SOLARES, SOCOTECO II, and partners conduct Ceremonial Unloading of 3,000 Solar Home System Units

Zoom screenshot

With the arrival of solar home system units to SOLARES partner electric cooperatives, SOCOTECO II celebrated this event on Monday morning through a ceremonial unloading and acceptance together with SOLARES implementers, Mahintana Foundation, Inc. and Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF) on April 19, 2021 at the SOCOTECO II Warehouse, Brgy. Apopong, General Santos City. Along with PEF, joining online were the National Electrification Administration (NEA), the Department of Energy (DOE), SOCOTECO II Board of Directors and staff, and Sino Soar Hybrid (Beijing) Technology Co,. Ltd. through Mr. Phoenix Zhang.

Mr. Martiniano L. Magdolot, president of Mahintana and project director of SOLARES, delivered the opening remarks by thanking European Union for the opportunity of implementing the project on renewable energy and sharing brief updates on the project and the active collaboration among multiple organizations for the SOLARES project. The Department of Energy gave their message of support through Mr. Marc Louie L. Olap, OIC, Rural Electrification Administration and Management Bureau; Ms. Alice de Guzman also expressed her support during the event. Mr. Zhang shared that it was a great honor to be participating in the event. He shared how from 2017, Sino Soar Hybrid (Beijing) Technology Co., Ltd. supplied the Philippines over 20,000 units and counting despite the difficulties faced during shipping amidst the pandemic. He hopes to continue contributing to bring more light to Mindanao and the whole country.

After the video presentation for the ceremonial unloading (as the units had arrived a few days before), SOCOTECO II through Mr. John Tindoy (SBU Coordinator) and Engr. Angelico Boiser (Area Engineer) facilitated the unboxing of the SHS package, showing functional components included in the box. In his message of acceptance, Mr. Geronimo D. Desesto, General Manager of SOCOTECO II recognized notable local and international dignitaries of the partnership in realizing SOLARES and their role of developing and supporting the renewable energy projects to remain relevant in the power sector.

Representing the Board of Directors of SOCOTECO II, vice president Fausto Y. Tan, Jr. delivered his message of acceptance, highlighting the impact of the SOLARES project to MAKIMA (Maasim, Kiamba, Maitum) areas in Sarangani. Mr. Jobe C. Tubigon, project manager of SOLARES thanked the participation of different partners during the event and their contribution to the implementation of the SOLARES project. He also shared to the group the next steps: distribution and installation of the SHS units to Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat areas.

Engr. Lowell Valiente (CPD), Mr. Fausto Tan, Jr., Mr. Magdolot, Mr. Desesto, Mr. Tubigon, and Ms. Liza D. Hora at the join inspection conducted by Mahintana Foundation, Inc. and SOCOTECO II.

Participants proceeded to inspect the units at the warehouse. SOCOTECO II, assisted by SOLARES project officers Engr. Jose Jerry Tayactac and Engr. Mohammad Alver Amanoddin, continued the inventory for the rest of the afternoon.

Participants observed safety protocols such as wearing of masks during the event.

SOLARES trains SOCOTECO II installers and verifiers for upcoming inventory, distribution, installation, and verification activities

The project staff conducted a training on Open Data Kit or ODK-based distribution, installation, and verification in preparation for the upcoming next phase of the project with the arrival of the solar home system (SHS) units for MAKIMA in April. The purpose of the training is to replace the use of paper in conducting SHS unit distribution, installation, and verification, and for the participants to have general knowledge and information on ODK-based forms.

15 verifiers, 13 installers, and 5 distributors completed the 2-day training on March 23-24, 2021 at the Greenleaf Hotel, General Santos City. Engr. Mohammad Alver Amanoddin and Engr. Jose Jerry Tayactac, project officers of SOLARES, facilitated the training. For Day 1, the project staff shared project updates regarding with the status of activities based on the project timeline, and formally conducted an ODK training. The team shared the general information on ODK and why it is important in project implementation. The prepared ODK-based forms were presented to the participants for their review and any questions and clarifications.

On Day 2, the team conducted a quick recap of Day 1 and a mock distribution, installation, and verification. SOCOTECO II SBUs brought 10 units of SHS and solar panels for the mock-up activity, and each installer to simulate installing and scanning the 10 units with corresponding correct bar codes of the battery and charge controller per system box. The group completed the mock-up within 4 hours (mock distribution to mock verification). Participants encountered minor problems: (1) mobile phones which took too long to recognize the bar code, (2) wrong recording of the numbers of the bar code, and (3) difficulty/errors when proceeding to the next page of the form.

For ease of bar code scanning, the bar codes must have a good light source. The team noticed if there is less light, the scan will record a different value. When provided with adequate light, the scan will be short and accurate. If the form will not proceed even with a correct bar code, the solution is to fill-up a new blank form.

After the mock-up activity, the team conducted an open forum for concerns, recommendations, and questions of the participants. Concerns included regarding the number of photos for the distribution form. With these, Engr. Amanoddin and Engr. Tayactac will be improving the form accordingly.

SOLARES conducts ODK Training to Bacbacan MPC

The SOLARES team through Engr. Dhan Jaycle Diolanto, project officer for Sultan Kudarat, conducted an Open Data Kit (ODK) Training for Bacbacan Multipurpose Cooperative (BMPC) at Lebak, Sultan Kudarat on February 23, 2021 as part of the project component on capacity building/technical assistance to partner cooperatives. Engr. Diolanto coordinated with BMPC regarding their need for knowledge on ODK forms for their loan applications, credit recommendation and approval, and membership applications. With this, the process of data gathering and management can be improved and made more efficient.

