Five ancestral domains agree to geo-exploration
TABUK, Kalinga (28 April) -- Five of seven ancestral domains within the municipalities of Tinglayan and Pasil recently gave their Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) to the joint venture of Aragorn Power and Energy Corporation (APEC) and Guidance Management Corporation (GMC) for geothermal exploration.
In an interview with Raquel Maling of the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) Provincial Office, she disclosed that the indigenous peoples of Colayo, Balatoc and Guina-ang of Pasil and Sumadel and Bangad of Tinglayan gave their nod to the APEC-GMC after a series of consultation.
Tulgao rejected the offer while people from Dananao have yet to make a decision.
Taking advantage of the opportunity to air their concerns during the consultation, Colayo and Guina-ang of Pasil made known their preliminary demands from the APEC and GMC as conditions for agreeing to have the company explore their lands for possible sources of geothermal energy, Maling related.
Among the demands are the construction of a geothermal plant, a mini-hydro, multi-purpose pavement, communal irrigation system, provision of scholarships, communication facilities and several others.
The FPIC, which is the consensus of all members of said indigenous communities, will allow the two companies to only explore possible sources for geothermal energy as a natural source of electricity.
“Another consultation and FPIC is again required before any operation will be allowed,” Maling explained clarifying that said companies could not automatically conduct operation, since the current FPIC is only for exploration purposes.
According to the Geothermal Handbook by the GMC, geothermal plants are not only environmentally friendly but it is also advantageous in enhancing the economy being a reliable source of power. Its present output has also displaced at least 92 million barrels of imported fuel a year or about P5 billion saving every year, which can be used to boost the local economy.
Local governments could also get 40% share of geothermal royalty from the plant, apart for other taxes and creation of jobs and business opportunities. (ggd/PIA-Kalinga) [top]