–meter high surge tank will be built in Badeo. The 20-meter by 40-meter power house will also be constructed in Badeo.

Coheco is a Philippine company which partnered with a Korean investor through a 60–40 share agreement. It started its operation as a power supplier in 2008. Its current president is hydrologist Dr. Lino Aldovino.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 28, 2013.

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