Hedcor operation in Bakun stopped as negotiations fail
Efforts at negotiating the terms to allow the continuing operation of three hydro plants owned by Hedcor at Bakun, Benguet have reached an impasse with officials of the latter issuing a closure order due to failure to reach a deal on the sharing agreement with the community and absence of a business permit.
Hedcor has been operating in Bakun for close to 30 years now. It’s memorandum of agreement with the local government unit and the community ended in 2019. The LGU, the community, and the company conducted a series of dialogues to iron out a new deal but failed to come up with an agreement favorable to all parties.
On July 28, the local government of Bakun served the notice to stop operation of the FLS, Lon-oy, and Labay hydro plants.
LGU officials assert Hedcor should not be issued a business permit unless there is a new MOA.
Hedcor, on the other hand, said it will continue to dialogue with the LGU officials and the community even as it filed a petition in court to issue a temporary restraining order. The company also maintains that absence of a MOA in the meantime should not be used as pre-requisite in the issuance of a business permit.
“We would like to reiterate our call to the local government officials of Bakun to return to the dialogue table to discuss the additional meaningful support that we can reasonably provide, over and above what is required of the company as mandated by law,” Hedcor said in a press statement.
“We maintain our position with regards to the business permit – we believe it is a separate matter from the voluntary support, and that we have fulfilled the requirements for the issuance of the business permit. We would like to assure the leaders of Bakun that we are committed to continuing the dialogue for the voluntary share, with the end goal of determining the most meaningful, reasonable, additional support for the constituents of Bakun,” Hedcor added.
Hedcor also warned of the repercussions if the LGU refuses to grant them a permit.
It said that without a business permit, the plants will not be able to operate and generate revenue, which it will use to pay the LGU in the form of taxes and national wealth share, local employment, income for landowners, provide assistance for infrastructure, education, health, environmental and livelihood.
The company also pointed out that it would not be able to generate renewable energy to the grid if the LGU continues to withhold issuance of its business permit.
Hedcor has 35 employees operating and maintaining the plants. – Rimaliza A. Opiña