June 22, 2022
The remaining forests and wildlife in Carigara, Leyte now have better chances of being preserved and flourishing through First Gen-owned Energy Development Corporation’s (EDC) partnership with the Multi-sectoral Forest and Environmental Protection Committee (MFEPC).
Composed of EDC, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the local government of Carigara, Leyte, Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Bureau of Fire Protection, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Agriculture, Perpetual Help Community Cooperative, Eastern Visayas State University, Holy Cross Parish, and people’s organizations, the MFEPC vowed to strengthen their collaboration to protect the remaining forest and biodiversity in Carigara, Leyte. This commitment was sealed through a Memorandum of Agreement signed on June 21 at the Function Hall of the Municipal Building of Carigara, Leyte.
This committee will augment and support the limited manpower of the EDC and DENR-led Forest Protection Team.
According to Global Forest Watch, Carigara had 3,720 hectares of natural forest, extending over 66% of its land area in 2010. By 2021, the municipality has already lost 906 mha of natural forest.
The DENR has likewise identified Carigara Bay Wetlands as one of the seven bird sites in Eastern Visayas where diverse and numerous migratory birds have been documented.
“We at DENR CENRO Palo are grateful to all of the members of this committee who are committed and find time to be here, to help us in the protection of your remaining forest here in Carigara, Leyte, because we alone can’t do that because of the manpower that we have,” said Crisostomo E. Badeo, Jr., OIC of CENRO – Palo.
The forest in Carigara, Leyte is a part of the geothermal reservation that EDC has been trying to protect as it operates the 711-megawatt (MW) Leyte Geothermal Project, the world’s largest geothermal steamfield, that straddles Ormoc City and the Municipality of Kananga.
Through this partnership with the other members of the MFEPC, EDC has committed to organizing a barangay forest protection brigade for Barangay Paglaum and Barangay Caghalo in Carigara and providing financial support and insurance for its members. The company will continue to support its host communities in the area through livelihood support and capacity-building activities that include refresher training in Forest Laws and Regulations, Forest Fire Prevention and Control, and LAWIN training. Lastly, EDC will assist the committee in enforcing forestry and environmental laws, rules, and regulations by rendering the assistance needed to support the protection, conservation, and development of the forest and other natural resources through its BINHI greening legacy program.
BINHI is the country’s biggest private sector-led initiative toward forest restoration and threatened species propagation program that EDC has been implementing since 2008.
“One very important lesson that we have learned over the years under the EDC BINHI program is that it is through strong partnership and collaboration that we can achieve our goals efficiently and effectively. By working hand in hand, we can ensure the verdant legacy of our Philippine native trees and a cleaner and greener future for our communities, friends, and families,” said Ms. Regina Victoria J. Pascual, Vice President and Head of EDC’s Corporate Support Functions Group, in her message during the MOA signing ceremony.
EDC’s Leyte geothermal facility 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.