OML, with EDC Watershed Department head Atty. Allan Barcena and CSR head Tracy Peralta, presents tokens of appreciation to speakers Richard Diotay, Rodel Santos, Romi Garduce and Dr. Rico AncogEnergy Development Corporation (EDC) celebrated Binhi Day at two different venues on June 23-24, 2017.
Themed “Binhi: The Green Asset,” the two-day undertaking highlighted EDC’s commitment to contribute to the protection and conservation of the country’s forests.
Binhi is a comprehensive forest restoration program that aims to reforest degraded lands, rescue vanishing native trees, develop ecotourism areas and provide livelihood to local communities. Binhi also protects and sustains the geothermal recharge a s EDC continues to deliver clean and renewable geothermal energy nationwide. As such, Binhi is an important natural asset that the company continues to manage and develop with relevant stakeholders.
Day 1 activities were held at the OML Hall in One Corporate Centre, Ortigas.
Oscar M. Lopez (OML), the father of the BINHI program, delivered an inspirational message which elicited thunderous applause from the attendees.
The chairman emeritus of the Lopez Group said: “Trees are the ecosystem’s great multitaskers. They clean and cool the air, and provide food, shelter, and protection. They stabilize the soil to prevent erosion and mitigate flooding made harsher by the changing climate. They also act as an important carbon sink, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and thus slowing global warming.
“Here in the Philippines especially, planting trees is an obvious and concrete means to increase our resilience—to defend ourselves against the devastating impacts of climate change.”
OML also led the ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the exhibit showcasing products and services from Binhi partners. These included OML Center, WWF-Philippines, Rain Forest Restoration Initiative, Philippine Tropical Forest Conservation Foundation, Haribon Foundation, the Environmental Learning and Training Initiative, Qubo, BayaniJuan, Institute of Agroforestry-University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), and Non-Timber Forest Products-Exchange Program’s Custom Made Crafts Center Inc.
Dr. Rico Ancog of the UPLB-School of Environmental Science and Management discussed the importance of valuing green assets, while Rodel Santos of Villanueve Farmers Association in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija and Richard Diotay of Bagong Silang Binhi Farmers Association in Negros Occidental imparted their experience as Binhi partners.
Meanwhile, Romi Garduce emphasized the appreciation and enjoyment of the country’s green assets. Garduce is known as the first and only Filipino who has climbed the Seven Summits or the highest mountain on every continent.
Capping off the first day was the awarding of the winning entries in the Binhi Day photo contest.
Day 2 at La Mesa Nature Reserve in Quezon City saw hundreds of volunteers take part in a tree-planting activity in celebration of National Arbor Day, which is actually celebrated every June 25.
A two-hectare area was utilized to increase species diversity and host some of the most premium threatened tree species under the Binhi Tree for the Future project.
Eight hundred native tree seedlings were planted by the volunteers, including 100 threatened trees such as yakalsaplungan, yakal-malibato, kamagong-ponce, malabayabas, apitong, dao, kalantas, bolong-eta, malak-malak and nato.
Binhi tree-planting activities were also done in all EDC business units: in Mt. Apo Geothermal Business Unit in Kidapawan; BaconManito Geothermal Business Unit in Albay; Negros Island Geothermal Business Unit in Negros Oriental; and Leyte Geothermal Business Unit.
Binhi aims to plant trees on 1,000 hectares per year for 10 years. As of 2016, 8,964 hectares in EDC’s project sites and frontier areas have been planted, while 96 of the rarest Philippine threatened native tree species have been rescued. (Story/Photos by: Gerbs de Castro)
Lopez Group chairman emeritus Oscar M. Lopez
HR Council head Cedie Lopez Vargas
All set for the tree-planting activity
Some of the volunteers who helped plant 800 native tree seedlings
Starting them young