By: Leandria P. Pagunsan
DUMAGUETE CITY (PIA) — The Negros Island Geothermal Business Unit (NIGBU) of the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) aims to reforest 10,000 hectares of forestland in the geothermal area through its BINHI program in a period of ten years.
This was bared by Engr. Dwight Maxino, vice-president of NIGBU-EDC in the recent Kapihan sa PIA held at Bethel Guest House, Dumaguete City.
Presently BINHI’s tree for life program has already planted 7,600 hectares of endangered prime forest trees in denuded forestland in the geothermal area.
Furthermore, BINHI as a forest restoration program planted only local indigenous species of trees primarily to attract biodiversity that showed a good survival rate of 60-80 percent.
Maxino added that the plantation which is a large scale reforestation near the area of Mount Talinis are nurtured and given a budget for maintenance of five years to ensure survival until it becomes a matured forest in a period of ten years.
The BINHI program is EDC’s counterpart of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’(DENR) National Greening Program (NGP) of which EDC has also planted 300 hectares of trees in Ayungon, Negros Oriental.
On the other hand, Atty. Allan Barcenas, head of the Ecosystems Department of EDC said the company protects the watershed of Mount Talinis in Valencia because it is the source of steam for geothermal energy.
Steam according to Barcenas is a water-based product that sustains the renewable energy in geothermal.
Ava Sanchez, watershed management supervisor of EDC explained that EDC’s commitment to protect the remaining forest cover of Mount Talinis and Cuernos de Negros is far reaching as it manages 66,000 hectares of forestland involving and participating in their stewardship program 31 barangays, 11 municipalities and 23 non-government organizations as partners in protecting the environment.
Barcenas touched on the principle of stewardship that trees are resources, but can be used, improved and developed because it is renewable.
Engr. Maxino in his closing statement told that geothermal is a clean, indigenous, eco-friendly and reliable source of renewable energy with minimal emission of carbon dioxide, thus, has a minimal effect to climate change.(mbcn/lpp/PIA-7/Negros Oriental/Article first published at PIA Website on Aug. 18, 2014 )