City still finding ‘win-win’ solution to Asin hydro operation

The local government continues to explore the needed ‘win-win’ solution to thresh out issues and concerns that cropped up while the winning developer, Kaltimex Energy Philippines, was conducting its own due diligence prior to the prosecution of the agreement.

Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said that the local government scheduled a dialogue between concerned local officials and authorized representatives of the energy corporation with the hope they will appear to put an end to the current impasse for the immediate operation of the city-owned power plants.

“We will try to settle things at our level because we do not want to go to court just to settle the issues and concerns because these will surely take some time for the same to be resolved. We want the Asin minihydro power plants to be operational the soonest that is why we want everyone to be resolved through continuous dialogue among the involved parties,” Domogan stressed.

The local chief executive also directed some of the members of the local government’s legal team and technical personnel to serve to the corporation the confiscation of its performance bond it posted amounting to over P15 million for violation of the contract, particularly the provision requiring the development to start within six months from the confirmation of the contract, entered into between the city and the qualified winning bidder.

He said that the local government is simply complying with the provisions of the contract that was signed by both parties over three years ago but it took the local legislative body more than a year to confirm the agreement which allowed the corporation to also find reason to identify the pressing issues related to land problems, unpaid share of the indigenous peoples among other issues that cropped up, which must be addressed prior to the implementation of the proposed rehabilitation and upgrading of the power plants.According to him, the best option that will be undertaken by the involved parties is for local officials and company representatives to discuss the matter together so that doable solutions could be identified and implemented while complicated problems will have to be reviewed, assessed and evaluated on what strategies to be done for the eventual realization of the operation of the minihydro power plants.

Baguio City is the only local government in the country that owns renewable energy plants like the Asin minihydro power plants which was built during the American period and the plants are still useful to date.

Domogan added the local government is also interested to continue talking with the indigenous peoples (IPs) in the area whose properties will be affected by the proposed rehabilitation and upgrading of the city-owned power plants because the IPs deserve to be provided with their due share from whatever proceeds that will be generated once the power plants will operate. However, if the plants will remain to be out of operation, the IPs will not be provided with whatever will be the agreed share. The Asin minihydro power plans are located in sin, Nangalisan, Tuba, Benguet, the host community of the power plants entitled to  share from the operation of the power generation plants once it will be rehabilitated and upgraded through the partnership of the local government and interested private developer. -  Dexter A. See