200 volunteers plant 3K native trees in NegOr

By Jennifer C. Tilos

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EDC employee Geliah Taboco planted a balete tree with her son, Kian, to teach him the value of caring for the environment. (FA/PIA7-NegOr)

Over 200 volunteers from Energy Development Corporation (EDC) and its partners for a Greener Negros movement (10M in 10) celebrated BINHI and Arbor Day by planting 3,000 native tree seedlings at Brgy. Calabnugan, Sibulan, Negros Oriental.

EDC and its current and potential 10M in 10 partners planted balite, tabugay, taruy, talo-ot, pili, and kube trees in celebration of the two important occasions that are instrumental to the fulfillment of their commitment to grow back forests in Negros Island.

“The passion for environmental preservation of all our BINHI and 10M in 10 partners is truly admirable,” said Norreen Bautista, head of EDC’s Community Partnerships, External Relations, and Watershed Management Group in Negros Island.

Bautista said the huge turnout of volunteers indicate the Negrenses’ increasing awareness on the need to plant more native trees.”

Now on its 10 year, BINHI is EDC’s forest restoration program that aims to bring back to abundance premium endangered native trees and to bridge forest gaps through a holistic, scientific, and multi-pronged approach.

To date, the company has already planted over 6.3 million seedlings with the help of its 149 partners from 16 regions all over the country, said Baustista.

She added that more than 2.5 million of these were planted on over 3,000 hectares in Negros Island with the help of EDC’s over 30 BINHI local partners.

In 2016, EDC’s BINHI team identified, located, and collected 96 targeted threatened native tree species and have sought out ways to propagate them.

To do this, EDC has put up a state-of-the-art automated nursery called a Vegetative Materials Reproduction (VMR) facility in its 222.5MW geothermal project in Valencia, Negros Oriental that makes use of an automated mist irrigation system to give the right amount of mist and mimic the conditions of a natural forest habitat.

This VMR in Valencia will serve not only the need for native seedlings of EDC’s BINHI partners in the Visayas region but even that of its over 140 10M in 10 partners.

“We encourage those who are truly committed to protecting and restoring the forests of Negros Island to partner with us in this green revolution.  All these efforts are crucial in fighting climate change,” Bautista urged.

The geothermal leader, EDC is the world’s largest vertically integrated geothermal company and the only diversified renewable energy firm in the country.

The company has been powering Negros Island for over 35 years with geothermal energy, the only form of renewable energy that can provide baseload power 24/7.

 

 

 

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Brewing soon in local cafes: Baslay coffee of Dauin

By Roi Lomotan

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Samples of Baslay coffee on display during the coffee brewing and tasting event. (PIA7-NegOr)

 

NEGROS ORIENTAL (PIA) – The aroma of freshly brewed Baslay coffee will soon spread to the coffee shops in the capital city of Dumaguete or at resort cafés in the municipality of Dauin.

This after the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) – Negros Oriental hosted a coffee brewing and tasting event in Dumaguete City recently to encourage local resort and café owners to buy and support the locally grown coffee.

“The purpose of this is to invite local resorts in Dauin and coffee shops to carry this coffee,” DTI SME Senior Trade and Industry Specialist Maribel Sumanoy said.

During the activity, resort and coffee owners were given a free taste of Baslay Coffee which comes in two varieties: Arabica and Robusta.

Sumanoy shared that in the 2nd Coffee Conference held in Baguio City, DTI sent samples of Baslay coffee to be evaluated and it had a high cupping grade which is good for specialty coffee.

Baslay coffee was cultivated by the Baslay Farmers Association (BFA), a recipient of DTI’s Shared Service Facility (SSF) Project.

Last year, the DTI turned over units of dehaulers, depulpers, dehumidifiers, sorting tables to association and also sponsored trainings on coffee harvesting, dry method processing and understanding standards and grading system.

Sumanoy said that through these interventions, members will have a competitive edge and will be able to demand a better price when selling their coffee beans to the market.

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DTI-Negros Oriental Senior Trade and Industry Specialist Maribel Sumanoy stands beside a coffee maker that brews Baslay coffee. (PIA7-NegOr)

The coffee plantation is nestled near Mt. Talinis with an elevation of 800 meters above sea level up to 1,200 meters above sea level.

The development coffee plantation was a reforestation project of the Philippine National Oil Company (now Energy Development Corporation or EDC) to give livelihood assistance to former kaingineros in the area.

“Before 1984, we were all forest occupants. We were all forest destroyers of Baslay forests,” said BFA Adviser Ruel Perez.

