Concerns aired over planned Benguet hydro project
KIBUNGAN, Benguet—Villages along portions of the Amburayan River that strands from Benguet up to La Union may suffer from massive floodings that could lead to the displacement of indigenous peoples from their ancestral domain once the Coheco Badeo Corp. is allowed to push through with its 500-megawatt pump storage hydro project.
This concern was raised by technical personnel who analyzed the conceptual plans presented by the project proponents during the previous conduct of the mandatory free prior and informed consent process in the different barangays here.
They claimed the proposed construction of a 36-hectare lower dam of the facility along the Amburayan River will result in massive diggings and excavations that could lead to massive floodings in various barangays of Kapangan and Sap-daan in Santol, La Union.
“There are numerous rice farms from barangay Gadang in Kapangan downstream to Sapdaan in Santol, La Union which will surely be affected by the diversion of the flow of the river to the lower dam of the pump storage facility that could result in the eventual drying up of the rice paddies and the subsequent deprivation of the IPs from their traditional sources of livelihood,” well-placed sources who asked not to be named said.
They called on the Cordillera office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples to reject the result of the FPIC process in Kibungan and nstead mandate the project proponent to conduct similar FPIC processes in Kapangan and Santol, La Union.
They stressed that portions of ancestral domains of IP communities in the two localities will be directly affected by the project.