BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan urged the management of Kaltimex Energy Philippines to fulfil its contractual obligations with the local government to pursue the rehabilitation and upgrading of the city-owned Asin hydropower plants for the city to maximize its economic gains from the eventual operation of the renewable energy plants located within the jurisdiction of Tuba, Benguet.
The local chief executive said that he already talked with Tuba Mayor Ignacio Rivera to thresh out the issues and concerns of the indigenous peoples and the municipal government that need to be addressed in future meetings to be called for the purpose of ironing out problems from the past regarding the operation of these facilities.
“We are scheduling a meeting with Kaltimex officials to inform them of the city government’s position that the company must immediately start fulfilling its contractual obligations under the confirmed contract so that the power plants will operate after their rehabilitation,” Domogan stressed.
He added reliable information from the City Legal Office showed that the application for water rights of another hydro developer over the Asin River was reportedly denied by the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) that is why one of the issues raised by Kaltimex has been addressed.
On the reported unpaid claims of the affected land owners, he disclosed the local legislative body already waived the city’s counterclaim over the accumulated rentals supposed to be paid by the local government to the landowners amounting to P2.7 million and what is just being awaited by the city is the legitimate list of land owners who deserve to be compensated.
Domogan pointed out the local government is willing to extend whatever assistance to the winning contractor but it must also start complying with its contractual obligations with the city so that there will be a harmonious working relationship between it and the local government.
Earlier, Kaltimex signified its intention to pursue the rehabilitation and upgrading of the city-owned Asin hydropower plants, provided that the local government extend the needed assistance for the immediate resolution of existing legal claims over the power plants to guarantee the peaceful turnover of the power plants to the company before it starts complying with its contractual obligations.
Under the agreement signed between the local government and Kaltimex in 2014, the company is mandated to pay to the city P18 million upon the confirmation of the contract as its performance bond representing 3 percent of the total cost of the rehabilitation of the power plants.
The local legislative body confirmed the contract between the local government and Kaltimex only last month after two years of pendency. /By Dexter A. See#