CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
We care. We dare. At First Gen, these words are taken seriously and the Company continuously strives to find ways to (em) power the lives of Filipinos all over the country, and to transform their lives for the better. Through its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs, First Gen works towards nation building, social development, and environmental stewardship.
For 2017, these are the programs implemented by the CSR Team of First Gen and the Community Relations Group in each of its subsidiaries (excluding the CSR projects of EDC, which can be found in the EDC Performance Report).
First Gen is proudly a steward of the environment. Its environmental projects help improve and maintain natural areas surrounding its power projects that directly benefit its local host communities. Moreover, the projects actively seek to protect ecologically significant areas. These projects are supportive of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) 14 which is to conserve marine resources and ecosystems, as well as UN SDG 15, which is to promote the sustainable use of land ecosystems and halt biodiversity loss.
One of First Gen’s most significant environmental CSR efforts is Project Center of Center, which aims to protect the Verde Island Passage in Batangas—one of the richest and most diverse marine ecosystems in the world — from illegal fishing and destructive commercial activities. Since 2010, First Gen has been actively supporting the Bantay Dagat group. The Company’s aid in 2017 went to providing insurance for the Bantay Dagat patrollers in Batangas, and the training of new members.
The Company’s assistance also went to livelihood projects for Bantay Dagat members in the Municipality of Lobo, including the creation of the Lobo Marine Eco-Tourism. A community federation is tasked to run the ecotourism social enterprise that will showcase the area’s natural beauty and rich biodiversity to help raise awareness on the need for its protection while providing hard-working locals with access to decent work opportunities.
First Gen is likewise focused on protecting the biodiversity of major mountain ecosystems like Mt. Makiling in Laguna and the Pantabangan-Carranglan Watershed and Forest Reserve (PCWFR) in Nueva Ecija. The Company has been involved in restoring the natural vegetation of PCWFR in cooperation with the Diliman Science Research Foundation and the University of the Philippines – Institute of Biology.
Several tree planting and reforestation programs conducted throughout the year have helped make forests all over the country healthier and greener. One of First Gen’s finest tree planting efforts over the last few years has been in the Marikina Watershed. In partnership with Philippine Business for Social Progress, five hectares of trees were planted in 2017, in addition to five hectares that were planted in 2016. The trees planted last year are thriving, with a survival rate of over 80 percent for both the agroforestry and reforestation sites.
In Batangas, First Gen established a tree park with over 650 indigenous trees, and conducted an Orientation on Forest Restoration for the First Gen-Archdiocesan Ministry for the Environment Tree Nursery Project in partnership with EDC.
Damage to the ecosystem can also be minimized by taking care of established plantations and ensuring that these are not damaged by blight, insects, or fire. In cooperation with EDC’s BINH Greening Legacy (BINHI) program, First Gen also helped maintain a total of 848 hectares worth of plantations in Nueva Ecija. This benefitted four farmers associations: Cadaclan Farmers’ Association (CAFA), Villanueve Farmers’ Association (VIFA), Liberty Fisherman and Farmers’ Association (LFFA), and Maluyon Indigenous Christian Farmers’ Association (MICFA).
The First Gen Clean Energy Complex is home to a flourishing mangrove ecosystem, thanks to intervention from the Company. The Company successfully hosted a total of 1,927 volunteers to the site as they participated in 12 coastal clean-up activities at the shoreline of the Complex. The clean-up ensures that the mangroves, which are the first line of defense for ocean-borne storms and hurricanes, as well as other species, are able to thrive.
While taking direct action to preserve ecosystems is important, education is also one of the most powerful weapons in protecting the country’s natural resources and fighting climate change. To this end, the Company conducted the Create for the Climate Campaign. This is an information campaign on climate change mitigation and adaptation for grades 4 to 6 students, teachers and their parents that was conducted in five schools with participation from approximately 2,500 students. To apply their learning, a contest was conducted where students were asked to present projects/campaigns to spread awareness and mitigate the effects of climate change.
Access to inclusive and quality education is important to First Gen, which espouses the Lopez value of social justice. In support of UN SDG 4, which focuses on education as the foundation of sustainable development, First Gen engages in a number of initiatives that support schools with the hope of opening up greater opportunities for students to learn.
An environment that is conducive to learning is of paramount importance to students. First Gen once again (as it has for the last 15 years) participated in Brigada Eskwela, a Department of Education (DepEd) initiative inviting government agencies and private organizations to prepare schools for the new school year. In 2017, the Company participated in the repair and rehabilitation of 13 schools throughout the country. Moreover, First Gen continues to distribute school supplies and support several programs that help students finish their elementary education.
