December 9, 2022

Apayao has welcomed the creation of a multi-sectoral consultative council (MCC) that will ensure transparency in all activities relative to the proposed hydro dam projects in the landlocked province.
The council will work on establishing transparency and a culture of feedback and dialogue among its people on matters related to the proposed 150-megawatt (MW) Gened-1, Gened2, Calanasan, and Aoan projects.
Pudtol and Calanasan have agreed to form the council to serve as a consultative body with recommendatory functions, with Kabugao expected to follow suit. It will be tasked to look into the details of renewable energy project proposals and recommend modifications as needed. 
The MCC will involve as many sectors and constituents as possible in the discussion to ensure an enlightened and transparent free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) process.
“In line with the government’s thrust to push for transparency, we welcome the council as we see their value in contributing to the inclusion and empowerment of our constituents. This initiative allows their voices to be heard and contributes to a better understanding of the intricacies of the progress and development projects in Apayao,” Gov. Eleanor Begtang said.
A member of the council has said confusion about the Gened-1 hydro power project over its extended six-year FPIC process has created discord in the community.  
This may have been avoided with the presence of a functioning body to help facilitate the process and make it easier for elders of the indigenous peoples (IPs) to give their informed consent.
“We are aware that our IP elders, who sat in the project negotiation and who are tasked to make the decision to consent, are respected for their wisdom but they also value the sound advice of their elected leaders, the professionals, and religious leaders on matters that are sometimes technical and complex, such as the design and operation of dam projects. The council will provide this support,” said Rudy Castillo, the Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative of Pudtol.
Apayao residents can benefit further from the council’s creation since it will give the bigger community of the ancestral domain a voice and relevance in the negotiation and will erase doubts that consent was involuntarily given.
The 150-MW Gened-1 hydro power plant will be built in Kabugao and Pudtol over a five-year construction period covering 936 hectares or one percent of the total area of Kabugao. – Harley F. Palangchao