By SHERWIN DE VERA
BAGUIO CITY — The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) on Thursday, April 4 said that former National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Kalinga provincial officer Natividad Sugguiyao is the one misinforming the people and not the report published by Inquirer.net written by Kimberlie Quitasol.
“It seems that Ms. Sugguiyao is the one who needs to verify facts and read the entire article,” said Windel Bolinget, CPA chairperson.
The former NCIP official, on a Facebook post dated March 19, said the article contains “unverified facts” and “tends to misinform people.”
Northern Dispatch (Nordis) published a similar piece. Both the Inquirer.net and Nordis articles quoted statements made and data supplied by the CPA chair.
“While it may be true that there are only two projects that are currently undergoing the Free Prior and Informed Consent process, we cannot discount the fact that numerous hydropower dam projects have been approved along the river and its tributaries and feeders,” Bolinget explained.
According to him, available documents from the Department of Energy website showed nine approved and two pending hydropower applications as of December 31, 2017 that are located along the Chico River and its tributaries.
The CPA official added that the number is in Kalinga alone and does not even include the eight awarded hydropower projects in Bauko and one in Sabangan that will be situated in one of the tributaries of the Chico River.
Nordis checked his claim with the DOE website and found the following awarded hydropower projects in the said province and towns:
Bolinget urged Sugguiyao to be prudent on commenting on issues instead of hastily making accusations and besmirching a good writer like the author. He underscored that the post showed how misinformed is Sugguiyao, and her failure to read and understand important parts of the article.
“There is nothing in the article that said the Chico River Pump Irrigation Project will affect the irrigation system in Upper Kalinga as claimed by the former NCIP officer. What we are raising is the ability of the system to deliver the volume of water and irrigate the entire projected area, its sustainability, given the current water level of the river especially during summer and if the dam projects will push through,” he said.
According to him, it was clear in the feasibility study and environmental impact statement of the project that the proponents failed to consider the impact of climate change and the dam projects along the river system in projecting water stability.
Based on the technical details, the required volume to irrigate the 8,700 hectares targeted for the facility is nearly equivalent to the lowest discharge of the river recorded in Feb 2013.
“Farmers cultivating lands along the Chico River system are now suffering from drought and insufficient irrigation during summer due to the decreased discharge of the river and its tributaries. In this case, it is doubtful that the CRPIP will be able to supply its target beneficiaries during summer and drought especially if the hydropower projects will push through,” he said.
Bolinget chided Sugguiyao for being “busy finding faults on media reports exposing the flaws of the project while silent on the fact that Chinese contractor have started earth-moving activities for CRPIP while the FPIC is ongoing, in the absence of a Certificate of Precondition from her former office.”
He said being a former NCIP officer of Kalinga, “she is well aware that under the law no construction can proceed without first completing the FPIC process and securing the CP.” # nordis.net