December 22, 2021
The spirit of Bayanihan that Filipinos are known for has once again prevailed in Typhoon Odette-stricken Negros Oriental as employees of the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) moved to provide relief to its host communities in Valencia and in worst-hit far-flung areas like Bais and Manjuyod.
Even before the typhoon made landfall in the province last week, EDC’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team in Negros Island has been coordinating with the Municipality of Valencia on possible assistance that the company can provide to its communities in Barangays Caidiocan, Malaunay, and Puhagan.
“While our Field Operations and Maintenance team worked to typhoon-proof our geothermal facilities, we worked together with our partner communities as first responders and with Valencia Mayor Edgar Teves and his team in preparation for possible natural calamities like this. I believe that we’re ready,” said Norreen G. Bautista, head of EDC’s CSR Team in Negros Island.
EDC distributed 50 raincoats to the Municipality of Valencia’s Barangay Health Emergency Team and Community-based Task Force, which helped as they prepared, proactively did a site inspection, and warned the residents about the impact of Typhoon Odette. Some residents were likewise evacuated to protect themselves from the storm.
Guided by weather forecast data from IBM’s The Weather Company (TWC), EDC’s Negros Task Force Odette sprang into action and made the necessary preparations to ensure the safety of its employees and even its contractors, especially those who are working on-site, as well as its power plants in Valencia.
Throughout the years, Energy Development Corporation has invested in the typhoon-proofing of its geothermal assets and it looks like the investments and preparations are paying off given that the facilities were minimally affected, with simple repairs that needed to be done to the guardhouse and a few doors. All the units of its Southern Negros Geothermal Project were able to go back online on December 21. EDC also worked closely with Negros Oriental 1 Electric Cooperative, Inc. (NORECO 1) and Negros Oriental 2 Electric Cooperative, Inc. (NORECO II) as well as the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to restore power back to the localities. Two boom trucks were lent to NORECO II to enable them to restore their power lines in Tanjay and in other areas at the quickest possible time.
“Being safe and having minimal damage to our power plants allowed us, EDC employees, to focus more on helping those that were affected by typhoon Odette and on clearing roads in Valencia,” Bautista emphasized.
For instance, EDC’s Shared Services team responded swiftly by clearing road blockages (fallen trees, debris, and rocks), including the landslide at Mag-Aso in Valencia, and have made some roads passable.
EDC also provided access to its site P for Barangay Puhagan residents while residents of Barangays Caidiocan and Malaunay were given access to its guardhouse at the Ticala Admin Complex to enable them to charge their communication devices (e.g. mobile phones, radios, etc.).
As the company continues to assess the assistance that it can provide to these three barangays, it knows that there are worse hit areas in the Northern part of Negros Oriental that experienced signal no.4 last weekend.
For this, EDC mobilized other employee-volunteers and called for fully vaccinated volunteers from its Sikat scholars and BINHI Youth Champions to assemble an initial 700 sets of relief packs composed of canned goods, noodles, milk, and coffee for the residents of Bais and Manjuyod. Used clothes, blankets, towels, and mats were likewise sorted and packed for them.
Negros employees willingly canceled its virtual Christmas party to divert the funds for the event amounting to P20,000 to its relief operations.
Bautista’s team and other volunteers are scheduled to distribute these grocery bags and other items to the typhoon victims in Bais and Manjuyod today, December 22.
Energy Development Corporation is First Gen’s 100% renewable energy (RE) arm, with over 1,480MW total installed capacity that accounts for 20% of the country’s total installed RE capacity. Its almost 1,200MW geothermal portfolio comprises 62% 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.