Ilagan, Isabela—The local government unit hosting the 19.7-megawatt Ilaguen Hydro Power Project in Barangay San Miguel in Echague town has signed an agreement for various infrastructure projects with Rio Norte Hydropower Corp.
Rio Norte is a subsidiary of Citicore Power Inc., a renewable energy company.
Isabela Governor Faustino “Bojie” Dy III and son, Echague Mayor Francisco “Kiko” Dy, who represented the provincial and municipal LGUs who have jurisdiction over the project site, inked the deal with Rio Norte executives led by Executive Vice President Manolo Candelaria at the capitol building on Tuesday.
Also present during the signing is Barangay San Miguel Chairman Efren Santiago, representing the host community.
“This hydro project is a welcome development in our municipality, as it is expected to bring down the cost of electricity for my constituents as well as generate a host of beneficial programs,” said Mayor Dy.
It is not clear, however, if the host communities will get cheaper electricity, as the dam’s power output will be sold to the Isabela Electric Cooperative, which is the only authorized electricity retailer in the area.
The agreement covered the development of the Mabbayad-San Miguel access road in Echague into an all-weather road.
The other benefits packaged in the hydro project include the development of eco-tourism sites and real property taxes accruing to the host barangay, municipal and provincial LGUs.
“We will upgrade the existing provincial road from Barangay Mabbayad to Barangay San Miguel into an all-weather-road that will extend into a municipal road going toward the majestic Ilaguen River,” said Atty. Clarence Jandoc, the company’s Vice President for Legal and Government Affairs.
The hydropower plant design is a run-of-river type that uses a weir ― a low-height dam built across a river to raise the level of water upstream or regulate its flow ― to minimize its environmental footprint.
Asked how the project will affect the fragile ecosystems of the Sierra Madre Mountain Ranges, Jandoc said “the company has undertaken studies to mitigate environmental impacts.”
“It produces nearly no greenhouse emissions,” Jandoc assured.