Geothermal leader Energy Development Corporation (EDC) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) are joining forces and expertise in the implementation of the government’s National Greening Program (NGP). EDC’s landmark greening project called BINHI has been selected as one of the strategic programs under the NGP.
Environment Secretary Ramon Paje and EDC chairman emeritus Oscar Lopez signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) today to seal the greening partnership as President Benigno Aquino III launched the NGP.
Through BINHI, the DENR and EDC will ensure the implementation of a systematic, sustainable, and meaningful reforestation program in EDC’s renewable project locations as well as in areas allocated by the DENR. Under the partnership agreement, the DENR and EDC will establish and maintain a seed bank and an arboretum of threatened species; develop a documentation mechanism or databank through an interactive website, tree certification, plantation registry and maps; make available environmental and watershed management data that can be vital to the development of policies and guidelines for reforestation and spearhead the information education and communication campaign with DENR to raise awareness on the two projects.
“EDC has always been innovative and creative in crafting programs especially those related to environmental protection. BINHI is an original and revolutionary program because it is the first serious reforestation effort that is dedicated to rescuing and securing premium, endangered native species by establishing mother trees that will be the sources of more seeds. We have a concrete and systematic program for BINHI, and we are happy that reforestation and biodiversity experts recognize our initiatives,” EDC chairman emeritus Oscar Lopez explained.
EDC’s BINHI and the National Greening Program both aim to alleviate poverty, achieve food security, preserve and enhance biodiversity, and address the problem of climate change. This partnership is also a big step towards the actual execution of EO 26 signed by President Benigno Aquino III in February this year and hopefully, will encourage more public-private partnerships for the environment.
BINHI which was launched in December 2008 is the first reforestation program to address the problem of vanishing premium native tree species by ensuring that the diversity of our Philippine forests and the gene pool of our premium tree species are restored. It aims to reforest 1,000 hectares every year for 10 years.
In 2009, on the first year of BINHI implementation, EDC planted 842,767 seedlings in 1,018 hectares all over EDC’s host provinces. Seedlings that were grown as mother trees were planted in nine partner schools in Northern Negros, inside the campus of the Philippine Science High School in Tacloban, as well as in two private parks in Bonifacio Global City and Nuvali in Laguna.
Also in 2009, the local government of Isabela province sought the assistance of EDC in protecting the Northern Sierra Madre Natural Park and the installation of a mega nursery through BINHI. EDC formalized its BINHI partnership with the provincial government via a two-year reforestation project of 200 hectares of denuded portion of the natural park. The project has already provided alternative source of income for bugadores and their families.
In 2010, EDC planted 721,319 trees and 937 hectares in Leyte, Negros Oriental, Negros Occidental, Albay, Sorsogon, Cotabato, Nueva Ecija and Isabela.
“One of BINHI’s primary targets is to educate the general public about the importance of planting not just any tree but especially those that are most precious to the Filipinos’ sustainable development and national identity. Ultimately, BINHI seeks to empower the target publics so they may go the extra green mile individually or collectively,” Chairman Lopez added.
BINHI has four major components: Tree for the Future, Tree for Life, Tree for Food, and Tree for Leisure. The program will endeavor to establish tree parks of rare and endangered species in various provinces of the country, to reforest gaps of critical forest ecosystems, expand their agroforests and plantations to serve as livelihoods for forest dwellers and to convert their project sites to ecotourism spots.
The Tree for the Future component is the flagship program of BINHI. Its aim is to recover the biodiversity of the country by establishing tree parks in various provinces and in selected schools using prime endangered species. Fifty per cent of the seeds to be harvested from the planted trees shall then be given back to EDC which will put up a seed bank for future forests. In the future, we envision that the reforestation efforts of the country will use these premium and economically important species.
The Tree for Life component aims to address the ecological problems of the country by establishing protection forests through assisted natural regeneration (ANR) or rainforestation farming. EDC will target to bridge the forest gaps between important mountain systems in order to avoid fragmentation of habitats of these valuable ecosystems.
The Tree for Food component aims to hasten re-vegetation of open and denuded forest lands and at the same time provide significant source of livelihood for the farmers living inside EDC’s geothermal reservation areas.
The Tree for Leisure component is intended to provide recreation, enjoyment and study sites for students, visitors and local communities while preserving the natural beauty and ambiance of the of mature forests.
The Energy Development Corporation (EDC) is a pioneer in generating 100% clean, renewable, and reliable power as an electricity supplier in the Philippines for over 40 years. With power plants all over Visayas and Mindanao, the company is one of the biggest producers of geothermal energy in Asia and is expanding its reach in the international market, allowing it to offer customers affordable energy rates. EDC also strives to provide the best customer service it can to all its clients by having helpful salespeople and easy to understand contracts. Because of all of this, it is poised to become the premier supplier of electricity for the Philippines’ Green Energy Option Program. EDC takes its mission as a renewable energy provider seriously and goes beyond sustainability by investing in programs that enhance the environment and empower its partner communities, thereby fostering regenerative development. The company has also been working toward being carbon-neutral by improving its energy efficiency, as well as implementing various greening projects to ensure that its mission to provide future generations with a better life remains intact.