The Isnag elders and leaders of the Kabugao Ancestral Domain recently issued a community resolution declaring Atty. Marlon P. Bosantog and Atty. Atanacio D. Addog of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples – Cordillera Administrative Region (NCIP-CAR) and personnel of the Pan Pacific Renewable Power Philippines Corporation (PPRPPC) as persona non grata in their ancestral domain.
The group alleged that Bosantog, Addog, and Pan Pacific conspired to make it appear that free and prior informed consent (FPIC) was secured from the Isnags of Kabugao to pave way for the construction of the Gened 1 Hydroelectric Power Project.
The issue started when PPRPPC applied for Certification Precondition (CP) for its proposed 150 MW Gened 1 Mega Dam sometime 2016 and that the same was required to undertake the mandatory Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) activities as reflected in Section 59 of RA 8371, otherwise known as the indigenous Peoples Rights Act (8371).
The resolution reads “the Indigenous Peoples / Indigenous Cultural Communities (IPs/1CCS) and/or Ancestral Domain (AD) holders of Kabugao AD, pursuant to their Community Decision Making process duly validated and affimed the Community Consultative Assembly l on April 7, 2017, rejected the proposed 150 MW Gened 1 by PPRPPC on three separate occasions; 1) February 4, 2019, September 26, 2019 and January 15, 2021.”
“Bosantog and Addog, using their authority as civil servants as NCIP-CAR and members of the Bar, wittingly and feloniously colluded to maneuver in setting-aside and overturning our rejection which resulted to the Memorandum of Agreement supposedly signed by the hand-picked IPs in Kabugao AD they later called as IP Elders/Leaders.”
The resolution alleged taht Bosantog and Addog wittingly used forged Community Resolutions”, unlawfully made to reflect authorization were given by the Kabugao AD holders to the hand-picked IPs, as documents giving authorization to the hand-picked IPs to negotiate, sign the MOA and consent on our behalf of the Kabugao AD holders.”
Nestor Castro, a member of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Review Committee said that several issues raised during the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on Gened 1way back in December 2015 to February 2016 were not addressed.
He said some of the issues that I raised during the review process were “how many households will be displaced by the project” and “the project’s impact on Isnag culture.”
“Since the Isnag depend on the river for their livelihood and lifestyle (e.g. for fishing, transportation, etc.), discuss how those households that may be displaced will be affected by the project,” he said.
“I don’t remember now if these issues have been addressed by Pan Pacific since it has already been five years since our last review meeting,” said Castro.
He however said that the EIA Review Committee, “endorsed the Gened 1 project with the proviso that FPIC should still be secured from the indigenous peoples.”
“So, if it is indeed true that the people’s consent was not secured in a free manner, then this is also a possible ground for the revocation of the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) that was issued for the said project,” he said.
In their resolution “the Isnag IPs/1CCS of Kabugao AD, also known as River-People, would rather let the Apayao River flow freely and the same be inherited by the youth and those Isnag of Apayao yet unborn rather for their enjoyment and appreciation, rather to pass-on an AD buried beneath a reservoir coupled with kilometers-stretched on filth brought by siltation and sedimentation.” CCT