By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY – The Leonardo Pacsi Command (LPC) of the New People’s Army (NPA) admitted to the dismantling and burning of the sub-station of Hedcor- Sabangan at Otucan Norte, Bauko, Mt. Province, which serves as the transmission station from the power plant to the national grid, at around 10:45 in the evening of October 10.
In a press statement emailed to the media on October 12, Magno Udyaw, LPC spokeperson said the attack was a punitive action against Hydro-Electric Development Corporation (HEDCOR) Inc.-Sabangan for taking over indigenous people’s common resources.
“Hedcor deceitfully robbed the people of their land and water rights in its Sabangan 14MW power plant,” Udyaw said.
Councilor Ricky Samidan of Bauko, Mountain Province said on October 11 arrmed men attacked the plant resulting to a blackout in the province. He said no one was hurt in the incident but the armed men took the guns of the security guards stationed in the area.
In a press release sent to media on October 11, Hedcor said the control room of their tapping point in Otucan Norte, Bauko, Mountain Province was bombed by unidentified armed men.
Hedcor said 90% of their equipment at the tapping point were damaged but promised to restore Sabangan Hydro’s operation the soonest.
Udyaw accused the Hedcor of colluding with local government units and government agencies in manipulating the free prior and informed consent (FPIC) process.
Udyaw said the company only consulted with government officials and land owners of the two directly affected communities of Napua and Namatec and disregarded other affected residents and communities in the upstream and downstream of Chico River and those traversed by electric transmission lines. He added that the company presented incomplete technical designs that include the size of the tunnel and the height of the dams or wiers.
Udyaw also said that while Hedcor collects P4.56/kwh for generation charge it pays a meager P0.005/kwh for royalty which is below the P0.01/kwh set by the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA). He also said the company only pays P1.50/sqm for the land it occupied, P2.00/sqm for productive rice and vegetable areas with 5% increase every five years, and P2.00/sqm for an access road for 5 years.
Udyaw further said that Hedcor committed several violations of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and other commitments with the selected elders and leaders of Namatec and Napua: (1) excessive cutting of trees; (2) very limited hiring of local workers; (3) no hiring of local contractors; (4) Free electricity.
Udyaw said communities downstream observed an upsurge of the water level during typhoons since the hydro plant was built.
Sabangan Hydro was constructed in 2013 and started operating in 2015 amid protests from some community folks. # nordis.net