Power firm’s Mindanao reforestation drive hits 1.4 million

Renewable power firm Hedcor said its tree growing initiative in the past 20 years has already planted 1.4 million seedlings in Bukidnon and Davao areas.

The figure translates to around 47 percent of the three million trees it planted in the same period around the country as part of its corporate social responsibility, said Jessa John delos Santos, corporate communication specialist for Hedcor, a subsidiary of AboitizPower's renewable energy arm.

Delos Santos said in Bukidnon alone, over 400,000 trees have been planted with an 87 percent survival rate, as evaluated by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

"Beginning in 2018, these efforts in the Bukidnon area comprise 30 percent of Hedcor's reforestation activities in Mindanao," she said.

Hedcor has a hydropower plant located in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon, where its nearby mountain ranges are recipients of the power firm's tree planting projects.

Delos Santos also said part of the high survival rate of the trees planted was the strict monitoring with the support of the community and DENR.

"For the monitoring and illegal logging prevention, we have patrollers tapped from the community who we trained to report to DENR through an app (mobile computer program application). The app and the android tablet are provided by Hedcor as well," she said.

She said the organization began its tree planting initiatives by partnering with government agencies.

As a renewable energy company, she said Hedcor has foreseen the importance of an aggressive reforestation campaign, noting that its operations rely on water availability, which in turn is heavily influenced by the presence of trees.

Junessa Guimalan, the firm's environmental management officer, said Hedcor's tree planting activities are planned efficiently to sustain and maximize their impact.

She said power firm partners with the DENR to help identify reforestation sites, as well as catchment areas from where water seeped down by trees flow directly to the water reservoir.

Aside from partnerships with DENR, she said Hedcor also collaborates with the communities near its reforestation sites to plant and care for the seedlings.

Other than Davao and Bukidnon, Hedcor's efforts have since covered multiple areas in Ilocos Sur and Benguet.

SOURCE: PHILIPPINES NEWS AGENCY

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