Asin hydro landowners need to convince Baguio City Council to waive damage claims

BAGUIO CITY — City Mayor Mauricio Domogan is requesting the Baguio City Council to make an arrangement with landowners affected by the Asin Mini-hydro Electric Plant in Tuba, Benguet in order for the city government to waive its claim for damages against the said landowners.

Domogan said the city government lost PHP2.09 million when the landowners forced to stop the operation of the mini-hydro plant after the city government failed to release the accumulated rentals of their properties amounting to PHP2.7 million.

Domogan, in a meeting with Tuba, Benguet Mayor Ignacio Rivera, said a compromise was reached wherein the latter will ask the landowners to make representation at the Baguio City Council and convince the council members to waive the claims of the LGU Baguio.

“If the Baguio City Council approves to waive the claims of the city against the surface owners, then, they will receive the full amount of the accumulated rentals,” Domogan explained.

“Just imagine how much will go to the surface owners against the claims of Baguio City, they will only divide more or less, PHP600,000 among themselves,” he said.

Domogan added that the only thing that needs to be done is for the surface owners present their intent to the Baguio City Council.

If so approved, he said Baguio City will release the voucher of PHP2.7 million to the landowners.

In the same meeting, Domogan asked Rivera to validate the names of the claimants to avoid confusion among themselves.

Landowners were disappointed over the failure of the LGU Baguio to release to them the accumulated rentals of their properties when the Asin mini-hydropower plant were operational from 2007 to 2012, saying that the city should settle its obligation with them.

Domogan said the accumulated rentals cannot be released to the affected land owners due to the absence of a waiver from the Baguio City Council on the claim of damages by the city government which has been pending for several years now.

The claims of LGU Baguio for damages was an effect of the landowners’ action diverting the flow of water of the Asin River that caused the stoppage of the operations of city-owned power plants for some time. Jojo Lamaria/