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IFC provided finance to the SN Aboitiz company to privatize and rehabilitate two hydroelectric power plants –Ambuklao-Binga Hydroelectric - owned by the National Power Corporation (NPC). In June 2008, members of the Ibaloi indigenous community and residents of Sitio Binga, Barangay Tinongdan, Municipality of Itogon, located in the vicinity of the power plants, lodged a complaint with the CAO. The complainants expressed the following concerns:
1. Displacement of Indigenous Peoples and deprivation of property, land and livelihoods of local communities;
2. Access to jobs and economic opportunities for local community members.
Members of the Ibaloi Indigenous community were displaced over 50 years ago by development of the original hydropower project. The group still refers to themselves as the ‘displaced peoples’. Privatization of the power facilities awakened historical tensions within the community and a desire to seek redress for what they believe are wrongs of the past.
The CAO conducted an assessment and released a preliminary stakeholder report in July 2008. After review and consultation on the report, the parties reached an agreement for a facilitated dialogue process. The dialogue process was open and inclusive, involving representatives from the indigenous communities, the Barangay captains, municipal councilors, the provincial governor, the National Power Corporation and its privatized entity known as PSALM, as well as the SN Aboitiz company. The process started with a training program to build skills and trust between the parties for interest-based negotiation and dialogue. This process identified key issues of priority for all the parties.
Case Status: Open
The parties signed a final agreement in May 2009. This agreement contained provisions for:
Access to land and usufruct rights for communities over communal property including village infrastructure, facilities, and some houses that were made available as a result of the privatization process;
Local benefits flowing from corporate social responsibility funds and local government revenues as a result of the project;
Enhanced livelihood opportunities for local people through the government (NPC) watershed development and protection programs. In addition, SN Aboitiz has made provision for local employment and benefits through contracts for goods and services.
CAO Case Story Page: http://www.cao-ombudsman.org/cases/case_detail.aspx?id=85