SOLARES Project Orientation, MOA/MOU Signing and Project Inception/Planning Workshop

As part of the preparatory activities and to establish a common understanding and commitment from project partners and beneficiaries, the EU-funded SOLARES project conducted a Project Orientation and MOA/MOU Signing on May 30, 2019 held at Avior Hotel, Santiago Blvd., General Santos City. The event was graced by key actors in the energy sector (Dole Philippines, Inc., Peace and Equity Foundation, Inc., SUKELCO, SOCOTECO II) and the Microfinance Institutions (PAMULCO, KIMEMCO, KPS-Seed MFI, Sta. Cruz MPC, Bacbacan MPC). Over 100 participants were present including Brgy. Captains and top officials & representatives from partner LGUs and Brgys. in Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani areas.

The activity was an avenue to update the project partners/beneficiaries on the status/progress of the project especially on some changes of the project proposal and budget (i.e. change in SHS technical design/specs, project sites, implementation arrangements, etc.).  The program preliminaries included the project overview presentation delivered by the SOLARES Project Manager Mr. Jobe C. Tubigon and messages of support from key stakeholders and partners. Governor Steve Chlongbian-Solon of Sarangani Province also graced the event and verbalized his commitment and support for the implementation of the project.

The ceremonious signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)/Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) followed afterwards which aims to gain/secure commitment from project partners and to ensure effective and sustainable implementation of the project. The signatories were Dolefil’s VP & Managing Director Mr. Randy Fleming, PEF Executive Director Mr. Robert Calingo, Mahintana President & CEO Mr. Martiniano Magdolot, SUKELCO BOD President Mr. David Batayola & SOCOTECO II BOD President Mr. Jose Santos. This intimate gathering ended with a brief networking and socialization among the guests and participants.

The Project Orientation also consist of a 2-day Project Inception/Planning Workshop on May 30-31, 2019, held right after the MOA/MOU Signing event. The workshop brought together the SOLARES project management/implementation team from Mahintana and PEF together with ECs SUKELCO & SOCOTECO 2 and five (5) Microfinance Institutions represented by their Chairperson, Manager and Bookkeeper/Finance Officer to further discuss about the project deliverables and expected outcomes.

More specifically, the workshop provided an opportunity for all potential partners to review & assess project timelines of the planned activities, especially on the technical design, implementation arrangements and strategies on SHS eletrification and livelihood components and to develop an action plan for the key activities.

The Stone Dike Technology: Innovation that Helps Mitigate Soil Erosion in the Gullies

Mahintana Foundation, Inc., continues to think outside the box in the conservation, preservation and protection of the environment particularly around the Mt. Matutum Protective Landscape (MMPL). To mitigate the soil erosion that usually occur in the plantation gullies, the organization innovated a technology that uses indigenous materials found in the locality such as large rocks, used fishnets from the fishing industries in General Santos City, and malabago trees, thus, the birth of the stone dike technology. The technology was purposely constructed in scoured gully banks to prevent their further damage.

The ceremonial construction of the stone dike was conducted on August 10, 2018 at Gully 116A/101C, Upper Klinan, Polomolok, South Cotabato as one of the activities of the 41st anniversary celebration of Mahintana and SRC. From its construction to present, the stone dikes were able to allow sedimentation that increased the vegetation around the dikes and stabilized the gully banks by protecting them from further scouring. Other stone dikes were constructed in 110A/109C Cannery and 113C/112B/113B Polo.

SOLARES Consultation Meeting with SUKELCO, SOCOTECO II & Dole Philippines, Inc.

To ensure that the Solar Home System (SHS) technical design and other implementation/procurement arrangements will be effectively and efficiently carried out, the Strengthening Off-grid Lighting with Appropriate Renewable Energy Solutions (SOLARES) project facilitated a Consultation Meeting on May 3, 2019 held at Dole Kalsangi Clubhouse, Polomolok, South Cotabato. In attendance were members/management staff from Electric Coops’ SUKELCO and SOCOTECO II. Also present were Dolefil’s Directors Atty. Renato N. Alvarez and Mr. Yohei Kagikawa and DPO Manager Wilson A. Peria.  Mahintana sought the expertise of the ECs as they have experiences in implementing ASEP’s PVM Window 1 Project.

Project Manager Jobe C. Tubigon presented the SOLARES project overview, objectives, expected impact & outcomes, the SHS package and Procurement and installation timeline. His presentation also included the composition and functions of different groups such as the Technical Working Group, Technical & Financial team and the Advisory group. Additional members were added to ensure that the preparation, review & evaluation of bid documents will be in accordance to EU’s procurement standards and requirements.

The demonstration of the SHS technical specifications followed afterwards. Engr. Jay Amiel Ajoc explained the system functions, battery capacity and the load vending management scheme.

