Davao Sur folks see blessings in P5.1B Sibulan Hydro Project
Davao City (26 February) -- Host communities see many "blessings" in the P5.1-billion 42.5-megawatt (MW) Sibulan Hydropower Project in barangay Sibulan. Sta. Cruz town, Davao del Sur.
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's scheduled visit at the hydropower project today (Thursday) will serve to stress further not only the hydropower project's economic benefits but also its environmental friendly dimensions and contribution to initiatives designed to address the threats posed by global warming.
Sibulan barangay chairperson Lydia Ang said "We have been so blessed with the arrival of Hedcor." She and her five children are among the 250 families who rely on farming for their daily subsistence.
Hedcor, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aboitiz Ventures, is constructing the environment-friendly designed hydropower plant that will have no dam structures and requires only the steady water flow of the Sibulan and Baroring Rivers to operate and convert the energy of the two rivers to electric power.
Since work on the project started in September 2007, Hedcor has been bringing in other projects that benefit host communities in Sta. Cruz town, including more than 44 kilometers of roads and road improvements worth about P250 million.
Barangay Chairperson Ang pointed out that "We used to negotiate a makeshift 10-meter long, one-meter wide bridge to cross the Baroring River which rises to unmanageable levels during the rainy season."
The makeshift bridge has now been replaced by an 8.8-meter sturdy span that also protects a critical section of the Baroring River during heavy rainfall.
Hedcor vice president for Mindanao operations Gregorio Jabonillo said the bridge is among several of their commitments to the host communities.
Their other commitments include rural electrification, water system, medical and educational assistance, employment opportunities and a share from the facility's revenues once the plant become operational in October this year.
Through Hedcor's initiatives, several agreements were formalized with the tribal folks and host communities before construction work on the project was started. The accords identified programs and benefits estimated at around P700 million to accrue to the local population over the life of the agreements.
Sta. Cruz Mayor Joel Ray Lopez, for his part, said the hydropower plant is a welcome development in his municipality as it is projected to contribute some P20 million in tax revenues annually once it becomes operational.
Of the estimated P20 million annual tax revenue from the project, 35 percent will go the municipal government, 20% to the barangays, and the rest to the provincial government.
A Sibulan farmer-resident, Crecencio Miano said he hopes the hydropower plant will alleviate poverty in their area, particularly their Bagobo and Tagabawa tribal folks.
Once operational, the power generated by the facility will be purchased by its sister firm, the Davao Light and Power Company.
Hydropower produces no carbon dioxide or other harmful emissions and therefore does not contribute to global warming unlike burning fossil fuels. Hydroelectric power is also far less expensive compared to electricity generated from fossil fuels or nuclear energy. This is one reason why areas with abundant hydroelectric power easily attract more investments. (PIA) [top]