By Ramon Dacawi/SunStar

THERE’S wisdom in the push by the City of Tabuk, Kalinga to construct a mini-hydroelectric plant as a renewable energy resource. The local government had applied for a bank loan to build the facility which, when operational, will ensure years of power to the people of Kalinga, literally and otherwise. The plant will be owned by Tabuk and its people.

Hydropower generation is highly feasible and practical in the Cordillera. Otherwise, private ventures wouldn’t have stamped their brand of business up here, harnessing resources within our midst and beyond our comprehension to see, much less develop, for our own what we supposedly own. They are applying or had already obtained water rights over our rivers long before our local government units started taking stock of this region’s resources.

We missed the boat towards autonomy that would have given us a leverage to impose conditions for further natural resource development in the Cordillera. Over two decades after the peace pact was signed and the interim region installed, we seem content with the administrative set-up. City Mayor Mauricio Domogan has accepted to lead the fresh push for self-rule as chair of the committee to draft an organic act. The Regional Development Council sees autonomy as key to addressing the disparity between our level of development and those of other regions that progressed from the extraction of the gold, silver and copper and the harnessing of the water resources up here. Still, many of our leaders are reluctant to move on towards autonomy that, despite its imperfections, would give us something to improve on.

Please read more at SunStar Baguio Online, September 17, 2011