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[ Benguet ] Sites turned over to indigenous people


Monday, March 29, 2010 [ sunstar.com.ph ]

By Ma. Elena Catajan

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet -- The local government here and SN Aboitiz Power (Snap)-Benguet have signed an agreement that turns over a part of land near Binga power plant to indigenous people (IP).

Benguet Governor Nestor B. Fongwan said the turnover of the sites can now put the land in good use.

Snap-Benguet Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel V. Rubio said the move will allow residents to use the land while problems related to it are being solved.

The signing was witnessed by Director Amador Batay-an of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Cordillera Region.

The agreement formalizes the use and administration of the Binga national and elementary schools, chapel, day care center, former market building and recreation hall in Marian Village by the indigenous peoples’ community.

These areas used to form part of the hydro power complex managed by NPC for 60 years. In 2008, Snap-Benguet took over the 100-megawatt (MW) Binga power plant after winning the bid held by Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (Psalm).

Fongwan lauded the groups, which participated in the process adding that the IPs are the most important group because of their role in the agreement.

Batay-an said the agreement was the first of its kind with stakeholders agreeing on a communal site through a consultation process.

“This is a concrete example of how stakeholders can be brought together and how the Ipra [Indigenous People’s Rights Act] can be a tool for cooperation and development,” he added.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 30, 2010.

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