January 24, 2022
The Energy Development Corporation (EDC), First Gen-owned and the country’s largest geothermal energy producer, turned over a check donation amounting to Php 277,940 to its two partner barangays in Valencia, Negros Oriental for the installation of WiFi infrastructures that will expand the country’s first off-grid e-community project.
Barangays Malaunay and Caidiocan received Php 138,970 each that will be utilized to install structures for internet connectivity services in the communities. Present during the ceremonial check turnover and DOD signing for the e-community project were EDC Negros CSR Head, Norreen Bautista, and Community Partner Rafael Duhaylungsod, Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (NOCCI) representatives Edward Du, Dodong Yap, and Engr. Joemar Sayre, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Negros Oriental Provincial Director Engr. Aurelio Tinapay, and local government officials.
“We, at EDC, are very grateful for the collaborative efforts of our partners to elevate the communities in Valencia by providing them with free WiFi internet access under our banner e-community project. We believe that this will enable the residents of our host communities to harness the enormous potential and benefits of having consistent internet connectivity to improve their education and livelihood and assist them in bringing the community towards progress,” Bautista said.
The e-community project is EDC’s public WiFi project anchored on Republic Act No. 10929 or “An Act Establishing the Free Internet Access Program in Public Places in the Country.”
The strong synergy of EDC’s partners made the e-community initiative possible. While EDC donated funds for the cost of labor and the purchase of necessary materials and equipment for the structures, partner organizations were in-charge of complementary activities. The DICT contributed a fixed wireless broadband network with a 20mbps bandwidth. Moreover, NOCCI supplied fixed wireless solar technology and a redundant broadband network design to ensure uninterrupted connectivity for the residents. The barangays also facilitated the logistics and maintenance of the structures.
Bautista further noted that EDC aims to make remote areas like Barangays Malaunay and Caidiocan resilient and self-reliant through this project. “Through this initiative, we hope to ensure the adaptability of the partner communities and create a positive impact on our stakeholders,” she said.
Currently, the renewable energy leader supports three e-communities in Valencia, including its pilot area in the geographically isolated mountainous area Barangay Puhagan. Last October 2021, EDC, in collaboration with the NOCCI, DICT, and the local government units (LGUs) held a ceremonial switch-on in Barangay Puhagan. It was the first off-grid village in the country to have free public WiFi.
Barangay officials of Caidiocan and Malaunay expressed their gratitude and appreciation to EDC and its partners for launching the project and bridging the digital divide by connecting far-flung, vulnerable, and at-risk communities across the country. They noted that they will now have broad access to information through the free Internet connection.
EDC has been providing an uninterrupted source of clean 24/7 energy to Negros Island and other parts of the Luzon and Visayas regions from its 222.5MW geothermal facility in Valencia, Negros Oriental in almost four decades.
EDC’s over 1,480MW total installed capacity 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.