Currently, the project is conducting profiling, validation and social marketing while waiting for EU’s approval of the amendments of the contract particularly on change of SHS technical design/specs, project sites, and budget reallocation. Once approved, the posting/publication of bidding documents will follow. The group were able to share their suggestions and views to ensure that the right implementation/procurement arrangements & mechanisms will be applied.

Mahintana Foundation, Inc. in partnership with Peace and Equity Foundation, Electric Coops’ SUKELCO and SOCOTECO II is implementing the EU-funded SOLARES project for 3 years.

Mahintana and SPECTRUM train partners with ODK

In partnership with Mahintana Foundation, Inc., Sarangani Province Empowerment and Community Transformation Forum, Inc. (SPECTRUM) conducted a Community-Based Waste Collection and Monitoring using Open Data Kit (ODK) Training on May 3, 2019 at Blue Room, Esma Restaurant, Brgy. Cannery Site, Polomolok.

The training was aimed to capacitate Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO)–Maasim, Barangay Local Government Units of Brgy. Kawas, Alabel, Brgy. Sapu Masla, Malapatan, Brgy. Tinoto, Maasim, and Brgys. Bula and Baluan, General Santos City as well as People Organizations (PO) to utilize ODK as a data gathering and monitoring tool for the coastal clean – up activities held at the abovementioned areas under the Project entitled Reducing the Effects of Destructive and Improper Plastic Waste Disposal through Upgraded Community Engagement or Project REDUCE which was implemented by the Coca-Cola Foundation and SPECTRUM. The project aims to protect and conserve Sarangani Bay from the inimical effects of poor plastic waste disposal.

SOLARES conducts Project Orientation and Consultation Meeting with the Local MFIs

On April 24, 2019, the Strengthening Off-grid Lighting with Appropriate Renewable Energy Solutions (SOLARES) project team facilitated a Consultation Meeting/Project Orientation together with local Microfinance Institutions (MFIs)held at Dolefil Kalsangi Clubhouse, Polomolok, South Cotabato. Representatives from five (5) MFIs namely: (1) KPS-SEED; (2) MDFI; (3) Sta. Cruz MPC; (4) KIMEMCO; and (5) Bacbacan MPC were in attendance. The purpose of the activity was to present the project overview and opportunities for future partnership and to gain the full support and engagement of the local MFIs.

Through Skype video conferencing, Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF) Project Coordinator Ms. Shunie Pearl Palacion, shared about PEF’s history and overview as a development financing organization engaged in the promotion and development of social enterprises. She also talked about partnership guidelines & requirements and answered the queries and concerns of the attendees. SOLARES Project Manager presented the SOLARES project overview/framework, Solar Home System technical design/specs, operational flowchart, and project management and implementation plan. He emphasized that the MFI’s role to provide access to livelihood support to household beneficiaries of the project to help improve their income opportunities and capacity to pay for the maintenance fees of SHS systems. 

Project Officer Engr. Jose Jerry Tayactac initiated the demonstration of the Solar Home System (SHS) and explained the basic operation/installation process and explained in detail the charging process, battery capacity, prepaid loading system and the maintenance of the SHS unit.

Earth Day Convergence Celebrated through SCUBAsurero

In celebration of International Earth Day, LGU-Gensan and other local stakeholders and partners including Sarangani Province Empowerment and Community Transformation Forum, Inc. (SPECTRUM) and RD Foundation Inc., co-implemented the “EARTH DAY CONVERGENCE”: a Multistakeholders Coastal Clean-up, SCUBAsurero and Youth Day Forum on April 22, 2019 which were participated by Protected Area Management Board – Sarangani Bay Protected Seascape (PAMB – SBPS), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) – XII, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), EDUKAR Scholars, RMFB XII, GSC Tourism Council, CEMCDO, City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO)–Gensan, USAID, SOX Free Divers, Brigada Group of Companies and other NGOs with Miss Earth Southern Mindanao Philippines, Ms. Patricia Maye Hoffman. Approximately 700 participants joined the activity. total of 609 Kgs. or 12 sacks of residual waste were collected from coastal area and underwater which the data was immediately consolidated by SPECTRUM.

SPECTRUM in partnership with The Coca-Cola Foundation is implementing the Project entitled Reducing the Effects of Destructive and Improper Plastic Waste Disposal through Upgraded Community Engagement or Project REDUCE. This project aims to protect and conserve Sarangani Bay from the inimical effects of poor plastic waste disposal.

SOLARES Project Team presents during the Maitum ABC Meeting

On April 8, 2019, the SOLARES Project Team together with SOCOTECO II SBU Representative John Tindoy joined the ABC Meeting at Maitum, Sarangani to present the SOLARES project and demonstrate the stand-alone photovoltaic system to the Brgy. Captains.

