PGMA visits hydropower plant in Davao del Sur
By Mai Gevera
Davao City (26 February) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is set to visit today the 42.5 megawatt Sibulan Hydropower Plant in Barangay Sibulan, Sta. Cruz municipality, Davao del Sur. The President is expected to personally witness the progress of this soon-to-be completed power project.
This P5.1 billion project is one of the largest investments of the Aboitiz Power in the hydropower generation business.
The run-of-river plant will utilize and harness the Sibulan and Baroring Rivers in the municipality of Sta. Cruz.
Hedcor's VP for Mindanao Operations Gregorio Jabonilla said that the construction schedule is on track for the target completion and start of operation on October, this year.
The company is constructing five drop intakes, more than 16 kilometers of steel conveyance pipes to divert the water from the rivers to the plant.
Also, some 34 kilometers of transmission lines will be put up to connect the plants to a Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) ERA substation.
"We will be generating 212 million kilowatt hours annually and to be distributed by the DLPC down to its customers," said Jabonilla.
DLPC is the 3rd largest privately-owned power distribution utility in the Philippines. The energy generated from the power plant is enough to supply about 294,000 households.
It will benefit DLPC customers in Davao City, Panabo, and municipalities of Carmen, Dujali, and Sto. Tomas of Davao del Norte.
Sta. Cruz Mayor Joel Ray Lopez is taking this investment as the catalyst for further progress in the municipality.
An estimated P700 million contribution will be poured in by the power project into the community as it supports sustainable development.
The local government of Sta. Cruz is expected to reap much from the taxes to be contributed by Hedcor through real property tax at P41 million annually and business tax at P5 million annually.
"This municipality is considered the industrial town of Davao del Sur and with the entry of this new investment, we are optimistic that more businesses will also follow." said Lopez.
Sibulan Barangay Captain Lydia Ang cited new and improved access roads as the major help given to the community by the project. Hedcor improved 45 kilometers totaling to P150 million.
Relying on farming as the residents' main means of living, road access has lightened their burden in transporting goods down to the market.
Local residents, mostly indigenous peoples of the Bagobo and Tagabaoa tribes, are hired to work in the plant.
"Malaki ang tulong na naibigay sa amin lalo na at nabigyan kami ng bagong hanapbuhay at kaalaman," said Ang.
Hedcor is employing more than 1,000 locals for the pre-operation stage and committed to get 50 regular employees as soon as the operation starts.
Also, the project management came up with a watershed management and reforestation program, adopting 1,000 hectares of land within the Mt. Apo Natural Park and had it planted with trees.
Rural electrification, potable water supply, scholarship, and medical mission are also part of the corporate social commitments made by the company for the community. (PIA XI) [top]