REPRESENTATIVES of indigenous communities in Kalinga Province have petitioned the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Cordillera (NCIP-CAR) to nullify the issued free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) for the 45-megawatt (MW) Saltan E Hydroelectric Power Project along the Saltan River that flows through the towns of Pinukpuk and Balbalan in the province.
Members of the Limos indigenous community, who claim ancestral domain over the affected area, sought to have the NCIP-CAR declare JBD Water Power Incorporated’s (JWPI) FPIC for the planned Saltan dam null and void, claiming that it was acquired despite stiff opposition from the Limos community.
Late last year in November, the Limos community, during the FPIC process, filed a petition before the NCIP-CAR opposing the project, but remains without action to this day.
“We once again seek your appropriate action on our petition opposing the proposed Saltan D and Saltan E hydro power project of the JWPI within our ancestral domain of Pinukpuk and Balbalan,” the Limos community’s letter to NCIP-CAR Regional Director Atanacio Addog reads, adding that JWPI is moving forward with their construction plans even as the petition remains unresolved.
Elma Tuazon, representative of the Limos community and Sumkad ti Umili para ti Matagoan, Karbengan, Aglawlaw, Daga ken Dayaw (SUMKADD), a Kalinga-based environmental coalition, said that the community has not given their go signal for the project.
“We have petitioned against these dam projects along the Saltan River since 2022. We are reiterating our opposition to these proposed dam projects,” Tuazon said.
The municipal government of Pinukpuk also previously declared their opposition to the project via a resolution, and the adjoining Poswoy community also issued a Resolution of Non-Consent for the Saltan dam. The dam would affect the domains of the Limos, Poswoy and Dao-angan communities, and only the Dao-angan has consented to the project.
The Saltan E dam is one of three dam projects awarded by the Department of Energy (DOE) to JWPI. Alongside Saltan E, the 49-MW Saltan D dam and the 40MW Mabaca dam along Cal-oan river are also in the pre-development stage.