By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — Isnag tribal elders rejected the proposed construction of a hydro power plant with in their ancestral domain and signed a resolution of no consent during the consensus building meeting facilitated by the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) in Poblacion village, Kabugao town Apayao province on Feb 4.
“We the members of the Tribal Leaders/Elders representing the Isnag Tribe of the Ancestral Domain of Kabugao, Apayao, having understood the purposes, processes, benefits, advantages and disadvantages of the project in relation to our life, and our community, hereby give our “no consent” to the proposed construction of a 150 Mega Watts Electric-Hydro Power by Pan Pacific Renewable Power Philippines Corporation within our Ancestral Domain,” states the resolution of no consent the tribal elders signed.
“This resolution of “no consent” reflects the free consensus or decision of all the members of the Indigenous Cultural Community/Indigenous Peoples within the ancestral domain of Kabugao, Apayao and this decision came from our heart and understanding,” the resolution added.
During the consensus building, each tribal elder was asked to state whether they want the project or not and explain their position. Forty eight of the elders said they do not want the project because it would destroy their land while 33 said “yes” but for further negotiation and study of the proposed dam.
“This project will give nothing to us but disturbance and my final answer in no,” said Warling Maludon, an elder from Waga village.
Another elder who stood against the project, Elder Reynold Talimbatog said that he has already opposed the project even during a January 25 community meeting because he cannot see how the project would benefit the community.
“What I can see is how this investor will submerge or totally destroy the directly affected area,” he added.
“I do not care about electricity if they will destroy my land,” said Artemio Sibay, another elder from Waga village.
Pan Pacific Renewable Power Philippine Corp. is among the companies who benefited from the $3 billion credit clinched in 2016 during President Rodrigo Duterte state visit to China. One of the largest state-ran financial institution, the Bank of China, funded the deal. # nordis.net