Prelate hits plan to submerge brgys for electric source

BALOI, Lanao del Norte, May 30, 2008—The bishop of the Prelature of Marawi criticized the proposal of the National Power Company (NAPOCOR) to submerge seven barangays here mostly ricelands to give way to its electric project.

Bishop Edwin Dela Peña said the proposal is compromising the welfare of the people as it may result to loss of livelihood and displacement.

He added that on top of development, the primary concern must be the wellbeing of the people and not solely the interest of progress.

Dela Peña said that the Ranaw Pat A’ Pangampong composed of Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Iligan City and Marawi City is against the proposal to swamp under water the 7 barangays of Baloi.

Baloi is a 4th class municipality in the province of Lanao del Norte. It is the home of the Agus IV Hydroelectric Powerplant located in Barangay Nangka, which is 18 kilometers from Iligan City,

The Agus IV is the first underground hydroelectric plant in Mindanao and the third in the Philippines located 120 meters below ground face. The plant is said to be sufficient to power a city more than 12 times the size of Iligan City or to run 20 cement factories.

Dela Peña told CBCPNews that he is supporting the clamor of the people here to prevent the implementation of the project.

He added that by submerging the 7 barangays it is also tantamount to destroying the seat of power of the Sultanate of Baloi.

The proposal to submerge the 7 barangays is intended to augment the power supply needed for Mindanao.

“If we allow this project to continue we are tolerating the massive destructions to our lands and communities,” said Dela Peña.

Dela Peña said that he is not against development especially if it will benefit the people but if progress will lead to destruction then the Church will not tolerate it.

“We acknowledge the need for development but in such a way that it will not prejudice the lands, lives and livelihood of our people,” he clarified.

However, Dela Peña said that if the people will soon consent to the proposal then he will respect the decision of the denizens in the communities. (Mark S. Ventura)(CBCPNews)

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