Thursday, January 1, 2009

EDC Helps Launch a New Legacy

Three generations regenerating the country’s dying trees. Shown in photo are three generations of Lopezes planting the sapling of the critically endangered prime tindalo species (Afzelia rhomboidea [Blanco] Vidal): Lopez patriarch Oscar M. Lopez (foreground, with cap and holding shovel); sons Piki with his son Robert (left); and Jay with his son Joaquin (right).

The Lopez family launched its biggest reforestation program with the help of EDC last December 11, 2008. This unprecedented undertaking aims to restore the country’s disappearing biodiversity while addressing the livelihood needs of upland communities. Dubbed ‘Binhi: A Greening Legacy,’ the program rethinks the whole of idea of reforesting the Philippines in a new, more specific and measurable manner.

Binhi was one of the Commitments to Action declared by Chairman Lopez during the Clinton Global Initiative Meet in Hong Kong. Energy Development Corporation (EDC) was identified as the implementing arm of the said greening legacy. “It was perhaps auspicious that EDC joined the Lopez Group at a time when the Lopez family was looking for the best means to implement the family’s greening legacy. EDC needs a healthy forest cover to sustain the underground reservoir that provides geothermal energy, its core business. It is precisely its nature of business that makes EDC the fertile ground to germinate Binhi, so to speak,” Chairman Lopez said.

The program will establish tree parks of rare and endangered species in all provinces of the country, reforest gaps of critical forest ecosystems, expand agroforests and plantations to serve as livelihoods for forest dwellers and convert geothermal watershed areas to ecotourism spots.