Engr. Diolanto (in black) with BMPC at the ODK Training

Flushing at Kinilis Potable Water System Rehabilitation Project

Mahintana, through its Ridge-to-Reef Program, conducted flushing and cleaning activities at the Agos Project – Kinilis Potable Water System at Prk. 8, Brgy Kinilis, Polomolok, South Cotabato. Mr. Ferdinand Frigillana, Municipal Health Office Sanitary Inspector facilitated the flushing and cleaning activities on January 28, 2021.
Flushing and cleaning is done to decontaminate the water system from bacteria using a chlorine solution. Water analysis results for three (3) consecutive sampling activities yielded positive to E. Coli, indicating the presence of micro bacteria in the system.

The nearby community was advised to refrain drinking water directly from the system during the process. The project informed them to store water good for two days, a day prior to the flushing and cleaning activities.

(L-R) Mr. Diamante with Mr. Frigillana discussing the process
(Right) Chlorine solution for water system flushing

Confirmatory water sampling and analysis will be conducted in mid-February.

Ridge-to-Reef joins the Silway River WQMA Action Planning

Mahintana through its Ridge-to-Reef Program, participated in the Gensan Silway River Water Quality Management Area (SR WQMA) Action Planning Workshop on January 27, 2021. The General Santos City action plan will cover 10 years.

Gensan’s City Environment and Natural Resources Office (City ENRO) facilitated the action planning workshop to formulate solutions for the Silway River concerning barangays Mabuhay, San Isidro, Apopong, Dadiangas North and West, City Heights, and Labangal.

The plan will cover SR WQMA stations 1-10 to address three major challenges in General Santos City. Mr. Allan Marcilla, City ENRO, presented the water quality monitoring result of a 3-year basis of SR-Gensan.

[Leftmost] City ENRO Allan Marcilla
at the SR WQMA Action Planing Workshop

During the workshop, it was shared to the group regarding the Zero Open Defecation billboard will be unveiled in February together with DENR-EMB XII.

TFP2K sets directions for 2021

Through the Ridge-to-Reef Program, Mahintana is actively involved in setting the direction of the Task Force Polomolok Kalikasan at Kaligtasan (TFP2K) together with Hon. Alan Ines, Committee Chariman of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) and Ecological Solid Waste Management (ESWM) of the Sangguniang Bayan (SB) of Polomolok and the Municipal Planning and Development Office (MPDO). The core group meeting on January 25, 2021 discussed TFP2K directions for the year.

TFP2K Core Group: Hon. Ines & MENRO Polomolok

As a result, there will be harmonization of tree growing priority areas among barangays, the LGU, Dole Philippines, Inc., and Mahintana through the Tree Growing Master Plan of Polomolok. Through a municipal ordinance, TFP2K will be institutionalized. TFP2K to conduct a study on tricycle windshield standards with Hon. Ines in coordination with the MTFRB, MDRRMO, and Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association (TODA). MENRO will review ordinances on Poultry and Responsible Livestock and Pet Ownership.

SOLARES completes Basic Electronics and Solar PV Installation Training

To equip the project team and partner electric coops with knowledge on proper installation of PV systems, SOLARES project organized the Basic Electronics and Solar PV Installation Training on October 29-30, 2020 at The Farm, Carpenter Hill, Koronadal City with resource speaker Engr. Oliver Tolentino, Technical and Operations Manager of Solarhub Photovoltaic Systems.

SOCOTECO II and SUKELCO along with the project team participated in the training. Engr. Tolentino facilitated the training with both lecture and hands-on sessions. He also recommended specialized tools for assembly and installation to ensure the quality of each process (from connector, cables, cords, to panels).

The hands-on demo of solar panel installation closed the first day of training.

Day 2 of the training included a visit to Solarhub Photovoltaic Systems office. Four REC 270W-panels powered a 1hp solar-powered submersible pump. Engr. Tolentino shared what factors to consider when installing panels and the impact of shading on the overall energy generated from the panel. He demonstrated by letting the participants adjust a fifth panel and observe changes through the inverter.

SOLARES Project made sure to observe safety protocols to properly minimize contact among participants such as wearing of mask and social distancing during the entire event.

SOLARES conducts Community Consultation/Validation at Maitum with barangay chieftains, IPMR, and NCIP

The SOLARES project team together with SOCOTECO II conducted a community consultation to 8 barangays of Maitum to continue project implementation in the area. Engr. Jay Amiel Ajoc, SOLARES project coordinator, briefly presented a project orientation to barangay chieftains, IPMR, and NCIP representatives for them to be informed of the project goal and its implementer, Mahintana Foundation, Inc. and its existing programs.

All the eight barangay chieftains agreed for SOLARES to continue project implementation covering barangays Wali, New La Union, Zion, Batian, Upo, Kalaneg, Kalaong, and Tuanadato. A resolution from IPS and NCIP regarding this approval will follow.

SOLARES Project made sure to observe safety protocols to properly minimize contact among participants such as wearing of mask and social distancing during the entire event. In preparation for the activity, the project staff informed the municipal local government unit regarding travel and conduct of the activity.