Domogan seeks dialogue anew with Tuba officials

BAGUIO CITY – The local government unit (LGU) of Baguio City is steadfast in reaching out to the officials of Tuba, Benguet to find possible solutions in the operation of the Asin Mini-hydro Electric Plants.

The plants are owned by the city but are located in Tuba, Benguet.

Attempts were made for the officials of Baguio City and Tuba to meet before the campaign period but never materialized due to conflict of schedules.

Re-electionist Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan on Thursday said a dialogue with the Tuba officials was necessary to be able to reach a possible “win-win” solution to revive the operations of the Asin Mini-hydro Plants.

The Tuba Municipal Council passed Resolution Numbered 34, series of 2016 supporting the opposition of the affected communities to the transfer of water permits from the Baguio Water District (BWD) to the City of Baguio and the intended revival of the operation of the Asin hydro power plants and urging the Department of Energy (DOE) not to issue any permit to the City of Baguio, or to any entity for the renewed operation of the Asin Mini-hydro power plants and to cancel the mini-hydro operating contract granted to HEDCOR Inc.

The Baguio City government bid out the privatization of the Asin mini-hydro power plants, which was awarded to Kaltimex Energy Philippines but the contract for the eventual operation of the power plants was still pending confirmation before the Baguio City Council.

Domogan said he would continue to initiate dialogues between city and municipal officials so that issues and concerns being raised against the renewed operation of the city-owned power plants would be immediately addressed.

The city government took over the operation and maintenance of the Asin minihydro power plants in 2006 but the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) ordered the local government to cease and desist from operating the power plants because it did not possess the required certificate of compliance from the regulatory body to operate the said power plants.

Early in May, Domogan appealed to the Tuba officials to “reconsider their stand against the city” on the operation of the city’s Asin mini-hydroelectric plants.

In the letter, Domogan presented facts surrounding the issues to enlighten the Tuba officials on the true circumstances and avert a dispute between the two local governments.

Domogan explained that Tuba residents would benefit from the activation of the flume lines and the payment of the rental fees to residents whose lands were affected by the pipelines and plant facilities.

Domogan asked the city council to consider the possibility of waiving the city’s claim for civil damages against the members of the Tadiangan-Nangalisan Hydro Ancestral Landowners Association (TNHALA) for allegedly diverting water supply, disrupting the operation of the plants years ago just to facilitate the payment of the rental fees. PNA/