In a significant step toward forest restoration and sustainable management, the Energy Development Corporation (EDC), a leading renewable energy company under First Gen, joined hands with the Asian Forest Cooperation Organization (AFoCO) and the Forest Management Bureau (FMB) to begin work on the project titled: Forest Restoration Using Philippine Threatened and Endemic Tree Species (PTES) in Bacon-Manito Geothermal Reservation in Support of the Philippines’ Forestry Sector’s National Greening Program.
The goal of this regenerative partnership is to restore the forest area within the 25,000-hectare Bacon-Manito Geothermal Reservation and promote the adoption of Philippine threatened and endemic tree species in Bacman, Sorsogon, and Albay in the Bicol region. EDC’s banner environmental program, BINHI, will be pivotal in implementing the restoration initiative to rehabilitate 100 hectares of denuded forest with 20 unique and highly threatened native tree species. As of writing, BINHI has planted and nurtured more than 6.8 million Philippine native tree species, primarily in EDC’s areas of geothermal operation across the country. The program also counts more than 200 multi-sectoral partners in implementing assessment, propagation, planting, and protection of the trees.
AFoCO’s choice of EDC as its first private-sector partner in the Philippines stems from its unwavering dedication to environmental preservation and impressive track record in nurturing sustainable forest ecosystems. BINHI’s success story is a testament to the company’s capabilities in realizing a greener vision for the Philippines. With the ability to bring diverse stakeholders together and foster a shared vision for a healthier planet, EDC’s involvement will amplify the regenerative impact of this ambitious project.
While the project’s primary objective is restoring the forest and propagating threatened and endemic tree species, it envisions a broader outcome. The initiative will serve as a platform to institutionalize the valuable lessons learned from successful public-private partnerships, culminating in a policy proposal for government recognition.
“We thank AFoCO for trusting EDC and our BINHI Team to implement this project that seeks to foster sustainable and long-term collaborations between the private sector and government agencies. This will pave the way for more impactful and regenerative environmental initiatives in the future,” said Regina Victoria J. Pascual, Vice President and head of Corporate Support Functions at EDC. For their part, FMB Director Arleigh J. Adorable congratulated the AFoCO and EDC for crafting the project and establishing a strong private-public working relationship with the bureau.
“Under this project, the documentation of good practices like the Private-Public Partnership in forest restorations and propagation protocols of using Philippine Threatened and Endemic Species (PTES) in forest restorations that can be developed and translated into national policies that will help improve forest restoration initiatives in the country,” Adorable said.
In addition to the forest restoration efforts, the project plans to create a 2-hectare arboretum that will serve as a living tree museum that will showcase BINHI priority Philippine native and threatened tree species.. This arboretum will serve as a living testament to the richness and diversity of Philippine flora, enhancing awareness and appreciation of native Philippine tree species. This collaboration with AFoCO and FMB is a testament to the shared vision of creating a greener, healthier future for the Philippines, where private-public partnerships spearhead positive change. EDC is First Gen Corporation’s 100 percent renewable energy subsidiary with over 1,480MW total installed capacity that accounts for 20 percent of the country’s total installed renewable energy capacity. Its almost 1,200MW geothermal portfolio comprises 62 percent of the country’s total installed geothermal capacity and has put the Philippines on the map as the 3rd largest geothermal producer in the world.