TAGUIG CITY — Affected communities, environmental advocates and the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) took to the streets of Bonifacio Global City on October 13, 2016 to decry SN Aboitiz Power Group (SNAP)’s 350-MW hydroelectric project in Ifugao.
In a protest action in front of SNAP’s offices here as part of the Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya, Ifugao leaders deemed the project as “greedy” and “unjust.”
According to the Ancestral Domain Claimants of Eastern Lagawe (ANCEL), SNAP’s hydro project will cover ancestral lands of the Ayangan tribe in Ifugao.
The hydropower complex composed of three facilities: the 100-MW Alimit plant, the 240-MW pumped-storage facility, and the 10-MW Olilicon plant, will traverse nine villages in Lagawe and Lamut towns in the province.
Without due consultation
Rebecca Bumahit of ADCEL exclaimed during the protest action that the power group failed to consult with the rightful owners of the affected lands. “[SN Aboitiz] only consults with those who are for you, those who are after the money,” she said.
Former Ifugao governor Denis Habawel required SNAP in 2014 to secure the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of 80 villages in the province before pushing through with the project. However, according to Bumahit, the company failed to explain the technicalities and negative implications of the hydropower complex to the residents.
Pressure on DENR
Bumahit also mentioned that the power group is pressuring the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to issue SNAP an Environmental Compliance Certificate even if the FPIC process is not yet completed.
According to her, the feasibility study presented by SNAP did not include clear-cut measures for the mitigation of the hydro project’s environmental impact. “Hindi pa klaro yung mga hinihingi naming impormasyon na dapat nasa feasibility studies,” she said.
The process being done by SNAP, she narrated, is confusing since questions from the affected tribes were not documented.
“You [SN Aboitiz] better stop the FPIC process because until now after being consulted, they [the indigenous pepoples] do not understand what has been presented to them,” she said.
Two years in the making
SNAP’s Ifugao project started in 2014 after the Department of Energy awarded and signed a renewable energy contract with the company. #
Ifugao Peasant Movement