August 22, 2014

 “Nasaor, saan mi naawatan ken naapura kami iti panagpirma mi iti MOA. (We were deceived, we did not understand and we were rushed in signing the MOA)” – Teofilo Wenhay, Barangay Captain of Eheb, Tinoc, Ifugao.

The Cordillera Peoples Alliance supports the decision of the indigenous peoples of Eheb and Tokucan in Tinoc, Ifugao in retracting their signatures in the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Quadriver Energy Corporation. Quadriver intends to operate a hydro project that will affect the said communities. Quadriver Energy Corp. is a joint venture between Ayala-controlled AC Energy and Sta. Clara Power Corp.

According to Abigail Anongos, CPA Secretary General, “The Kalanguya indigenous peoples of Eheb and Tokucan retracted and withdrew their signatures in the MOA with the Quadriver Energy Corporation due to the company and the National Commission on Indigenous People’s disregard of the people’s Free, Prior and Informed Consent.”

The Kalanguya indigenous communities of Eheb and Tokucan claim that the MOA they signed with the Quadriver is marked with irregularities, manipulation and railroading of the Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC). They also said the NCIP-Ifugao including most of the municipal officials and employees have ushered them into this mess instead of protecting their right to freely decide on the project.   

In their petition letter submitted to the Chairperson of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Atty. Leonor Quintayo, dated August 10, 2014, the Kalanguya indigenous peoples of Tokucan listed 12 violations by the NCIP and the Quadriver. Among these violations are: “the MOA was not written in their own language; the MOA was notarized even without  the names and signature of their elders; most Tinoc municipal officials and employees pressed the people from the affected communities to sign the MOA; and  Quadriver ignored their clamor for further explanation and renegotiation of the project.”

Meanwhile, the people in barangay Eheb, Tinoc cited 15 reasons of their non-consent on the proposed mini hydro project by the Quadriver. Among these complaints are: “the mini hydro project brought disunity among the people; the project will affect their vegetable gardens, rice fields; Quadriver never listened to the request of affected IPs in rerouting the tunnels and conveyance that will destroy burial grounds; Quadriver did not fully divulge the affected areas; blatant intervention of most municipal officials; and the NCIP never listened to the opposition of the people.”

“In the MOA with Eheb, Quadriver is only to pay a royalty of 0.005 centavos. This amount is an insult and totally unacceptable to the indigenous peoples of Eheb. Quadriver has no right to impose such unacceptable centavo to the community who nurtured and protected the land and natural resources with much respect since time immemorial,” added Anongos.  

In their petition letters, the communities of Eheb and Tokucan demand for the immediate stoppage and cancellation of the proposed project because of the violations committed by the NCIP and the company.

CPA deplores these violations committed by the NCIP and the Quadriver against the indigenous peoples of Tinoc. Once again, the brazen involvement of the NCIP in favoring Quadriver over the indigenous communities, and in manipulating the FPIC of the affected communities is a crime against the indigenous people whom they are supposed to protect.

For CPA and the communities of Eheb and Tokucan, this is unacceptable. The NCIP and the Quadriver must be held accountable to the FPIC violations in Tinoc.

 

For reference:

 Abigail Anongos, CPA Secretary General

 

Teofilo Wenhay, Barangay Captain, Eheb

 

Joseph Calabson, Barangay Captain, Tokucan

 

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