By ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
SAGADA, Mt. Province (Dec. 11) — A twenty-five (25) kilowatt micro hydro project recently electrified 35 households among the Mabaca tribe of Bayawong, Balbalan, Kalinga on November 30.
While homes powered by commercial electricity contend with high prices of electricity the agriculture-dependent villagers of the joint project of the Montañosa Research and Development Center (MRDC) and the Mabaca tribe of Bayawong, only contribute a minimal monthly dues which they can afford.
Trained members of the community will manage the project with minimal supervision from MRDC, a Sagada based non-government organization.
Bobby Kasan, MRDC staff, disclosed that the electrification of the the Mabaca tribe is the third phase of their project.
Kasan added that the project feasibility study started in 1999. In 2004, they already installed the power plant that powered the rice mill as the first phase. In June this year, they accomplished the blacksmith shop powered by the plant as the second phase. They produced tools from this shop for their agricultural activities in their rice fields and their uma (slope farms).
He added that the micro hydro plant is among MRDC’s appropriate technology projects in partnership with community organizations.
“We give orientations for appropriate projects like this that will empower villages economically. We give trainings to facilitate the transfer of knowledge to community leaders so that they can manage the project even without us,” explained Kasan, as he shared that MRDC had been with such partnership with villagers in the region since its establishment in 1978.
The community was electrified on November 30 after a ritual where a pig had to be offered as part of a tribal tradition.
The community is an eight-hour walk from the provincial highway. A dominantly subsistence economy, Mabaca also produces coffee, aside from food for community consumption.
MRDC’s shop in Sagada is also utilized for appropriate technology learning. Its programs also include researches on sustainable development, community forest management, and animal raising. #