NCIP defers decision on Apayao dam project

NCIP defers decision on Apayao dam project

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Artemio Dumlao (Philstar.com) – August 12, 2021 – 7:15pm

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — Pan Pacific Renewable Power Philippines Corp.’s application for a Certification Precondition for its proposed 150-megawatt Gened 1 Dam hangs in uncertainty.

This after the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples this week deferred action on the application while also taking into account reported irregularities in obtaining the government-required villagers’ nod.

A Certification Precondition is a document from the NCIP that states that an area that will be affected by a proposed project does not overlap ancestral domain. Projects on ancestral domain meanwhile cannot be allowed without Free Informed Prior Consent from affected IP communities.

After hours of deliberation between and among the seven Ethnographic Commissioners, the NCIP sitting en banc prolonged or suspended PPRPPC’s application to build Gened1 Dam within the Ancestral Domain of the Isnag Indigenous Peoples of Kabugao and Pudtol towns in Apayao.  

Alleged irregularities in the conduct of the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) process prompted the deferral following two separate readings of the FPIC report by commission en banc.

Isnag Jann Alexis Lappas, who participated in the deliberations maintained there were inconsistencies in the observance of the FPIC process as enshrined in the NCIP Administrative Order 3 series of 2012.

He claimed that the proposed dam was rejected three times by the Isnags but that this was covertly overturned “through the maneuvers of few individuals”.  He cited an earlier activity held inside a hotel in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan that is outside their Ancestral Domain.

Lappas insisted that the holding of such consultation outside the Ancestral Domains targeted for development projects is against FPIC guidelines.

He also said that the Isnag IPs registered their second rejection on September 2019 and affirmed their first rejection setting aside the decision made in Tuguegarao City, Cagayan.

Lappas said that, in December 2019, another activity was organized by Kabugao Municipal Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) John Antony at Barangay Badduat, Kabugao where the second rejection was overturned.

“We questioned the authority of the ‘so-called’ authorized elders [and] leaders because we don’t recall any assemblies from our barangays or activities called for the purpose. Most of our fellow Isnags don’t recall signing any community resolutions delegating our authority or right to consent, negotiate and sign documents to a selected few,” Lappas added.

NCIP Chairperson Allen Capuyan directed NCIP-Cordillera to comply with the findings of the NCIP Legal Affairs Office and the Ancestral Domains Office before the Commission can again take cognizance of the CP application of PPRPPC.  

The proposed 150-MW Gened Dam is feared to displace IP communities and cause irreversible damage to the ecosystem and biodiversity within the Kabugao and Pudtol Ancestral Domains.   

The 150-MW Gened Dam is the smallest dam application within Apayao, aside from applications for the 335-MW Gened 2 Dam, 191-MW Aoan Dam, and 170-MW Calanasan Dam.



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