By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — The free prior and informed consent (FPIC) process for a proposed Chico river hydrpower project in Kalinga is now in an impasse after the proponent and some affected indigenous people and land owners reached a “deadlock”.
Diretor Roland Calde of National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) Cordillera said the suspension of the FPIC process is “sort of a natural course of even” after the parties failed to see eye to eye.
Calde said the FPIC process for a 52 MW hydropower project of the San Lorenzo Ruiz and Developers Group, Inc could not continue due to unsettled opposition and protests of some indigenous people and land owners.
He said, the NCIP will facilitate another round of consultations in order for the proponent and the opposition to come to terms and that would be another story.
“In the meantime, the opposition can come up with their list of demands to be presented to the proponent,” he said.
Calde also said that there are those in the opposition who just do not want the project to push through even if it is a run-off-the-river kind of hydropower plant.
Last year, Kalinga elders submitted a petition of protest to the 52MW hydroelectric dam project. Signatories include members of the Naneng, Dallak and Minanga sub tribes and the residents of sitio Banat, Bagumbayan who have lands directly affected by the proposed project.
Engr. Jonas Azuelo of San Lorenzo Builders said they are now coordinating with the NCIP Kalinga on how to proceed given the set back.
The said hydropower project are among the projects that the Cordillera People’s Alliance-Kalinga chapter have protested against as early as 2016. The other hydropower projects include a 37MW hydropower project along the Tanudan River and a 17MW along the Pasil River which CPA claimed were also projects of the San Lorenzo Builders with its local counterpart Kalinga Hydro, Inc..
But Azuelo said the 37MW and 17MW are not theirs.
It can be recalled that Kalinga tribes were the staunchest oppositors to the World-Bank funder Chico River dams in the 1980s. Among the Kalinga elders who led the opposition, Macliing Dulag is regarded a Cordillera hero and is included in the list of the country’s heroes in the Bantayog ng mga Bayani.
While the present proposed hydropower projects are “different” from those proposed in the 1980s, opposition to these present hydropower plants are still related to the historic opposition once led by tribal elders like Macliing Dulag. # nordis.net