June 20, 2024

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – For failing to pay the Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) fee within seven days, the Electronic Virtual One Stop Shop (EVOSS) system denied the certification precondition application of Polaris Power Development Corporation (PPDC) for its proposed 1.2 MW Payeo Hydropower Plant Project within the ancestral domain of Mankayan.

Republic Act 11234 or “An Act Establishing the Energy Virtual One-Stop Shop for the Purpose of Streamlining the Permitting Process of Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution Projects”,prescribes 105 calendar days in the conduct of the FPIC process. These days are disaggregated within the different stages of the FPIC process.

Before the enactment of EVOSS law, certification preconditions are issued only after the favorable consent or FPIC from the indigenous cultural communities/indigenous peoples (ICCs/IPs).    

PPDC is the first and only renewable energy power corporation in the Cordillera that enrolled its proposed project within the EVOSS system.

Based on records, PPDC only surpassed the preliminary stages of field-based investigation (FBI).

The FBI report showed the proposed PHPP overlapped the Mankayan AD and affects the Kankana-ey ICCs/IPs.

With these findings, PPDC was required to undertake the mandatory FPIC process under Section 19 of NCIP Administrative Order 3 2012 or the FPIC Guidelines.

A pre-FPIC conference was done between the NCIP FPIC Team and the representatives of PPDC in July.

The dates and schedules were agreed and set for the different stages of the FPIC process, all of which were written in the FPIC work and financial Plan approved by the PPDC and NCIP.

PPDC was required to deposit the FPIC fee that will be used to defray the logistical expenses in the conduct of the FPIC, which include, among others, supplies, food, and transportation expenses of participants in the series of the community assemblies.

PPDC failed to make the deposit of the FPIC fee that resulted in the denial of its proposed 1.2 MW Payeo Hydropower Plant Project EVOSS.

Under the FPIC guidelines, any project proponents/applicants such as PPDC are allowed to re-apply after six months following the denial of their certification precondition application. – Rocky Ngalob