QUICK READ: Energy Development Corporation, Ormoc City, the National Resilience Council, and the Carlos P. Romulo Foundation team up to help the city become the country’s model for resilience and disaster preparedness.
In March 1976, Lopez-led renewable energy leader Energy Development Corporation (EDC) was born to help build the country’s economic resilience by harnessing power from indigenous sources to reduce its dependence on imported fuels. Ormoc, Leyte was the site where EDC piloted its first-ever geothermal project, the 3MW Tongonan power plant in 1977, making Ormoc EDC’s first partner in helping build our national resilience.
Forty-five years later, EDC is leveling up or elevating its partnership to pave the way for Ormoc City to become a truly resilient and regenerative community by adopting it through the National Resilience Council (NRC) and the Carlos P. Romulo Foundation’s Adopt-a-City program.
In a virtual Memorandum of Agreement signing ceremony held via Zoom on March 15, the four parties vowed to work together and leverage each other’s capabilities and strengths to help Ormoc City become the country’s model city for resilience and disaster preparedness. This partnership is made possible through NRC’s Adopt-A-City Program.
The Adopt-a-City Program of the National Resilience Council is an innovative pathway for businesses to collaborate directly with local governments, academic partners, civil society organizations, and communities in transforming local climate and disaster risk landscapes.
Under this program, private sector investments are envisioned to strengthen evidence-informed risk governance by building knowledge and capacities of cities toward climate and disaster resilience and by investing in shared strategic environment, society, and governance goals.
Grounded in a whole-of-society effort towards risk reduction, it applies a systems lens to the co-creation of science and technology-based solutions to local resilience challenges. These may include investments in disaster-resilient housing and infrastructure, support for the sustainability of social and environmental protection programs, new opportunities for social innovators and entrepreneurs, and the enhancement of financial literacy of informal livelihood earners and MSMEs.
“Our work here in this partnership has a lot to do with valuing ecosystems services for climate change mitigation, adaptation, and disaster risk reduction. We are well in line with the statement of Energy Development Corporation Chairman Piki Lopez wherein he outlined a decarbonized and resilient future for the country, using the word regenerative, which is particularly important as far as ecosystem-based services are concerned,” said NRC President Ms. Antonia Yulo Loyzaga.
Loyzaga added that they would like to take advantage of the vast experience and knowledge of EDC, the human knowledge and technical capacity of the Ormoc City government, and NRC’s work in building this partnership.
EDC President and COO Richard B. Tantoco, meanwhile, committed to keep helping Ormoc City become resilient for the good of the Ormocanons and their neighboring communities. “Climate change is going to worsen and we really need to be more and more prepared, which is why we are proud of this partnership with NRC and Ormoc City.”
While Tantoco expressed his excitement for their upcoming activities involving the Ormocanons, which include the formation of a multi-sectoral forest protection task force, the creation of 10 pilot barangay emergency response teams, the roll-out of a city-wide disaster risk preparedness and response information campaign, he offered to expand EDC’s role in the partnership even more as the power company that provides 100% renewable energy (RE) to the province of Leyte.
“We’d like our geothermal facilities in Leyte to be the most robust power facility in the country so two to three days after a major disaster, the Ormocanons will look up and see that there’s light and know that they can begin rebuilding their lives. If we can help to prevent the Ormocanons from being repeatedly subjected to the attacks of climate change and worsening typhoons, we’re here to support and partner with Ormoc and NRC,” said Tantoco.
For his response, Ormoc City Mayor Richard I. Gomez said: “Ormoc is vulnerable to natural disasters, that’s why planning and foresight are very important, and partnerships like this are vital to us. Thank you, NRC, EDC, Carlos P. Romulo Foundation. Through this Adopt-a-City program, I know that we will achieve stronger resilience, reduce deaths, and increase development in our city. I want Ormoc to be a model city even if we are just medium-sized so that other cities will look up to the things that we do in Ormoc and in Leyte. Thank you for choosing Ormoc as a partner for this Adopt-a-City. I know we will achieve excellence with this program and I’m very excited as a mayor. Our people are very excited and we can’t wait to begin this program.”
Mayor Gomez expressed his gratitude once again to EDC for the assistance that it has provided to Ormoc City during the pandemic. “It is not a very good time to be a mayor during a pandemic but to fight this (pandemic), you need to have a strong political will to protect your own people. What is important is Ormoc is always safe and not just us but the people coming to our city. Thank you so much, Ricky (Tantoco), for putting up a testing lab in Ormoc. It is functioning well and helping us with the problem of COVID-19 in our city.”
Loyzaga added: “In NRC, we use the phrase let’s bounce forward together. We cannot rely on our old positions of vulnerability and exposure. Ormoc City and this partnership with EDC is a clear example of how we may all bounce forward together and become a resilient city.”
“Last year, we recrafted our mission to forge collaborative pathways for a decarbonized and regenerative future. There are many, many opportunities for us to work in partnership with Ormoc City and NRC to be truly regenerative so that our people will be truly resilient going forward,” said Tantoco.
EDC’s Leyte geothermal facility has been supplying power to the province of Leyte and to the rest of the Visayas region for almost 40 years. The company’s almost 1,200-megawatt total installed geothermal capacity accounts for 62% of the country’s generated renewable energy and is responsible for putting EDC and the Philippines on the map as the world’s 3rd largest geothermal producer.
The Energy Development Corporation (EDC) is a pioneer in generating 100% clean, renewable, and reliable power as an electricity supplier in the Philippines for over 40 years. With power plants all over Visayas and Mindanao, the company is one of the biggest producers of geothermal energy in Asia and is expanding its reach in the international market, allowing it to offer customers affordable energy rates. EDC also strives to provide the best customer service it can to all its clients by having helpful salespeople and easy to understand contracts. Because of all of this, it is poised to become the premier supplier of electricity for the Philippines’ Green Energy Option Program. EDC takes its mission as a renewable energy provider seriously and goes beyond sustainability by investing in programs that enhance the environment and empower its partner communities, thereby fostering regenerative development. The company has also been working toward being carbon-neutral by improving its energy efficiency, as well as implementing various greening projects to ensure that its mission to provide future generations with a better life remains intact.