Social & Relationship Capital
Helping Uplift Communities amid Challenging Times
We at EDC strongly value sustainable development and inclusive growth. As such, we constantly strive to ensure that our business operations work in harmony with the environment and the communities wherein we operate. With support from our different stakeholders, we remain committed to the promotion of social prosperity and environmental stewardship through the implementation and management of a comprehensive, responsive, and sustained program on social responsibility.
EDC supports scholars, partners for distance learning
Education cannot wait, says Education Secretary Leonor Briones. Cognizant of the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, EDC aimed to help its scholars continue their education in the new normal.
As schools shifted to online and other digital modes of learning, we prioritized providing our scholars under the SIKAT Program with the necessary technologies to equip them for distance learning in the new normal. EDC partnered with ASUS, a Taiwan-based multinational electronics company, to provide our SIKAT scholars with free laptops. We also provided pocket Wi-Fi, and we realigned their stipends to now include a monthly internet allowance.
Additionally, we also supported educational institutions in their back-to-school efforts despite the pandemic. In Leyte, EDC teamed up with the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Delsan Office Systems Corporation to provide high-quality printers and toners for 16 schools, as well as school supplies for 23 partner schools in the province. In Burgos, Ilocos Norte, on the other hand, EDC donated reams of bond paper to the DepEd to support their Modular Distance Learning Program.
In 2020, the Mount Apo Foundation, Inc. (MAFI), one of the educational foundations EDC supports, also continued its scholarship assistance and online monitoring support for its 17 college scholars. MAFI provided tablets and monthly internet allowances to equip its scholars for distance learning. Cognizant of the negative effects of the pandemic on mental health, MAFI also offered its scholars access to professional counseling services through MyGolana.
Mapping the impact of EDC’s collective COVID-19 response
In March 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte issued Proclamation No. 929 which placed Luzon under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), while a six-month state of calamity was enforced for the rest of the country. Various provinces were also placed under community quarantine following the rise of COVID-19 cases in their localities.
Throughout this period, EDC remained at the forefront of spearheading COVID-19 response efforts, especially within its host and neighboring communities. Our speedy and strategic response to the crisis redounds to our strong capabilities to mobilize our leaders and employees towards a common cause. Together, we were able to support frontliners and aid the most vulnerable sectors of society hardest hit by the effects of the pandemic.
From March to December 2020, we extended a total of PHP165 million worth of support for COVID-19 response, which benefited more than 5,400 individuals and 25,000 households. In addition, EDC employees, through their own initiatives, also donated a total of PHP2.6 million to provide food assistance and personal protective equipment(PPEs)for healthcare and service frontliners.
We also provided relief assistance to host communities during the community quarantine and border lockdowns that led to the shutdown of several businesses and affected the public’s immediate access to food supply. Across the project sites, we deployed container vans that served as temporary accommodations for medical frontliners or hospital extensions for COVID-19 patients. Recognizing the importance of early detection, isolation, and treatment in the fight against COVID-19, EDC supported eight projects to develop new or expand existing molecular testing centers in its project sites.
As of this writing, EDC remains one with the nation in its continuing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. We will continue to support our frontliners and aid our countrymen in need during this trying time in our nation’s history.
EDC provides temporary power to Bicol during Typhoon Rolly
As part of our disaster preparedness and response initiatives, EDC aids communities affected by natural disasters and calamities. This includes the provision of relief goods, equipment for clearing operations, financial assistance, livelihood initiatives, and other forms of support needed by the community.
In the wake of Super Typhoon Rolly in November 2020, most of the Bicol region found itself without electricity. As a Category 5-equivalent typhoon, Super Typhoon Rolly is considered the strongest typhoon that hit the country since Super Typhoon Yolanda, which made landfall in 2013.
While EDC quickly mobilized and provided support to its host communities in the Bacon- Manito Geothermal Project (BMGP), it also made efforts to serve the immediate power needs of Albay and Sorsogon—despite the lack of power supply agreements (PSA) with the local electric cooperatives. This move redounds to EDC’s capacity to look beyond business and look towards what benefits the community as a whole.
As such, with full support from the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), EDC worked with Sorsogon I Electric Cooperative, Inc. (SORECO 1), Sorsogon II Electric Cooperative, Inc. (SORECO 2), Albay Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ALECO), and other major commercial establishments in Albay and Sorsogon to temporarily serve their power needs in the wake of Super Typhoon Rolly. This move, in turn, also enabled EDC to provide electricity to two host communities, home to 400,000 households.
In addition, EDC also provided relief goods to households affected by the typhoon. In partnership with the Lopez Group Foundation, Inc. (LGFI), we distributed relief packs and bread to three severely affected host barangays in Guinobatan, Albay. Looking beyond our host communities in Albay and Sorsogon, we also distributed 2,650 sacks of rice in the provinces of Catanduanes and Camarines Sur. To aid in various post-typhoon clearing activities and monitoring works, we also loaned two pick-up trucks to the local government of Sorsogon.
Fostering self-reliant communities through social enterprises
In line with our goal of improving the economic well-being of our host communities, and fostering their self-reliance in the process, we support four social enterprises across our project sites in Albay, Leyte, Negros Oriental, and Cotabato. In all, these social enterprises generate sustainable livelihood for at least 600 households, all of whom are also members of five community organizations.