Mr. Jobe Tubigon, SOLARES Project Manager, briefly introduced the Solares project highlighting its framework, objectives and sustainability mechanism. He explained about the installation process as well as the payment scheme, where the member-consumer (MC) shall pay a monthly fee amounting to Php222 which will cover up all the maintenance, spare parts and troubleshooting of the Solar Home System (SHS) units. The overall installation process will be covered by the project with no further cost for the MC.

Mr. Tindoy together with the SOLARES project officers demonstrated and explained the basic operation of the SHS unit which includes its charging, capacity, loading system and maintenance. He also explained that the project beneficiaries will automatically become members of SOCOTECO II and are also entitled to all the benefits provided by the EC.

The barangay captains of Maitum, Sarangani showed interest and positive response in the SOLARES Project and committed to provide assistance if ever needed by the project team to help in the project implementation.

Mahintana demonstrates PPDO Hydraulic Machine

In partnership with the the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO), Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC), and the BLGU – San Jose & San Miguel, Banga and BLGU Magsaysay, Polomolok, Mahintana conducted a hydraulic machine orientation on March 27, 2019 at Banga River, Brgy. San Jose, Banga. The activity aims to educate the partners who are willing to adopt the indigenous bamboo dike technology, a technology originating from Brgy. Naci, Surallah. Tribal Leaders Development Foundation Inc. (TLDFI) and Municipality of Surallah were the first developed the design of the drilling machine.

Mahintana partnered with the organizations and adopted the bamboo dike technology and the drilling machine with modifications. During the orientation, the participants were taught the proper usage and maintenance. It was agreed that partner BLGUs who are interested to have the machine shall conduct community consultation first before implementing the bamboo dike establishment.

BBTGF undergoes Orientation, Paralegal Training and FrontlineSMS System Training

The Barangay Bantay Gully Task Force (BBTGF) underwent BBGTF Orientation, MOA Paralegal and FrontlineSMS System Training was held on March 26, 2019 at Esma Restaurant, Brgy. Cannery Site, Polomolok. A total of 81 participants, coming from the LGU Polomolok, MENRO-Polomolok, CENRO-Buayan, furniture shop owners, and partner BLGUs (Landan, Cannery Site, Kinilis, Maligo, Lamcaliaf, Polo, Upper Klinan, and Pobalcion) attended the training.

The activity aims to help capacitate the BBGTF members and Furniture Shop Owners about forestry/environment and natural resources laws and its enforcement and equip BBGTF enforcers on FrontlineSMS System & other monitoring methods for effective implementation of the laws and ordinances and protection of the natural resources. Hon. Mayor Honey Lumayag-Matti led the oath taking of responsibility by the BBGTF Enforcers and MENRO Enforcers. DENR XII Chief Enforcement DivisionForester Dirie P. Macabaning and Forester Efren P. Hibaler presented the laws pertaining to Environment and Natural Resources. LGU Polomolok Project and Evaluation Officer Engr. Danny Pelias trained the BBGTF on how to collect information via text messaging. The system is a free open source software that works without an internet connection which is more applicable for the BBGTF who works on field.   

SOLARES Team attends the Solar PV Mainstreaming Project Joint Meeting

The SOLARES project staff headed by Mr. Jobe C. Tubigon, Project Manager, participated in the Solar PV Mainstreaming Project Joint Meeting/Window 2 Design Workshop held at Socoteco II Seminar Hall in General Santos City on February 26, 2019. The purpose of the workshop was to review the Solar Home System (SHS) or Photovoltaic (PV) Mainstreaming Window I implementation experience in Mindanao and identify lessons learned to simplify and improve SHS Window II implementation. PV Mainstreaming is a Department of Energy (DoE) initiative, supported by the World Bank’s Access to Sustainable Energy in the Philippines (ASEP) Programme.

Electric Cooperatives (ECs) presented their Window I experiences on the preparation, procurement, marketing, installation & verification phases. The group were also able to brainstorm together and complement actions to improve its mechanics for Window II.  It was also an opportunity for Mahintana to harmonize the SHS technical design/specifications, the target areas and sustainability mechanisms of PVM with the SOLARES project.

World Bank Consultant Mr. Ian Driscall presented the Renewable Energy for Rural Electrification (RE4RE) system, a GIS platform developed to strengthen the impact of electrification projects fostering access to electrical services. The platform makes information available to aid in decision making on energy-related projects and monitoring the progress of ongoing projects.

The attendees were key staff and officers from different Electric Coops (ECs) namely: SUKELCO, FIBECO, COTELCO, Socoteco II, DASURECO and BUSECO. Also present were representatives from the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), Yamog organization, National Electrification Administration (NEA) and Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF).