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Wind farm brings livelihood options to Guimaras villages

Residents of four host barangays of the 27 wind turbine generators (WTGs) of the San Lorenzo Wind Farm of the Trans-Asia Renewable Energy Corporation (TAREC) found livelihood opportunities as an offshoot of the project.

The provision of livelihood opportunities to barangays Cabano, M. Chavez, Cabungahan and Suclaran is part of the corporate social responsibility (CSR) of TAREC.

TAREC corporate affairs manager Karen B. Seno explained that they asked communities to propose a project, one way of making it sustainable instead of just giving them money, and thereafter were provided with training.

The skills training was spelled out under PUNLA (Progressive Undertaking for Nation-Building and Life-Enhancing Advocacies), specifically under the “Kabuhayan for sustainable economic development”.

Barangay Cabano opted for a training on beads and accessories making; Suclaran for herbal and artisan soap making; Cabungahan chose bamboo crafts and another project for M. Chavez. Punla has provided training to 11 active groups from host communities with 110 household beneficiaries.

A pasalubong center was also established in San Lorenzo, situated closer the wind turbine 17, which gives a 360 degrees view of all the 27 wind turbines.

Mary Vic Martir, councilor of Brgy. Suclaran, said that some 30 households from their barangay trained for the herbal and artisan soap making four months ago.

She said they found the project doable in anticipation of the influx of tourists in the area.

San Lorenzo has experienced increase in tourist arrivals more than three-fold a year after the wind farm has opened. At the provincial level, the arrival has increased by 68 percent from 2013 to 2016.

Meantime, aside from livelihood opportunities, host communities can still propose for projects that will be taken from the one centavo per kilowatt deposited to the trust fund of the Department of Energy (DOE). The trust fund, which is now at around PHP11 million, is mandated under the EPIRA Law.

“PHINMA has offered our help should they need help to prepare their proposals,” said Atty. Elijo Sharon R. Herrera-Bellones site lawyers for TAREC.

On Thursday, PHINMA hosted a media familiarization tour for selected Iloilo media for a closer look of their power plants and how their presence in Guimaras become mutually beneficial for the company and the province.

Perla G. Lena/PNA