Hedcor, in partnership with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, had a cultural sensitivity dialogue forum with the Higaonon tribal chiefs of the ancestral domains of the soon-to-operate 68.8-MW Manolo Fortich Hydro in Bukidnon.
The forum aims to bridge cultural differences, build mutual respect, and eliminate discrimination. Notable sharings were about their healing practices, beliefs, socio-political systems, arts, and material culture—elements of the tribe’s culture necessary for Hedcor to know, understand, and appreciate.
Mutual respect is the foundation towards a strong and long partnership, both the IPs and Hedcor believe.
“This endeavor is very important for Hedcor because knowing who our host communities builds a strong foundation of relationship which we would want to have with them because this is how we can start advancing our host communities—by learning and appreciating their culture first of all,” said Chris Faelnar, Senior Vice-President, Hedcor.
“Mas maayo nga ma-disseminate among culture aron kamo mga developer ma-aware ug atong mapadayon ang maayong relasyon (It’s good to disseminate our culture so you’d be aware and we can continue a harmonious relationship),” said Datu Macaulab, Brgy. Lingion, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.
On a different note, the construction of the Manolo Fortich Hydros is almost over and will soon start to generate electricity before 2017 ends. The 68.8-MW total installed capacity of the project can provide power to an estimated 75,000 households in Mindanao.
The construction transpired in 2015. Since then, Hedcor has started advancing the impact communities through corporate social responsibility projects even before the plants officially operate.
“Tama gyud ang Hedcor nga kining proyekto makahatag og kalambuan sa among barangay. Wa pa gani nagtuyok ang turbina ug wa pa nagsugod ang pag generate sa kuryente, daghan na og nahatag ang Hedcor na among napuslan (Hedcor is right that this project brings development to our community. The turbines have not yet spun and the plants have not yet generated electricity but we already benefited from the project),” expressed Datu Telesforo Buclasan, Brgy. Santiago, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon.
Manolo Fortich Hydros 1 and 2 comprised the project and will be the 23rd and 24th hydropower plants of Hedcor.