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Judith asks reference contract on hydro project



In a joint meeting last week of the committees on public utilities, energy and transportation (as the lead committee), on environment, on agriculture, fisheries and cultural communities, on tourism and on health, nutrition and health insurance, Councilor James K. Judith II requested the Bukidnon Hydro Energy Corporation to furnish a copy of a reference contract as basis or grounds for the council to adopt a resolution expressing support— and interposing no objection—to the Bulanog Batang-Hydro Project.

The reference contract for the said project should be submitted by the proponent as this shall be included in the undertaking of the joint committees for its final position on the matter, the councilor pointed out.

As presented during the meeting, the proposed project is a run-of-river hydropower project to drive sustainable development via clean energy in the country.

It aims to increase the supply of electricity by installing a 132 MW station with a 120m-high storage dam in the upper catchment of the Cagayan de Oro River, in the northern Bukidnon Province.

The preferred layout for the project comprises an ungated weir structure just downstream of the confluence of Bulanog and Batang rivers, intake, surface desilting basin, 3.8 km tunnel, surge shaft, buried penstock and surface powerhouse.

According to the proponent (Bukidnon Hydro Energy Corp.), no settlers will be displaced specifically where the project components are to be located since it is a purely run-of-river scheme and does not involve any significant pondage nor will it have submerged substantial areas.

The project is also expected to induce flooding since there will be no impounding of water that may either overflow or break or will contribute to flooding. The proponent can also install an Advance Warning Device System that can help the city to monitor water flows and levels, especially during heavy rains.

However, despite the insignificant impact on settlers, the proponent still intends to provide relocation site to accommodate the said settlers in the nearby areas.

Other possible impacts of the project include a possible decrease in stream flow in the curtailed reach due to the water diversion but this may be mitigated through an intensive implementation of tree planting watershed management programs in coordination and partnership with various national and local government units and the communities, The Gavel learned.

The joint committee meeting was presided by Councilor Romeo V. Calizo, as chair of the lead committee, and attended by members of the barangay councils of Tignapoloan and Besigan, White Water Rafting representative and Indigenous People of Besigan.

It was also attended by Councilors Malvern A. Esparcia, Imee Rose P. Moreno, Yevonne Yacine B. Emano, Jose Pepe S. Abbu, Jr. and Agapito Eriberto G. Suan.

The committees will have a follow up meeting on March 16, 2023.

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