Purging the Tunnels: Decision-Making Process of Kabayan Indigenous Peoples Community on Hydro Electric Power Project (HEPP)

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Paul Joseph A. Nuval Aurita S. Budikey


Development projects may be realized if the participation from the communities is upheld. Guided by the principles of Participatory Communication Theory (Bessette, 2006), this study was conducted to review and understand the decision-making process of the Kabayan Indigenous Peoples (IP) community on the proposed 20 Megawatts Kabayan 1 Hydroelectric Power Project (HEPP) of Hydroelectric Development Corporation (Hedcor) Benguet Inc.. The proposed project was terminated after the elders/leaders of Kabayan voted against the implementation of the project in a consensus building held on November 18, 2016. The Hedcor Benguet Inc. has filed for a Motion for Reconsideration but has consequently withdrawn this to explore other alternatives that maybe favorable to the community. Further, the results showed that most of the community members through their elders/leaders participated and joined in the activities in relation to the hydroelectric project initiated by the NCIP and the community themselves. The participation of the elders/leaders in the said decision-making was manifested in their active articulation of the community’s stand for their interests and welfare. Also, external and internal factors affected the decision of the elder/leaders based on individual understanding and stance on the issue. Several community values were identified in the decision-making of the participants, which include collectivism, respect, trust, freedom of opinions, environmentalism, unity, and volunteerism.

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