Proposed Ifugao hydro plant is getting the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of the local IPs
SN Aboitiz Power-Ifugao, Inc. (SNAP-Ifugao), the proponent of the proposed Alimit Hydroelectric Power Complex located in the province of Ifugao is still completing the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) process with the indigenous peoples as required under the IPRA law, SNAP Group spokesperson Mike Hosillos said in a statement.
“We have been conducting the second community consultative assemblies, or CCA2, since January 2016 in the four ancestral domains of Lamut, Lagawe, Mayoyao, and Aguinaldo,” he said. “We are scheduled to complete presentations to all 81 barangays composing the ancestral domains within the next two months. This will then allow the Indigenous Peoples to go into a consensus building process to decide whether to give consent to the proposed project or not. So far, we have received positive reception to the proposed project.”
“During the consultations, we have been informed by the Indigenous Peoples of their key issues and concerns on the project, and this is critical in ensuring that the proposed project considers these concerns moving forward.” Hosillos added.
The Alimit hydropower complex is composed of three power facilities: the 20-MW Olilicon Hydroelectric Power Plant (HEPP), the 120-MW Alimit HEPP, and the 250-MW Alimit Pumped Storage Project. The proposed facilities are located in four municipalities: Aguinaldo, Lagawe, Lamut, Mayoyao. The project aims to provide additional electricity to the grid and contribute to energy security.
SNAP-Ifugao applied with the NCIP to undergo the FPIC process in March of 2014. NCIP then conducted its Field Based Investigation (FBI) until May of the same year and recommended that the FPIC process be undertaken with the Indigenous Peoples in the 81 barangays of the four ancestral domains in the municipalities of Agunaldo, Lagawe, Lamut and Mayoyao.
After the FBI, the first community consultative assemblies (CCA1) were held from the last quarter of 2014 until the first quarter of 2015 during which the NCIP informed the Indigenous Peoples of their rights to FPIC under the IPRA Law, among others. Thereafter, the CCA2 commenced in December of 2015.
“During CCA2, SNAP is required to fully disclose and present to the Indigenous Peoples the complete studies and plans for the project including the benefits, negative and adverse impact of the same as a requirement for free, prior and informed consent process.” Hosillos said. “Though the FPIC process has already taken close to three years, we are keenly aware of the need to be faithful with the spirit and intent of IPRA law to protect the rights of the Indigenous Peoples and we are committed to following the process prescribed by the law and NCIP to achieve this. We have also been working and consulting closely with NCIP and the Indigenous Peoples organizations involved every step of the way.”
Once CCA2 is concluded in all the domains, the Indigenous Peoples have a maximum of 60-days to decide whether or not to give consent to the proposed project. In the event of the Indigenous Peoples consent, a memorandum of agreement (MOA) will be negotiated to embody the terms and conditions of the FPIC.
In addition to the FPIC process, SNAP-Ifugao still needs to secure the local government endorsements and environmental compliance certificate for the project as well as other mandatory regulatory requirements prescribed by law.
SNAP-Ifugao is a joint venture of SN Power AS and AboitizPower. SN Power AS is a Norwegian company that focuses on hydropower development in Southeast Asia while AboitizPower is a local company, which is the holding company of Aboitiz Group in power generation, distribution and retail electricity services.**