BAGUIO, Philippines – Kalinga indigenous communities have urged the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to immediately act on their petition to nullify the free, prior, and informed consent certificate granted to JBD Water Power Incorporated (JWPI) for its 45-megawatt hydroelectric power generation project in Kalinga province.
The project is planned along the Saltan River, which runs through the towns of Pinukpuk and Balbalan in the province.
The Limos indigenous communities, which claim ancestral domain over the affected area, filed a petition before the NCIP in the Cordillera Administrative Region in November 2022, opposing the project.
They urged the NCIP to declare JWPI’s free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) null and void, saying it was secured amid strong opposition from the indigenous peoples’ group.
An FPIC document is being issued to certify that the right of indigenous peoples to be consulted and give their consent to any decision or action that may affect their rights, lands, territories, and resources has been respected.
A recent letter they sent to NCIP-CAR regional director Atanacio Addog read, “We once again seek your appropriate action on our petition opposing the proposed Saltan D and Saltan E hydropower project of the JWPI within our ancestral domain of Pinukpuk and Balbalan.”
They said the company has proceeded with the construction project plans despite the unresolved petition.
Elma Tuazon, the representative of a Kalinga-based coalition of communities opposing the project, told Rappler on Tuesday, March 14, the indigenous communities have not given their consent for the project.
The coalition includes the Limos community and Sumkad ti Umili para ti Matagoan, Karbengan, Aglawlaw, Daga ken Dayaw known as SUMKADD.
“We have petitioned against these dam projects along the Saltan River since 2022. We are reiterating our opposition to these proposed dam projects,” Tuazon said.
Pinukpuk’s municipal government previously declared its opposition to the project via resolution, and the adjoining Poswoy community issued a resolution of non-consent for the Saltan dam.
The dam would affect the domains of the Limos, Poswoy, and Dao-angan communities, and only the Dao-angan consented to the project.
JWPI was awarded three projects by the energy department. These are the Saltan E, the 49-MW Saltan D dam, and the 40-MW Mabaca dam along Cal-oan river.
All three projects are currently in the pre-development stage. – Rappler.com
Angel Castillo is an Aries Rufo Journalism fellow.
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