By Nicole J. Managbanag
RESIDENTS in Mindanao may soon get a relief from the rotating brownouts as the proposed US$900 million Pulangi 5 Hydro-electric power plant project will kick off soon.
Engineer Cerael C. Donggay, president of Greenergy Development Corp. and over-all manager of Pulangi 5 hydropower plant project, said pre-development of the project is almost finished, costing US$27 million, after which construction of the 350-megawatt dam would follow.
"The project is seen to provide long term renewable energy resources that would benefit all people of Mindanao, even those indigenous peoples (IPs) who will be affected by the project," Donggay said.
He said investors are already starting to pour in their investments. Among these are the Zhe Jiang Corporation of China and Applied Engineering Services based in the United States.
The Pulangi 5 Hydro-electric power plant, a joint project of Greenergy Development Corporation and First Bukidnon Electric Service Cooperative (Fibeco), will source its water from the Pulangi River, considered as one of the tributaries of the Rio Grande of Mindanao. It has a length of 320 kilometers from its source in Barangay Kalabugao, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon, which is the longest river in Bukidnon, and traversing majority of its cities and municipality.
The project, Donggay said, is seen to provide much cheaper generation cost at only P4/kwh. It is expected to affect at least 22 barangays, five municipalities and two provinces in Bukidnon and Cotabato.
Donggay said residents in the affected barangays would be given benefits such as job opportunities, agricultural and livelihood training, and provision of free seedlings of rubber, coffee, abaca fruits and bamboo.
"The affected family will continue to till the land that they already sold for the project and harvest their crops while establishing their new farms during the project's construction period, which is five to six year," Donggay said.
Aside from this, he added that residents would also be given supplementary income for duck production and tourism-related job opportunities.
Donggay added the project would also construct an IP Cultural Center and a training center for the IPs, provide scholarships to deserving IP students, construct health clinics and "botika sa barangay, among other programs.
Last year, the project team already conducted a series of orientation to each affected barangay and invited IP tribal leaders and families for a visit to the existing hydro-power plant projects in Maramag, Bukidnon for them to personally see the benefits of the project.
As of present, Donggay said 18 barangays have already given their consent to the project.
*Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 2, 2010