Buguias town gets initial support in hydro project agreement

Buguias, the landslide-prone vegetable producing town in Benguet will soon have a payloader for its road-clearing operations, thanks to a joint agreement with the Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco) for the construction of a three megawatt hydroelectric plant in the town.

The Beneco board headed by president Rocky Aliping recently adopted a recommendation of general manager Gerardo Verzosa for the purchase of heavy equipment for the vegetable-producing town.

Buguias officials headed by mayor Robert Tinda-an and vice-mayor Dione Baucas recently asked the electric cooperative to purchase the much-needed equipment, the payment of which shall be deductible from the town's future share from the operation of the mini-hydro being built in the town.

"We are please to inform you that after due consideration, the Honorable Board ( of directors) approved the acquisition of one heavy equipment (payloader) for Buguias local government unit as the cdooperaqtive3's demonstration of good faith to comply with our (agreement) and commitment to develop the 3MWMan-asok Minihydro Generation Plant in your municipality," Aliping wrote the two town officials.

Topping the benefits accruing to the town from the eventual operation of the hydro-plant will be Buguias "co-ownership of the facility being built at Sebang, Buguias to the tune of P451,143,461.

As provided in the agreement, 50 percent of the facility shall be owned by the Buguias starting on the 26th year of operation of the plant.

Aside from co-ownership, Buguias will also receive four additional benefits aside from the mandatory benefits provided under republic Act No. 9513 or Renewable Energy Act of 2006.

"On top of these additional voluntary benefits provided by Beneco is a royalty of P0.2197 per kilowatt-hour to the host community, an item absent in order contracts for hydro generation being implemented in the Cordillera, " noted project staff member Joe Victor Damoslog.

The three other additional voluntary benefits are P0.0689 per kilowatt-hour going to the municipal government, P02197 per kilowatt-hour royalty of indigenous people's organization, P0.0100 per KWH going to corporate social responsibility and P0.0050 per KWH going to a watershed management fund.

The mandatory benefits accruing to Buguias are P0.375 percent of the gross receipts as local business tax; one percent of gross income as government's share/national wealth tax; 10 percent of assessed value of land as special real property tax on land; 1.5 percent of original cost less depreciation as special tax on equipment; P0.01 per kilowatt-hour as financial benefit to host communities; P0.30 per square meter per year as special land use (public land) permit or special use agreement in protected areas if within a protected area; and P4 to P4.60 per square meter per month for private land rental. – Ramon Dacawi.

 
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