By Glo Abaeo Tuazon
Cong. Teodoro B. Baguilat Jr. passed his very first bill as Representative of Ifugao for the First Regular Session. House Bill No. 1428 redefines the term “Host Community” as found in the Local Government Code of 1991 (RA 7160) as amended, Department of Energy Act of 1992 (RA 7638) and Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) of 2001 (RA 9136).
Baguilat explains that the term “host community” in reference to the Reforestation, Water Management and Health and/or Environmental Enhancement programs and projects only covers the barangays, municipalities, provinces and regions where the dam or hydroelectric power generating facilities are located. It is negligent of the vital role the LGU’s that protect watersheds enabling these dams or hydroelectric powers to operate. This, Baguilat reiterates will cover the stakeholders protecting the source of water to the host communities where the end product is being run or facilitated.
Being an environmental advocate, Cong. Baguilat saw the need to actively involve said stakeholders to recognize and compensate the great effort done and exerted by them. This measure will seek to encourage these stakeholders to further preserve and protect their respective watersheds and will even encourage both stakeholders of watershed source and end product communities to promote the sustainability of their natural resources.
The compensation will then be equally shared by both host communities and the funds be utilized for programs and projects geared towards the conservation of these same resources.
In addition to the above benefits, Baguilat believes that “this measure will lessen the conflicts of rights and promote cooperation among host communities affected by dams or hydroelectric power generating facilities, the power producers and the government agencies concerned”.