Conserving and protecting biodiversity has always been one of the top priorities of Lopez-led geothermal leader Energy Development Corporation (EDC) aside from producing clean and renewable energy. To fully achieve its goal to protect the environment, EDC formally forged six new partnership agreements under its BINHI greening legacy program this 2020 to rescue and propagate premium Philippine native tree species.
Despite the mobility restrictions brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the strong will of the company to protect and preserve the environment made the partnership from various parts of the country possible. From the signed partnerships, six arboreta are expected to be established which will serve as safe havens of the 96 premium native tree species under the BINHI program.
Under the BINHI program, EDC establishes an arboretum or a collection of living tree species. It is strategically located in an accessible area with site conditions that allow a high survival rate. The trees are planted thematically according to its family or geographic distribution for easy identification and appreciation. It serves as a living laboratory for students, environmental enthusiasts, and scientists.
“We are very grateful that we were able to forge partnerships with different groups across the country who share the same goal of regenerating our environment with us. It is indeed true that even in the midst of a pandemic, it is still vital to work together to achieve our shared commitment for a greener future,” EDC Corporate Social Responsibility-Public Relations Head Atty. Allan Barcena said.
Among the partnership agreements signed were two from the academe: Bicol University on September 29 and Silliman University on October 8; two homeowners’ associations namely: Victoria Valley Homeowners’ Association in Antipolo City on October 20 and La Vista Homeowners’ Association in Quezon City on October 22; a religious organization from Bulacan — the Priests of Notre Dame de Vie (PNDV) on October 15; and from local government — the recently signed agreement with City of Ormoc on November 4. To date, EDC has 183 BINHI partners nationwide.
The arboreta from the agreements, once established, will be an addition to the current 15 arboreta of EDC nationwide. Around 2,000 sq.m to 2 hectares of land from the partnerships are expected to become a nesting place of 96 premium native Philippine tree species that will add up to the greening legacy of EDC BINHI.
Likewise, under the agreements, EDC will provide the seedlings to the partner groups and the latter will be responsible for the nourishment and maintenance of the tree species. Further, the EDC BINHI team will provide technical assistance to the latter to ensure the growth of the native tree seedlings.
“We are hopeful that more partners will be encouraged to collaborate with us in saving the earth by helping us bring back to abundance our threatened Philippine native tree species. This is in line with our current thrust of forging collaborative pathways for a decarbonized and regenerative future,” Barcena added.
Most Rev. Bishop Benjamin Almoneda from PNDV stressed the significance of the partnership between two institutions which coincides with the year of Laudato Si or Pope Francis’ encyclical that calls for everyone to care for the earth, the vulnerable and the poor.
“This event is very significant. This has been planned by God several years ago. This project is fueled by the fire of the Holy Spirit and as we plant more trees, especially Philippine native tree species, we are taking care of the earth, our home,” Almoneda said during the virtual signing ceremony.
Likewise, Silliman University President Dr. Betty McCann said their partnership with EDC widens the impact of promoting forest conservation and the preservation and the propagation of threatened native tree species.”It is our hope that this arboretum may serve not only as a tree refuge and source of viable seeds for reforestation but also as a venue for student and community learning to enhance our nature conservation and environmental awareness,” she said.
BINHI is EDC’s nationwide forest restoration program and the country’s largest private sector-led greening initiative that aims to restore denuded forests, preserve and propagate threatened native tree species, and protect biodiversity to leave a legacy of a verdant Philippines for future generations. EDC has also planted nearly 50,000 native and fruit tree seedlings in 2019, bringing to 6.44 million its total number of planted seedlings since BINHI started in 2008.
EDC’s over 1,499MW total installed capacity accounts for 20% percent of the country’s total installed RE capacity while its 1,204.67MW geothermal portfolio accounts for 62 percent 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.