Isnags reject, ban Pan Pacific hydropower project
January 30, 2021


BAGUIO CITY— In a resolution signed on January 15, the Isnag people of Kabugao, Apayao in Northern Philippines, reiterated their opposition to the proposed hydroelectric power project (HEPP) of the Pan Pacific Renewable Power Philippines Corporation (PPRPC).

“[W]e, the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) within the Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICC) of Kabugao, Apayao are strongly opposing or banning Pan Pacific Renewable Power Philippines Corporation (PPRPC) from continuing the FPIC process (in whatever stage) regarding its proposed 150MW Gened 1 HEPP project,” the resolution stated.

They also withdrew their “Yes to Negotiation Only” stand and asked the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to stop the free prior and informed consent (FPIC) process for the project.

On February 4, 2019, the tribal leaders signed a resolution of no consent during a consensus-building meeting facilitated by the NCIP. However, they decided to submit a position paper stating their openness to negotiating with the company, allowing the FPIC process to continue.

“The dam is undoubtedly perilous to our culture and values of oneness, our life and limb, our properties or our ancestral domain and the like,” the Kabugao folk said.

Based on its 2016 environmental impact assessment documents, the dam is 60 meters tall. It will be able to store 158 million cubic meters of water, covering 887 hectares.

A study conducted by peasant group Alyansa ti Pesante iti Taeng Kordilyera (Peasant Alliance in the Cordillera) said the dam’s backflow would submerge a large part of Poblacion, Kabugao, and some sections of Barangays Laco and Luttuacan, including fertile farmlands.

The Kabugao IPs said the project itself is not their priority. They lamented however that it had affected their community life, replacing peace with “divisiveness and animosities.” The project also threatens to destroy their cultural identity.

“Our priority is the documentation of our Indigenous Political Structure (IPS), [the] formation and registration of our Indigenous People’s Organization (IPO), and, more importantly, [the] conversion of our CADC 77 into CADT and CALT…,” the group said.

Pan Pacific bagged the contract for the project in 2011. The dam, to be built along the Apayao-Abulog River, was initially designed to produce 600 MW. The company revised the design in 2016, reducing its capacity to 150 MW, and arranging for it to be located between Balag, Pudtol municipality, and Waga, Kabugao town.

The proposed HEPP is one of a series of dams in the said river system, touted to bring at least P33 billion in investments. The company is also undertaking the early stages of EIA for Gened 2. The Environmental Management Bureau issued a notice for Public Scoping back in November 2020 for Kabugao and Calanasan municipalities.

Pan Pacific was among the beneficiaries of the $3 billion loan agreement inked in October 2016 between the Philippines and China during President Rodrigo Duterte’s state visit to China. The Bank of China, one of the largest state-run financial institutions, funded the deal. #

Source: Nordis

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