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Ifugao, Isabela share nat’l wealth tax over Magat dam after legal battle

April 4, 2008 1:27am

BAGUIO CITY - Ifugao and Isabela decided to literally draw a line in the water and divide evenly their share of the national wealth tax due from the Magat Dam.

"Hating kapatid (divide evenly)," was what Ifugao Governor Teodoro Baguilat termed it.

"Ifugao and Isabela reached a landmark agreement on the payment of transfer tax by SN Aboitiz over the use of Magat Dam," he said.

"That's worth P57 million each. We will use it to improve our roads and also enhance the watershed area supplying Magat," Baguilat said.

The 540-megawatt Magat Dam, built in 1983, is said to be in San Mariano in Isabela but Alfonso Lista is contesting that.

Baguilat, moreover, said that the watershed is clearly in Ifugao.

Aboitiz Equity Venture Inc., which joined SN Power of Norway to form SN Aboitiz Power Inc., won the privatization bid for Magat in 2006. Baguilat said that his province should be getting P28 million every year or about P57 million since 2006 from the deal with SN Aboitiz.

Baguilat said that despite the Solomonic decision, he is still contesting a proclamation issued by Malacañang last August that the National Power Corp. reservation encompassing the dam is in Isabela. He said that the land where Magat Dam is located is actually in Santo Domingo but the NPC declared it as part of Isabela.

Ifugao even filed a temporary restraining order so that Isabela would not be able to collect its share of the national wealth tax. Mumbakis or Ifugao native priests also sought redress from the Ifugao gods so that the people below would see it their way.

Baguilat earlier said that if the money had not come their way, the power in Alfonso Lista and many other towns near the reservoir would be cut off because they cannot simply afford to pay the power that is supplied to them by Isabela. - GMANews.TV