Clean energy provider First Gen Corporation and 4 farmers’ organizations in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija, embarked on a reforestation project involving a 1,209-hectare portion of the Pantabangan-Carranglan Watershed Forest Reserve (PCWFR) as part of a program to protect and enhance the vital watershed area and provide income for the farmers.
Under the agreement, FG Hydro will provide the program design, as well as technical supervision in implementing the reforestation activities.
“As a source of irrigation water for thousands of hectares of farmlands in Central Luzon, PCWFR helps assure the country’s food security; and as source of water for power generation, it supports likewise our government’s drive not only for energy security but for more clean and renewable energy,” said First Gen senior vice president Dennis P. Gonzales.
The reforestation agreement, finalized recently by the parties, supports government efforts to fight climate change by creating a forest capable of absorbing large amounts of carbon dioxide, one of the heat-trapping greenhouse gases that aggravate climate change.
First Gen ’s subsidiaries – First Gas Power Corporation (FGPC), FGP Corp. (FGP), First NatGas Power Corp. (FNPC), and Prime Meridian Powergen Corporation (PMPC) – will implement and finance the reforestation project in collaboration with the Villanueve Farmers’ Association, Maluyon Indigenous Christian Farmers Association, Cadaclan Farmers’ Association, and Liberty Fisherman and Farmers Association. First Gen Hydro Power Corporation (FG Hydro) is also very much invested in the project.
The farmers groups will provide the manpower, expertise, equipment, and supplies – excluding seedlings and fertilizers – for replanting and for taking care of the seedlings.
Straddling portions of Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya and Aurora provinces, the PCWFR serves as sanctuary for various plant and animal life in Central Luzon. Aside from rivers and forests, the 84,000-hectare watershed area also hosts the Pantabangan Dam, considered one of Southeast Asia’s biggest dams and the source of crucial irrigation water for thousands of hectares of farms in Central Luzon.
First Gen considers PCWFR’s health important because Pantabangan Dam’s water generates electricity for First Gen Hydro’s 132-megawatt Pantabangan-Masiway hydroelectric power plants. First Gen Hydro also is scheduled to start construction of the 120-MW Aya Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Power Project within the year.