Hedcor faces petition vs plant

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Thursday, May 22, 2014

HEDCOR Inc. faces another glitch after the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) issued a temporary restraining order against the plant they are constructing in Sabangan, Mountain Province.

The people of Gayang, Sabangan filed a petition against the company after alleged negative effects of the construction on their community.

Gayang is located downstream from Upper Sabangan, where the Chico River flows from Napua and Namatec barangays.


According to Gayang village chief Albert Beniyat, waste from the construction is dumped in the river, affecting the riverbank and said this may cause flooding in downstream communities during the rainy season.

Beniyat called for Hedcor to include them in the process of the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC).

"Please include us also in the FPIC," Beniyat appealed calling for their rights to be recognized.

He added water in the river is no longer potable, as three carabaos allegedly died after drinking from it.

The FPIC guidelines provide, "All ICCs/IPs who are owner of the ancestral domain, have the right to FPIC." It also recognized the right of those who are affected by the construction.

However, according to the resolution filed by Barangay Gayang, this guideline was not followed stressing only two barangays were consulted about the construction of the power plant.

A memorandum of agreement was signed by Sabangan Hedcor Inc. and barangays Napua and Namatec in 2011.

Although the barangay captain acknowledged the Gayang community was at first in favor with the power plant project because of the guaranteed benefits, he emphasized they are now eager to stop it seeing the negative effects it caused them.

The resolution petitioned by the people of Gayang was submitted to NCIP-CAR on May 21.

Aside from Barangay Gayang, other barangays in Sabangan are also allegedly experiencing ill effects of the construction. These include, Busa, Capinitan, Camatagan, Bun-ayan, Lagan, Pingat, Lusad and Poblacion Sabangan.

Hedcor Inc. started the power plant's construction in June 2013 and is expected to be completed on the first quarter of 2015.

A TRO was recently issued by the Napua Sabangan United Tour Guides Association against Hedcor Inc. claiming the company entered and caused damage to their ancestral land domain.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 23, 2014.

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