The Manobo-Apao Descendants of Ancestral Domain of Mt. Apo (MADADMA) Council of Elders, together with the Barangay Tribal Council (BTC) of Barangays Ilomavis and Balabag in Kidapawan City and Barangay Kawayan in Magpet, recently held their joint Samaya thanksgiving ritual in celebration of the benefits that they have received for hosting geothermal leader Energy Development Corporation’s (EDC) 108-megawatt Mount Apo Geothermal Project.
The benefits are monetary royalty equivalent to one centavo per kilowatt hour of energy that EDC generates in exchange for permission to operate in the ancestral domain of Mount Apo. The agreement was made in accordance with the free and prior informed consent granted by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to EDC in 2019. The consent allows EDC to continue operating its geothermal facility at the foot of Mount Apo, the country’s tallest mountain.
The tribal ritual held at Lake Agco in Kidapawan, Cotabato was attended by EDC representatives led by Atty. Allan V. Barcena, head of Corporate Social Responsibility–Public Relations (CSR–PR) Group; Norreen G. Bautista, head of Mount Apo and Negros site CSR teams; and Nancy Ibuna, CSR head office team lead.
“We are thankful to the MADADMA, BTC, and the Kidapawan and Magpet LGUs for being our partners in fighting climate change by allowing us to continue harnessing clean, renewable, reliable geothermal energy from their ancestral domain,” said Allan V. Barcena. “We value the trust that they have given us and will continue to provide support to improve their quality of life.”
The royalties that the IP communities will receive annually for the next 25 years will provide them with a steady source of funds that they can use for livelihood, health, education and other community empowerment programs.
“We truly appreciate the benefits that EDC continues to provide us for our tribe’s development and success,” said MADADMA chairman Datu Damaso Bayawan. “We did our Samaya thanksgiving ceremony to express our gratitude to EDC not only for the royalties but also for being there to help us rise up after the series of strong earthquakes that hit our province late last year.”
Datu Bayawan was referring to the disaster relief assistance that EDC provided to over 4,000 residents of Barangays Ilomavis and Balabag. EDC provided relief goods of rice, canned food, noodles, bottled water, medicines and tents apart from constructing makeshift toilets and giving them access to potable water at the evacuation center, where over 1,400 individuals were temporarily transferred for safety.
EDC is a global pioneer in the geothermal energy industry and the world’s largest vertically integrated geothermal developer, generating 1,457.8 megawatts of clean, stable and truly sustainable energy for the country.