GLOBAL BUSINESS POWER CORPORATION (GBP) has partnered with the West Visayas State University (WVSU) for a reforestation and carbon sink project in a 150-hectare tract of land in the province of Iloilo.
Dubbed as the Handumanan Reforestation and Carbon Sink Project, the reforestation program aims to mitigate climate change and promote environmental awareness by planting trees that will serve as carbon sink. GBP, through subsidiaries Panay Energy Development Corporation (PEDC) and Panay Power Corporation (PPC), has adopted a property owned by WVSU-CAF in barangays Jayubo and Sagcup in the municipality of Lambunao.
“The 150-hectare carbon sink area inside the WVSU-CAF campus highlights the shared commitment of GBP and WVSU to help conserve the environment and combat climate change,” said GBP president Jaime T. Azurin.
“This partnership between Global Business Power Corporation and WVSU is one big step towards ensuring the survival of our future generation. Our joint effort to plant trees and preserve our forestland is a legacy of love for humanity and Mother Earth,” said WVSU president Dr. Luis M. Sorolla, Jr. Handumanan is a Hiligaynon term that means “legacy.”
The seven-year project will have the first four years devoted to planting and establishment of the reforestation areas, while the remaining three years will be for the maintenance of the planted trees.
Under the memorandum of agreement, a minimum of 67,000 seedlings must be planted per year. Prior to coordination and preliminary work on the reforestation project, GBP had been conducting planting activities in the area since 2015.
In support of the project’s agro-forestry component, two types of trees will be planted – forest trees that are native to the area like narra, and fruit-bearing trees like jackfruit. Tall forest trees provide canopy while shorter fruit-bearing trees provide livelihood.
“The project is envisioned to be sustainable and to go beyond compliance of the ECC (Environmental Compliance Certificate) by incorporating community organizing and development,” according to GBP Panay Operations head Petronilo R. Madrid.
Madrid shared, for example, that they offer a Work-for-Study scheme wherein hiring priority is given to locals whose children are enrolled in WVSU-CAF. Community leaders also gather all laborers and give them informal lectures on financial literacy and how to spend their salary wisely.
These lectures also serve as venues for value-formation where the importance of the program is explained to the laborers. “The goal is to make the people understand the importance of the project as well as its benefits to the people through consistent dialogue and communication,” said Madrid.
The reforestation area will further be used for study as a laboratory for students of WVSU-CAF. The forest is home to endemic tree and animal species, with a nearby wildlife sanctuary for endemic animals in Panay.
GBP operates 11 power generation facilities in Cebu, Iloilo, Aklan, and Mindoro. In 2017, the company acquired a 50% stake in Mindanao-based Alsons Thermal Energy Corporation.