By Angelique F. Ogena*
Pangasinan, Philippines – BIOFIN has helped engage the private sector to support financing of the Philippines biodiversity strategy in October, through a new partnership between a large energy company's foundation and a protected area. Team Energy Foundation, Inc. (TEFI) signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Manleluag Spring Protected Landscape (MSPL) and will fund its Community Development Program for Communities.
TEFI is a non-profit organization (formed by Energy company TeaM Energy) focused on national development by providing electricity, education, livelihood and health services and by supporting environmental programs and activities in areas where TeaM Energy operates. The sites where the TeaM Energy operates, and where MSPL is located, was identified by BIOFIN as a potential area for investment to protect the environment.
The Community Development Program for Communities aims to to develop Manleluag Spring Protected Landscape (MSPL) into a more viable and attractive ecotourism destination with the ultimate goal of increasing revenue in order to attain sustainable financing.
The Program costs a total of PhP 750,000 (USD 14,850), a third of which will be financed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) while the rest will be financed by TEFI under its corporate social responsibility program. The activities include: Capability building for communities (culinary, handicrafts, bookkeeping, etc.); repair/rehabilitation of kiosks as Pasalubong Center (souvenir shop) and cafeteria; and provision of start-up capital to peoples’ organizations.
Ronald Allan Altamirano, Program Manager of TEFI, has expressed the Foundation’s willingness to fund MSPL’s biodiversity conservation activities beyond 2018. “Promoting and practicing ecotourism in the Manleluag Spring Protected Landscape is one way to conserve and sustainably finance the protected area, which fits well with the Foundation’s advocacy to balance economic growth and sustainable development,” he said.
Before both parties forged the partnership, there was close coordination among the TEFI, MPSL through its Park Superintendent Marlyn Banda, the Biodiversity Management Bureau through the National Parks Division, and BIOFIN to finalise the program and terms of the MOA.
Currently, BIOFIN and BMB are working with TEFI and providing technical assistance to Mts. Banahaw-San Cristobal Protected Landscape, another protected area, to hopefully facilitate another funding opportunity from the Foundation. BIOFIN also works with other private companies finance conservation projects. Some of these include Smart Communications, Inc., Pacific Paint (Boysen) Philippines, Inc., Synnovate Pharma Corporation, Platinum Groups Metal Corporation, and Union Bank.
BIOFIN contributes to closing the financing gap for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity by identifying, accessing, combining and sequencing sources of biodiversity funding to finance the Philippine Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (PBSAP), the country’s roadmap to conserving its biodiversity. The PBSAP implementation will cost PhP 24B/year or PhP 334B (USD 7.4 billion) from 2015-2028.
However, public expenditure was estimated at only PhP 4.9B/year (USD 110M) thus a gap of almost PhP 19B (USD 349M) annually was determined. Several finance solutions to address the gap were identified and are being piloted by BIOFIN at present.
Photo credits: Team Energy Foundation, Inc.
*BIOFIN Philippines Information and Communications Assistant, firstname.lastname@example.org