By: Daxim L. Lucas - 12:14 AM December 27, 2016
Alsons Power group has earmarked an initial P17 million for social projects in Mindanao to comply with a government mandate to allot a portion of their revenues to help develop communities around their facilities, the company said.
In a statement, the firm controlled by the Mindanao-based Alcantara family said the fund allocation was meant to follow the Department of Energy’s Energy Regulation 1-94 that ordered power generating facilities to set aside one centavo per kilowatt-hour of sales for development projects in the host and neighboring communities where these facilities operate.
According to Alsons corporate affairs manager Ruben Tungpalan, the funds would be utilized for a wide range of projects that include the construction of a multipurpose gym/covered court in Baluntay Elementary School; construction of a footbridge in Malungon, Sarangani Province; provisions of medical kits to 805 barangay health workers; upgrading of the medical equipment in the regional hospital located in Sarangani; and the construction of a school building for the Alabel National High School also in Sarangani.
The Mindanao-based power company has also allocated an additional P15 million for its corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects such as the granting of scholarships to poor but deserving students; the establishment of nurseries for mangroves and bamboo as part of a river protection program; as well as an artificial reef fabrication project in partnership with the Conrado and Ladislawa Alcantara Foundation Inc. (CLAFI), also referred to as the Alcantara Foundation.
During a recent briefing, Tungpalan disclosed that the power group’s major focus for CSR would be the educational and scholarship programs, in particular the Samahang Big Brother reading enhancement initiative that has helped over 2,000 grades 1 and 2 pupils improve their reading comprehension skills.
“Our experience has shown that education has the biggest impact to the community in terms of long-term poverty alleviation,” Tungpalan said, adding that a good educational foundation in the formative years can make a lot of difference, as seen in the dramatic reduction of dropout rates among students. Aside from scholarship and reading programs, Alsons Power also supports teacher training programs to upgrade the skills of educators.
“All our programs are coordinated with local government units who help us identify the needs of communities and help us prioritize the areas that we should support in terms of education, where we should focus our reforestation efforts by identifying the heavily damaged areas that must be replanted,” Tungpalan said, naming Maasim, Sarangani mayor Aniceto Lopez as one of those who have been actively coordinating with and supporting the CSR initiatives of the power company.
Aside from a 43-hectare marine protected area – which is a joint undertaking with local and national agencies – a banner environmental program is the 7,500-hectare watershed protection project encompassing five barangays in Maasim, Sarangani, undertaken by Alsons subsidiary Sarangani Energy Corp. (SEC) that has a 210-megawatt coal plant there. Aimed at protecting the Siguil and Kamanga River watersheds, the SEC watershed program that began in 2012 is the single biggest reforestation project in the country, targeting the planting of 3.75 million seedlings in 15 years or by 2027.