As many Filipinos are still in areas with no access to power, First Gen found the perfect opportunity to bring its goals of “powering” lives and educating people together. Partnering with DepEd, First Gen funded the installation of solar panels for an off-grid school in Tanay, Rizal as a pilot community electrification project. With this much-needed electricity, the students from this school now have light in their classrooms, teachers can now print educational materials, and access to information technology is made possible. This benefitted a total of 238 students, as well as faculty and administrators.
First Gen is also a believer in the Filipino talent and supports young Filipinos that yearn to develop their craft in field of arts and culture. To this end, First Gen has teamed up with Ang Misyon, an organization that helps cultivate a Philippine presence in the global performing arts scene, to support the Orchestra of the Filipino Youth (OFY). The OFY is an ensemble of young gifted musicians from underprivileged families whose members are selected for their talent, passion, and need. The OFY scholars have rendered over 100 performances in locations such as the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), Silliman University in Dumaguete, the University of San Agustin in Iloilo, and even in Malaysia and the US.
COMMUNITY HEALTH AND SAFETY
Another top priority of First Gen is to ensure the safety and health of the residents of its host communities. Healthy communities are a sign of progress and spur national development. In support of UN SDG 3, or ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all ages, the Company regularly provides its communities with basic health services and access to medicine.
For 2017, the Company rolled out a robust series of health missions, including medical, optical, and dental checks, which helped keep over 16,000 individuals in host communities fit and healthy. In addition, First Gen also helped train 52 barangay health workers in emergency response and disaster preparedness.
Aside from being a major employer in its host communities, First Gen provides skills training for residents to drive productivity in the area. By providing ways for the unemployed or underemployed to be more productive, First Gen is helping support UN SDG 8: promoting sustained, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth. Among others, First Gen offers in-demand skills training, such as shielded metal arc welding, gas tungsten arc welding, and basic cosmetology.
First Gen has also taken over the direct implementation of EDC’s BINHI program for areas near PMHEP. Aside from being a reforestation program, BINHI also helps local farmers earn money by employing them to patrol protected areas, assist in planting trees and maintaining nurseries, and perform many other tasks that need to be carried out to oversee the reforestation effort. This not only gives them a steady source of supplemental income, but also helps them get directly involved with improving their communities by providing food and protecting the local ecosystems.
DISASTER RESPONSE & RELIEF
In the aftermath of a natural disaster, First Gen’s goal as a Company is that it is able to respond quickly, save lives and mitigate damages.
In 2017, First Gen spearheaded the development of the ALERT Center in Batangas City. ALERT is designed to facilitate the response to disasters like fires, floods, typhoons, and earthquakes, for barangays in Batangas that are not easily reached by fire trucks and other disaster response vehicles. The project was in partnership with the Provincial Government of Batangas, the City Government of Batangas, the Bureau of Fire Protection, and Barangays Bolbok, Sta. Rita Aplaya and Sta. Rita Karsada.
First Gen also provided aid for several relief efforts. This included donations and purchasing relief goods, which went to the refugees of the Marawi crisis, as well as natural calamities throughout the year.
Making positive change happen is part of the First Gen culture. Close to 20.0 percent of First Gen employees volunteered for the Building Homes and Building Lives with Gawad Kalinga. These employees participated in house building activities, medical missions, and the Paraisong Pambata program, which gathers children affected by typhoons, and gives them a place where they will be cared for. More than 100 employees also volunteered for DepEd’s Brigada Eskwela and went to Bacoor, Cavite to assist in the program.
Through the generosity of First Gen employees, enough funds were raised to provide scholarships to three college students—from their first year until they graduated—through the EmPOWER Scholarships program. Two of these students have graduated with degrees in mechanical engineering, have passed their board exams, and are now employed.
The Company’s environmental advocacy is also demonstrated through its employees, through their participation in the Protect-A-Watershed Program. These employees visited the Marikina Watershed area and participated in restoration efforts to help preserve the local ecosystem.
To cap off the year, First Gen employees conducted the annual Red Bags Campaign This outreach program raises funds through generous employee donations. Amounts raised are used to purchase Noche Buena meals for marginalized communities and orphanages. In 2017, First Gen raised a total of PHP 0.5 million in donations for the program, and 178 employees volunteered to distribute a total of 1,000 red bags to 11 different beneficiary institutions, among them hospitals, homes for the elderly, and socio-civic organizations, as well as host barangays.
As a leading world-class Filipino energy Company, First Gen is committed to being a partner in nation-building and community development. Mindful of the Lopez Values, every CSR project undertaken aims to achieve a long-term benefit to the country and its present and future generations.