CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has planted more than 1.5 million seedlings in over 1,500 hectares of land, since the start of its operations in 2009.
Indigenous and commercial/fruit-bearing trees such as rubber, cacao, coffee, durian, and rambutan were strategically spread across Region 1 in North Luzon to Region 13 in Mindanao.
Only those tree species that are native to the locality were considered for the greening program. These native trees are better suited to restore the natural ecological balance in the area as they draw in or invite species of plants and animals that complete the natural ecosystem, unlike exotic or imported species which absorb ground water and do not allow other species to thrive within their territory.
The program contributes to the enhancement of the forest condition and also provides a sustainable livelihood for People’s Organizations (POs) such as the Samarsur Upland Farmer’s Association in Samar, Mt. Malaraya, the Malepunyo Watershed Protection Council in Laguna, and the Midtubukan-Springside-Fatima Land Dwellers Association (MISFAMILDA) in Bukidnon. Some of the widest reforestation areas cover 90 hectares in the provinces of Samar and Eastern Samar, 81 hectares in Antique, and 50 hectares in Batangas.
As partners in maintaining and protecting the reforested areas, POs are also able to make use of the plant byproducts as a source of food and/or agro-forestry business. To date, NGCP has partnered with around 50 POs to manage and protect the hectares-wide land.
“NGCP’s partnership with POs do more than the management of the land. This also provides an avenue for the POs, especially among indigenous groups, to boost their socioeconomic situation. Fruit byproducts such as rambutan, cacao, coffee, and durian put food on their tables, and may also be an additional source of income when sold in the market. We ensure that our contributions to the environment also contribute to the welfare of the communities in the area,” stated NGCP.
While much has been accomplished in the aspect of environmental enhancement, NGCP continues to look for more effective ways of adapting to climate change to lend support to the government’s environmental conservation and mitigation initiatives.
“NGCP sees to it that its operations have minimum impact on the environment. While it is unavoidable that trees are cut in order to expand and strengthen the power grid, we make sure that trees cut are replaced, not at a 1:1 ratio but at a 1:100 ratio for naturally-grown trees, and 1:50 for planted trees. NGCP also maintains a culture of environmental consciousness in the workplace and a sense of volunteerism among its employees,” stated NGCP.
NGCP is a privately owned corporation in charge of operating, maintaining, and developing the country’s power grid. It transmits high-voltage electricity through “power superhighways” that include the interconnected system of transmission lines, towers, substations, and related assets. The consortium, which holds the 25-year concession contract to operate the country’s power transmission network, is comprised of Monte Oro Grid Resources Corp. led by Henry Sy, Jr., Calaca High Power Corporation led by Robert Coyiuto, Jr., and the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) as technical partner.