Pangasinan, Philippines – The Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) facilitated the engagement of a private sector’s support in financing the country’s biodiversity strategy in October 2017. Team Energy Foundation, Inc. (TEFI) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Manleluag Spring Protected Landscape (MSPL) (MSPL) to fund its Community Development Program.
TEFI is a non-stock, non-profit organization that is focused on national development by providing electricity, education, livelihood and health services and by supporting environmental programs and activities in areas where TeaM Energy* operates. The sites where the TeaM Energy operates, and where MSPL is located, have been identified by BIOFIN as a potential area for investment to protect the environment.
The Community Development Program aims to “develop Manleluag Spring Protected Landscape (MSPL) into a more viable and attractive ecotourism destination with ultimate goal of increasing revenue in order to attain sustainable financing.”
The Program costs PhP 750,000 (USD 14,850) – a third of which will be financed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) while the rest will be financed by TEFI under its corporate social responsibility program. The activities include, capability building for communities (culinary, handicrafts, bookkeeping, etc.); repair/rehabilitation of kiosks as Pasalubong Center (souvenir shop) and cafeteria; and provision of start-up capital to peoples’ organizations.
Ronald Allan Altamirano, Program Manager of TEFI, has expressed the Foundation’s willingness to fund MSPL’s biodiversity conservation activities beyond 2018.
“Promoting and practicing ecotourism in the Manleluag Spring Protected Landscape is one way to conserve and sustainably finance the protected area, which fits well with the Foundation’s advocacy to balance economic growth and sustainable development,” said Altamirano.
Before both parties forged the partnership, there was close coordination among TEFI, MPSL through its Park Superintendent Marlyn Banda, the Biodiversity Management Bureau through the National Parks Division, and BIOFIN to finalize the Program and terms of the MOA.
In addition, BIOFIN and the Biodiversity Management Bureau (BMB) are working with TEFI in providing technical assistance to Mts. Banahaw-San Cristobal Protected Landscape, another protected area, in terms of program development to obtain another funding opportunity from the Foundation.
Similar efforts have been undertaken by BIOFIN in collaboration with other private companies to narrow down the biodiversity financing gap. Smart Communications, Inc., Pacific Paint (Boysen) Philippines, Inc., Synnovate Pharma Corporation, Platinum Groups Metal Corporation, and Union Bank are a handful of the companies that respond to this initiative.
BIOFIN contributes to closing the financing gap for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity by identifying, accessing, combining and sequencing sources of biodiversity funding to finance the Philippine Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (PBSAP), the country’s roadmap to conserving its biodiversity. The PBSAP implementation will cost at least PhP 24 B/year or PhP 334 B from 2015-2028.
Public expenditure, however, was estimated at only PhP 4.9 B a year, leaving a gap of almost PhP 19 B annually. Thus, to address the gap, several finance solutions have been identified and piloted by BIOFIN. (BIOFIN/ Angelique Ogena)
*TeaM Energy, a partnership between noted Japanese firms Tokyo Electric Power Company and Marubeni Corporation, is one of the largest independent power producers in the Philippines, with over 2,000 megawatts (MW) of installed generating capacity.