The Bakun Indigenous Tribe Organization (BITO) has issued a Resolution of Non-consent to operate for our hydro power plants in Bakun. Having been in the community for thirty (30) years, we are saddened by this turn of events. From 2017, we, together with the BITO, and guided by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), have gone through a successful Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) process, which resulted in the issuance of the Certificate of Consent, and consequently, a signed FPIC-Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) in October 2019.
This process is time-tested and it involves securing the consent of the entire Indigenous People community in Bakun. We understand from the resolution that this has been triggered by the Petition for Certiorari that the company had to file with the Court, to protect our plants from being unduly shut down.
It is our hope that the community understands that the Company has been left with no choice but to file the petition, given the threat to shut down our operations by March 31, 2021, was issued by
the Municipality while the dialogue for the new MOA on a voluntary shares with the LGU is ongoing.
It is our firm position that the negotiations for a new commercial MOA for additional shares is not a requirement for a Business Permit, and this has been supported in the opinions issued by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). In the spirit of fairness, we find that a free and reasonable commercial negotiation is not possible with the undue threat to our operations brought about by the withholding of our Business Permit.
We would like to continue to be Bakun’s partner for progress for a long time. We appeal to our BITO leaders to support us in continuing the processing of our Certification Precondition (CP), so that we can commence the benefit sharing as agreed in the MOA. Moreso, we hope that the Bakun LGU will grant the renewal of Business Permit to continue our operation and sustain our relationship with the best interest of the entire Bakun community during this pandemic.
Hedcor remains committed to supporting the Bakun community, the same way we are providing our other host communities across the country with benefits that are reasonable and sustainable.