MAASIM, Sarangani (February 23, 2023) – In line with the 1 Million Trees Project of the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Sarangani, the Alsons Power Group (APG) has committed to plant 110,000 indigenous and endangered tree species in parts of the Mt. Busa Key Biodiversity Reserve in the MaKiMa (Maitum, Kiamba, Maasim) area.
On February 22, APG led the launching of the tree planting activity as part of its commitment to the Maasim watershed enhancement project.
Various stakeholders from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Sarangani Provincial Police Office, Philippine Army, communities of Datal Basak, LGUs of Sarangani and Maasim, Conrado and Ladislawa Alcantara Foundation, Inc., National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, and APG convened at the Datal Basak Competence and Convergence Center and took part in the activity.
Ruben Tungpalan, vice president for APG’s Corporate Affairs, recalled the condition of the area, "about five years ago, walang tanim na puno dito, every time na may fogs, hindi nagtatagal dahil nililipad agad ng hangin dahil walang punong pumipigil."
"But now," Tungpalan said, "even tanghaling tapat, punong-puno ng fogs ang paligid, and it stays here for quite some time because of our continued efforts to foster the vegetation."
On APG’s watershed enhancement project for Maasim, Tungpalan said that the undertaking would align with Sarangani’s Reforestation and Development Program and Maasim’s Watershed Rehabilitation and Protection Program.
He further urged all the stakeholders present to take part in the initiative "in making Datal Basak the base of operation for greening the entire Maasim and hopefully connecting it with the bigger forests of Kiamba and Maitum."
Accordingly, around 70,000 tree seedlings were readily available to be planted this year.
Speaking on behalf of Miguel Rene Dominguez, Alsons Development and Investment Corporation director, Jose Luis Angco, vice president and business manager for power business unit generations, encouraged the participants to make the initiative worthwhile by linking into the next activities of the project. Dominguez was governor of Sarangani from 2004 to 2013.
"May the future generation experience the countless benefits that can be obtained from these trees as well as their role in averting the harsh impacts of climate change," Angco said.
Board Members Joseph Calanao, Irish Louie Armado, Benjamin Donato, and Maasim Vice Mayor Visitacion Nambatac, also took part in the activity.
Provincial Administrator Atty. Ryan Jay Ramos, who represented Governor Rogelio D. Pacquiao, expressed his gratitude to the APG and Alcantara Group of companies "for making sure that our environment is protected and for backing up the Governor’s vision in making Sarangani a greener, cleaner, and healthier province."
Ramos considered the initiative a "milestone" in taking sustainable steps to restore and preserve the Mt. Busa Protected Area, which is the "major water source" of the MaKiMa area.
The 110,000 tree seedlings are set to be planted until 2028.
During the activity, APG also turned over some farming tools to the Datal Basak Farmer’s Association.
The activity was part of the commemoration of Alcantara Group founder Conrado C. Alcantara’s 110th birth anniversary.
The Alsons Power Group is Mindanao’s first and most experienced private-sector power generator, with Alsons Power as its umbrella brand that groups together all the power business affiliates of the Alcantara Group and Alsons Consolidated Resources, Inc.
Alsons Power has a portfolio of four power facilities with an aggregate capacity of 468 megawatts (MW) serving over eight million people in 14 cities and 11 provinces in Mindanao: the 103 MW Mapalad Power Corporation diesel plant in Iligan City; Southern Philippines Power Corporation’s 55 MW diesel plant in Alabel, Sarangani; the Western Mindanao Power Corporation’s 100 MW diesel plant in Zamboanga City; and the 210 MW Sarangani Energy Corporation baseload coal-fired power plant in Maasim, Sarangani.
For the long term, the company is slated to focus on renewables with the company’s first renewable energy facility, the P4.5 billion 14.5 MW hydroelectric power plant currently under construction at the Siguil River basin in Maasim, Sarangani, which will be the first of eight hydropower facilities that Alsons Power plans to develop. (Joshua John S. Pantonial/SARANGANI PROVINCIAL INFORMATION OFFICE)