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Dumaguete City, Philippines Tuesday, August 25, 2015
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EDC to pilot Binhi program
expansion in Negros Island

There is a need to grow and manage forests for a greener tomorrow, which cannot be accomplished by just one person or one company.

This was what the Energy Development Corp. realized in the six years that it has been implementing the Binhi greening legacy program.

In its Southern Negros Geothermal Project in Negros Island, most of the trees that the company planted were in the towns of Valencia, Dauin, and Zamboanguita in the Mt. Talinis area where it was able to reforest 935 hectares.

EDC launched its Binhi greening legacy in 2008, which aims to reforest 1,000 hectares per year for the next 10 years.

Beyond doing its share to help address climate change, Binhi wants to ensure that the diversity of the Philippine forests and vanishing native tree species are restored. Binhi revolutionized corporate greening by using science to achieve its sustainable broad-scale reforestation and biodiversity conservation goals, a press release from EDC said.

Binhi's Tree for Life aims to bridge forest gaps, biodiversity research and rehabilitation of forestlands covering key biodiversity areas in the country. This is done either through assisted natural regeneration or through rainforestation to continue providing ecological services while being safeguarded.

From 2009-2014, EDC has reforested 6,609 hectares around the country using 4,580,439 premium native trees, fruit-bearing trees, and high-value commercial trees under the Binhi Tree for Life and Tree for Food modules.

It also planted 2,900 premium, native and endangered trees with more than a hundred partner institutions. Eighty-eight or 92 percent of its target 96 priority premium endangered and indigenous tree species of the country have been rescued through the company's Tree for the Future module, the press release said.

It has 133 hectares of Binhi Tree for Life and 23 hectares of Tree for Food in Valencia, Zamboanguita and Dauin in Negros Oriental. With almost 1,100 hectares of total reforestation in the Mt. Talinis area from 1998-2014 for combined non-Binhi and Binhi projects, EDC was able to plant almost one million trees.

“Having planted so many trees over the years, the company has recognized that there is still so much more to be done if it really wants to achieve a greener future not only for Negros Island, but for the entire country,” EDC Watershed Management head in Negros Island, Abba Grace Sanchez, said.

Sanchez said even if they still have four more years to go for Binhi, there is already a need to expand the program and have more partners who are committed to the environment to improve forest cover and maximize its environmental benefits.

EDC's 15 farmers' associations in Negros Oriental have been helping the company protect and maintain its Binhi areas for their livelihood. They get compensated so they can provide for their family's needs. This practice of social forestry is a huge part of the geothermal leader's Community Partnerships program that is anchored on Health, Education, Livelihood and Environment.

Expanding an already huge Binhi greening legacy program is a challenging endeavor that needs careful planning and deliberate execution. EDC will pilot the advanced program in Negros Island, after consulting key stakeholders and if they have enough committed partners from both Negros Oriental and Occidental.*JFP/PR



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