January 17, 2023
TONGONAN, LEYTE – First Gen-owned renewable energy leader Energy Development Corporation (EDC) is unveiling its Tongonan Farmers Association’s coffee and cacao processing facility and its BINHI Vegetative Materials Reproduction Nursery today – two of its corporate social responsibility initiatives that seek to elevate the environment and its partner community in Leyte.
The Tongonan Farmers Association’s (TOFA) project is a part of the 45-hectare coffee and cacao plantation that its new generation of farmers established in 2020 through the support of EDC, the City Government of Ormoc, the Department of Science and Technology Region VIII (DOST VIII), and the Barangay Tongonan Local Government Unit (Tongonan BLGU). With the high demand for coffee and cacao products not only in the province but in other parts of the country, the facility is projected to provide a steady source of income and livelihood opportunities for TOFA’s members. It is one of EDC’s initiatives to create self-sustaining communities through social enterprise development.
The event will be graced by Ormoc City Sangguniang Panlungsod Member Atty. Nolito Quilang who will be representing Ormoc City Mayor Lucy Torres-Gomez; DOST Regional Office VIII Regional Director, Engr Ernesto Granada; DOST Leyte Provincial Science & Technology Director, Dr. John Glenn Ocaña; Barangay Tongona Chairperson, Wilma Taneo; and members of the Tongonan BLGU. EDC will be represented by its Vice President and Corporate Support Functions Head, Regina Victoria Pascual, Assistant Vice President and Corporate Relations and Communications Head, Atty. Allan Barcena; Officer-in-Charge Head of Leyte geothermal facility, Andy Durog; Leyte Corporate Relations Head, Erwin Magallanes; Corporate Communications Head, Frances Ariola; and other key officials and employees of the company.
Founded by EDC and the farmers in the barangay in 1989, TOFA has been helping the company protect the forests in its geothermal facility for over 30 years now.
“We are thankful to TOFA for being guardians of our reforestation areas here in Leyte all these years,” said Erwin B. Magallanes, head of EDC’s Corporate Relations in Leyte.
EDC has provided P1.5 million worth of contributions to cover the facility’s renovation, plantation expansion, and capacity development programs for TOFA’s members. The DOST provided the processing equipment, Tongonan BLGU and the City Government of Ormoc, through its Livelihood Council, is also providing training support and technical assistance.
The launching of EDC’s BINHI Vegetative Materials Reproduction (VMR) nursery will immediately follow after this event.
BINHI is EDC’s landmark 15-year-old greening legacy program that has been bridging forest gaps and propagating 96 flagship Philippine native tree species, a number of which have already been classified as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the global authority on nature conservation.
The VMR nursery will help EDC’s BINHI team propagate the Philippine threatened native tree species that are endemic to the region such as Katmon Bayani, Mapilig, Almaciga, and other dipterocarp species. This facility is critical to the company’s thrust of mainstreaming native trees as it addresses the non-availability of planting materials or the rarity of tree species due to their threatened status.
In addition to the guests from the TOFA coffee and cacao processing facility’s guests, EDC’s 2nd event will also be attended by Forester Estella Polinar, who is representing the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Region VIII Executive Director, For. Arturo Fadriquela, and other guests from DENR Region VIII.
Through this nursery, EDC will then be able to provide BINHI native tree species to its partners in the region and spread awareness on reforestation as a vital solution to our warming planet.
EDC’s 711-megawatt Leyte geothermal facility currently supplies more than 30% of the country’s installed geothermal capacity. It is also responsible for putting the Philippines on the map as the world’s 3rd largest geothermal producer and has been providing a reliable supply of clean power to the Luzon and Visayas regions for almost 40 years.##