Manito Mangrove Ecotourism Project
EDC supports the Alliance of BacMan Farmers Association, Inc. (ALBAFAI) in their community-managed ecotourism enterprise within the 190-hectare mangrove forest in Barangays Cawit, It-ba, Buyo, and Manumbalay in Manito, Albay. The Manito mangrove was once degraded, but has since been restored into a closed mangrove forest through the BINHI program. As such, the project incentivizes the community as they continue to protect the forest and promote mangrove conservation. The enterprise will generate sustainable income for 318 households through tourism receipts, as well as provide employment through tour guiding, food services, and ecotourism operations.
Mt. Apo Sukkudanan Coffee Project
Magpet and Kidapawan City
The four-phased project, which is being implemented with the Coffee for Peace, Inc., also known as the PeaceBuilders Community, aims to capacitate the local coffee farmers from the Obo-Manovu tribe. This will also enrich the 40 hectares of coffee plantations in the ancestral domain of the Manobo Apao Descendant of Ancestral Domains of Mount Apo (MADADMA), which is located in Barangay Ilomavis and Magpet, Kidapawan City. The word sukkudanan is an Obo-Manovu term that translates to “united as one”, as the project also aims to promote solidarity and peace among the Obo-Manovu tribes through the coffee enterprise.
Handicraft Scaling-Up Project
Valencia, Negros Oriental
EDC supports the Balili-Cambucad- Tubigon-Malabo Farmers Association (BALCAMTUMA), which has been engaged for BINHI plantation maintenance in Barangay Malabo, Valencia, Negros Oriental. The association currently has more than 100 members, 28 of whom are weavers of unique bamboo-based handicrafts such as lanterns, food covers, and other household items. As such, the project aims to support the association in scaling up their handicraft production, expanding their product line, and tapping into other markets through partnerships.
TGP Coffee and Cacao Project
Ormoc City and Kananga, Leyte
Through the BINHI program, EDC established coffee plantations in Barangay Tongonan, Ormoc City and Barangay Lim-ao, Kananga, both of which are in Leyte. However, these plantations are not being used to their full potential. The coffee beans, while harvested, are not processed and commercially sold. Also, its current farm size is not enough to sustain a viable coffee enterprise. As such, EDC tapped two community organizations to help develop and expand these coffee plantations, namely, the Tongonan Farmers Association (TOFA) and the Lim-ao Farmers Association (LIFA). Through support from various partners, EDC will support these organizations in expanding the farms into a 45-hectare coffee plantation. With the emergence of high-quality chocolate production in the area, cacao will also be intercropped with coffee as a way to provide diverse sources of income for the farmers.
On top of these social enterprises, which are long-term initiatives, we also launched 17 short- term livelihood projects to provide income for households affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. From July to December 2020, EDC provided raw materials, start-up capital, and technical assistance to support various livelihood projects such as backyard vegetable gardening, tilapia farming, piggery and other livestock farming, coffee seedlings collection, and face mask production, among others. To date, these short-term livelihood projects have benefited a total of 1,568 households.
Our Approach to Social Responsibility
We remain cognizant of the direct and indirect impacts of our business operations to our host and neighboring communities within all our project sites.
Guided by our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Policy, we strive to enhance the positive impacts we bring to our host communities and address development issues such as poverty and lack of access to basic services. We firmly believe that our presence helps catalyze our host communities towards positive and productive action.
Ultimately, our strategic CSR programs aim to empower our different stakeholders and partner communities towards becoming proactive agents of their own development to break the cycle of poverty and dependence.
We monitor and measure our impacts based on project objectives, quantitative targets, and simple cost-benefit analysis. We also monitor and evaluate each project through our bi-annual Social Acceptability Monitoring, Sustainability Assessment Tool, and Social Impact Assessment, all of which have been developed based on widely accepted local and international literature and methods. Our social development initiatives are guided by both local CSR regulations and international standards and best practices in community engagement.
Guided by a strategic framework, our approach to social responsibility supports not only the growth and profitability of our business, but also the continued protection and sustainability of the environment and its natural resources and the long-term improvement of the quality of life of all our host communities.
Our commitment to social responsibility is evident in how it is managed—it is an issue that is tackled at the highest level of our organization. Our board of directors has a CSR Committee, composed of at least three members of the board. As such, they provide leadership and oversight over the management of our strategic CSR programs, which, in turn, enable the company to deliver effective CSR initiatives that contribute greatly to our triple bottom line.
Our Corporate Social Responsibility Head Office Team (CSR-HO), on the other hand, oversees the systems and structures related to our strategic CSR portfolio and provides direction on policy implementation. As such, it provides technical assistance to our on-site CSR and Watershed Management Section (WMS), both of which form teams on the ground and at the national level which activate partnerships to help us achieve our strategic CSR goals.
Accordingly, EDC establishes a Community Partnerships Department (CPD) in each of its project sites across the country. At the community level, the CPD teams develop and operationalize our CSR agenda and serve as the company’s front-liners to implement its strategic CSR programs and activities.
Our 2020 Integrated Report
Our Integrated Report tells the story of our efforts to achieve our business objectives, hand-in-hand with our sustainability aspirations.