Mayor seeks talks with Tuba dads anew

BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan appealed to the Tuba municipality council to “reconsider their stand against the city” on the operation of the city’s Asin mini-hydroelectric plants and suggested the rescheduling of their earlier botched dialogue to thresh out the issues.

In a letter to the Tuba sanggunian members headed by Vice Mayor Clarita Sal-ongan, the mayor asked the body to name a neutral venue and expressed hopes for their “benevolent response.”

In the letter, the mayor presented facts surrounding the issues to, according to him, enlighten the Tuba officialdom on the true circumstances and avert a dispute between the two local governments.

He expressed hopes that the facts would also guide their Tuba counterparts on deciding on the city’s operation of its hydro facilities along the Asin River system.

The mayor said Tuba residents would benefit from the activation of the flume lines and the payment of the rental fees to residents whose lands are affected by the pipelines and plant facilities.

Just last January, Tuba councilor Roger Kitma pushed for the settlement of the rental issue as it, along with the continued lack of “mutually beneficial activities in the area” have caused the residents’ restiveness and even prompted their filing the opposition to the city’s plan to revive the plants.

Prompted by Kitma’s letter, the mayor 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.

On the issue of Goldlink’s hydroelectric projects, the mayor said it was Goldlink that reneged on its promise not to jeopardize the operation of the city’s own hydros as attested by the Department of Energy (DOE) in a letter dated December 14, 2015.

The DOE report showed that Goldlink’s proposed facilities in Tadiangan, Sallapan and Nangalisan actually overlap with the city-owned Asin plants 1, 2 and 3, respectively.

DOE said it earlier cautioned Goldlink that the proposed sites in Sallapan and Nangalisan overlap with the Baguio plant 1 and urged the firm to coordinate with the city government.

Instead of coordinating with the city, Goldlink said the project sites are not in conflict with the plant and did not inform the DOE that the said sites actually overlapped with plant 2.

DOE’s findings prompted it to terminate Goldlink’s contracts at Sallapan and Nangalisan.

The mayor said the Goldlink’s lawyer’s manifestation before the Tuba town in a letter that the city’s “intended transfer and utilization of water resources covered by three water permits in the name of the Baguio Water District impairs the development and operation of Goldlink’s (Projects)” is misleading.

Domogan said the said lawyer was not present when Tuba mayor Florencio Bentrez and Goldlink’s William Go guaranteed to him that the Goldlink project will in no way affect the city’s hydro facilities.

“Please note, whatever the City now presented are not motivated by greed, the City not being a regular corporation interested only in making money with the occasion façade of concern to your affected constituents. On the other hand, we are doing our level best to comply with the promises we made to them,” the mayor said./Aileen P. Refuerzo


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