NCIP orders hydropower plant firm in Benguet to stop operating
BAGUIO CITY — The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) in the Cordillera has issued a cease-and-desist order (CDO) to the operator of three hydroelectric power plants in Benguet province.
In a June 22 order, Marlon Bosantog, director of NCIP in the Cordillera, directed Hedcor Inc. “to wind up and install safety protocols” in the three plants.
Bosantog gave Hedcor five days to completely cease operation upon receipt of the CDO.
The CDO would remain effective until the company secures a Certification Precondition (CP) from the indigenous people communities, where Hedcor’s plants are situated, Bosantog said.
The CP is a certificate that NCIP issues to attest that the concerned indigenous community has given its free prior and informed consent (FPIC).
On June 7, the NCIP issued a notice of violation to Hedcor for the continued operations of the three plants without the Bakun people’s consent.
Bosantog said Hedcor has been violating the rights of the indigenous people of Bakun to their ancestral domain under the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act.
He cited a resolution of nonconsent issued by Bakun Indigenous Tribes Organizations and town elders recently that blocks Hedcor from running its hydropower plants in their ancestral land.
Bosantog said the company failed to obtain FPIC from the IP community in the town as prescribed by the law.
Since 1991 Hedcor has been operating the Labay and Lon-oy hydroelectric power plant in Barangay Poblacion and the Ferdinand L. Singit plant covering Poblacion and Sinacbat. These plants produce a combined capacity of at least 12 megawatts.
Lloyd Revilla from Hedcor’s corporate communication confirmed to the Inquirer that they already received the CDO.
He said they would comply with NCIP’s order.
In a separate statement, Noreen Vicencio, Hedcor’s vice president for corporate services, said the closure of their three plants would impact the already low power supply in the Luzon grid.
“The CDO will not just affect Hedcor, but also the customers and communities we serve. At this time of a red alert situation in the Luzon grid, the continued operation of our plants is very crucial,” she said.
The three Hedcor hydropower plants supply to Advent Energy Inc., a licensed power distributor that caters specifically to economic zones.
Revilla explained that all power producers are connected to the Luzon grid, and Advent Energy is a direct customer that is within the grid. INQ
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