By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

PHOTO: Wikipedia

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. who was sworn in as the 17th president of the country on June 30, attributes to himself the Bangui Windmills in Ilocos Norte when he was a governor of the province. 

“Blades have been turning over the sand dunes of Ilocos Norte, harnessing a power all around but unseen, long before this day. I built them,” the late dictator’s son quipped as he talked about the issues on environmental sustainability in his inaugural address. 

Facts, however, prove that President Marcos Jr.'s claim is clearly false. 

While it is true that the construction of the project was made during his term, it was not his brainchild. He even admitted previously that the windmills were a “private commercial enterprise."

In an interview with the ABS-CBN News Channel in April of 2010, it comes from Marcos’ mouth that the windmill was a “private commercial enterprise”. 

The Bangui Bay Wind Farm was founded by the Ayala-owned North Wind Power Development Corporation (NWPDC), a 1996 study of the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) confirms. According to NREL, Bangui was chosen as the site of the project for it offers an “excellent wind resource for village power applications.” 

Moreover, the 52-MW wind farm was made possible through the support of the World Bank to NWPDC in 2004, through financing the project by providing interest-free loans of around $30 million. NWPDC, who still owns and operates the power plant until now, was acquired by AC Energy Holdings which is under the Ayala Group of Companies.

“The World Bank supported the project through the Prototype Carbon Fund, enabling its operator, the Northwind Power Development Corporation, to generate more resources through the sale of ‘carbon emission reduction credits’ under the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol,” the World Bank Philippines noted in a Facebook post last January 18, 2021.

The data of the Department of Energy’s 2020 list of power plants in Luzon also shows that no wind farm or power plant in Ilocos Norte is operated and run by any of the Marcoses. 

As early as 2015, the Bangui Windmills project in Ilocos Norte has been falsely attributed to Marcos and his time as governor of the province from 1998 to 2007. This has been fact-checked multiple times and proven false, yet his supporters continue to deploy this image. 

University of the Philippines (UP) professors Daphne-Tatiana T. Canlas and Ma. Ivy A. Claudio of the UP Department of Broadcast Communication presented a research study, showing that the wind farm has been falsely credited to Marcos Jr. since 2015.