Perez continued that sometime in 1984, they were organized into an informal group and in this process, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Philippine National Oil Company started to realize that there is a prevailing problem with the community.

“Of course the destruction of the forest because we were practicing these destructive farming practices – we called it the maganas. You have to clear this forested area so you can plant corn and your first and second harvest will be adundant. Along the way, after 3 to 4 years, when there is a decline in harvest, you look for another area to deforest. That’s how we do it. It’s our way of life that is exhausting but there is no success,” Perez explained.

It was in 1986 when different government agencies and the New Zealand government gave the community a funding for agro-forestry project.

In 1988, the group was registered with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) making it a legitimate organization and in 1989 the BFA was launched with 135 founding members.

By 1992, the group was awarded a community forest stewardship agreement for 25 years and they were given the opportunity to manage and protect the forest of Baslay.

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BFA Adviser Ruel Perez delivering his message (PIA7-NegOr)
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Dauin Mayor Neil Credo delivers his message to Baslay coffee farmers. (PIA7-NegOr)

All those years, BFA was into coffee production and from being kaingineros, they eventually became coffee farmers and forest conservationists.

Perez said the group practices organic farming and they do not apply synthetic fertilizers and pesticides in their crops.

“Everything there, the animals, the birds they all contribute to the pollination that’s why our coffee has a very nice flavor coffee. Our coffee needs forest to grow and have a very nice flavor,” Perez said.

Sumanoy said BFA originally had a 70-hectare plantation and they had just had a 50-hectare expansion.

Perez disclosed they hope to cover a 300-hectare expansion in five years.

Meanwhile, Sumanoy disclosed that as of now, BFA has one buyer in based in Manila and that is the reason why DTI held the activity to help BFA introduce to the local market in Negros Oriental the Baslay Coffee.

“In Negros we don’t have a market yet. So we are introducing it. The trend today like in Bo’s Coffee is to carry in their coffee shops local coffee. They are carrying Mt. Apo, Benguet, and Kalinga Coffee. Now we are introducing themthat since you are in Dumaguete, you carry Baslay coffee,” Sumanoy said.

 

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DTI staff gives free taste of Baslay coffee to resort and cafe owners during the event. (PIA7-NegOr)

The DTI official added that they requested the farmer’s association to retain at least 20 percent of their produce for the consumption of local market here.

 

Sumanoy said that BFA was able to harvest 3,200 kilograms or 16,000 red cherries and then processed it to 3,200 green coffee beans last year.

He hopes that through this endeavor, local coffee shops and resorts will be encouraged to brew and serve local Baslay coffee. (ral/PIA7-Negros Oriental)

Negros Oriental braces for TD Auring

By Jennifer Catan-Tilos

NEGROS ORIENTAL (PIA) – Gov. Roel Degamo of Negros Oriental still continues to call on the public and the local Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (DRRMCs) concerned to monitor weather condition in their area of responsibility as the LPA is still expected to bring moderate to occasionally heavy rains in the province.

In a Pre-Disaster Risk Assessment and provincial executive meeting today, the governor briefed the department heads and members of the PDRRMC that advisories have been issued to all DRRMOs to be alert for possible flash floods and landslides in their respective areas.

Gov. Degamo asked each department such as PSWDO to be ready all stockpiled food items for would be victims, the PEO, IPHO among others to be on standby.

In any eventuality, Degamo’s concern is to achieve zero casualty when ‘Auring” intensified its movements as the province is still under TCWS No. 1 then.

Meantime, the Department of Social Welfare and Development-Negros Island Region (DSWD-NIR) reported completion of all necessary preparations of food and non-food commodities to be used in possible disaster response operations in the region.

A total of 14,194 family food packs are now available at the office’s regional warehouses in the cities of Dumaguete and Bacolod and at the LGU warehouses in the cities of Bayawan, Bago, and La Carlota and the municipality of Mabinay.

These LGU warehouses serve as strategic launching points for the distribution of pre-positioned family food packs that may be needed by LGUs within their respective clusters.

OIC-Regional Director, Shalaine Marie Lucero disclosed today that DSWD Central Office has assured the availability of standby funds that can be used to purchase additional commodities if needed.

Lucero advised LGUs to immediately inform her office of any need for augmentation through the agency’s City/Municipality Action Teams.

The Quick Response Team (QRT) of the Field Office and in the two provinces have been activated to monitor the preparedness of the LGUs, to determine the number and assist the LGUs in the distribution of assistance to families and communities that might be affected by TD Auring. (rmn/jct/PIA7-Negros Oriental/This article was first published at PIA Website on Jan. 10, 2017)