PO leaders from Micro hydro partners in Apayao and Nueva Viscaya provinces, met in a consultation hosted by SIBAT held at Mangarita Organic Farm (MOF) on February 23-24, 2015. The event aimed to gather said partners to share lessons about their MHP projects. the status of the projects was also discussed, that led to the formulation of upgrading plans for more than a decade-old MHPs.
The MHP sites represented in the consultation are: Sitios Lapat, Buneg, Bubog and Katablangan in Apayao and Nueva Viscaya.
The consultation was preceded by a meeting of representatives from 18 MHP projects in Abra Province last May, 2014. The representatives of Kimbutan MHP(now equipped with ELC, with civil works rehabilitated, transmission line replaced and watershed forested) shared their experiences on upgrading their system in 2011.
LGU representatives were invited to both consultations to create strong collaboration so that they can extend their support for future upgrading. The Apayao event was attended by Engr. Freddie T. Nicolas and Engr. Henry B. Caluducan from the Provincial Planning Development Office of Apayao.
The sharing revealed the capability of organized communities to sustain the system in the long run, despite the problems encountered such as: poor maintenance, lack of technical know-how of local MHP operators and poor tariff payment.
The participants are capable of performing basic repairs and maintenance of the project, and expressed their desire for more technical training, for operators with proper criteria. The CBRES organizations will also undergo training in July 2015.
The Apayao LGU representative committed support through small funds for post-harvest applications to be powered by MHPs. They suggested that the communities formulate resolutions, send these to the board member of the provinces, who have previously donated rice mills now being operated by the CBRES.
Furthermore, SIBAT expressed its commitment to support the system upgrading through technical advisory and assistance and sourcing for potential funders.
The partners from different sites expressed their gratitude on the electrification provided by the MHPs, and to SIBAT for the continuing of assistance provided to the projects. SIBAT in turn, thanked the community representatives for their resilience to sustain MHPs, and to harness the water source for the long-term benefit of the community.