Erring power plant in Tabuk City shut down over unmet farmers complaints

Tabuk City officials are shutting down an erring hydroelectric power plant taking cue from farmers lingering complaints for a year now.

City mayor Darwin Estranero approving the tact of the Tabuk City Sangguniang Panlungsod ordered Monday morning the temporary suspension of the business permit of the 1 megawatt (1MW) Bulanao Hydro Electric Power Plant (BHEPP) operating at the main canal of the Upper Chico River Irrigation System (UCRIS) in Bulanao, in that capital city. “Vox populi, vox dei (the voice of the people is the voice of God),” Mayor Estranero said, adding, the Tabuk City government took the farmers’ complaints to the heart and as a responsive government, act in dispatch to serve their interests.”

The Tabuk City’s SP resolution on July 5, 2021 said, BHEPP’s apparent non-action on the complaints of the farmer-beneficiaries of the UCRIS prompted them to rule the shut down. The complaints include BHEPP’s apparent “privatizing” river water resources, supposedly a public domain meant for everyone. But farmer-irrigators have been disadvantaged by a private interest, they said.

Tabuk City officials led by Mayor Estranero said, these lingering complaints of water resource depletion in Tabuk City citing BHEPP’s diversion of natural water flow, while complaints of flooding coming all the way from Mallig and Quezon towns in Isabela during the rainy season, added up the reasons for the suspension.

Complaints of the farmers were recorded and submitted by the National Irrigation Administration-Kalinga Irrigation Mamagement Office (NIA-KIMO) to the Tabuk City Council. Such report was based on NIA’s investigation September last year where other representatives of the Tabuk City local government and the private sector participated.

According to the Tabuk Irrigators’ Association, their complaints were not addressed since the agreements were forged in 2021, while supposed measures that should have been made to avert “sufferings” of farmers were not religiously done.

Though the BHEPP manager Engr. Daniel Peckly Jr. insisted they have addressed the complaints while NIA also allowed them to go on operating, the Tabuk City Council ruled still to temporarily suspend BHEPP’s business permit “until such time serious concerns (are) addressed and agreements are complied with.



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