First Gen employees hold 'hi-tech' tree-planting activity, raises funds for indigents in Batangas town

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 26 2020 06:12 AM

Members of two community organizations in Lobo, Batangas wave their hands to Lopez Group employees. Handout

MANILA - First Gen Corp employees held a "hi-tech" tree-planting activity, raising thousands of pesos for indigents in a Batangas town whose means of livelihood were hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Employees of First Gen and other volunteers from parent firm First Philippine Holdings Corp planted over a thousand mangrove saplings in Lobo, Batanagas virtually, the Lopez-led power unit said in a statement.

Volunteers of the Employee POWER (EmPOWER) Program conducted the "e-planting" activity on Sept. 19, with some employees joining the project from as far as Mindanao, First Gen said.

Volunteer employees get to choose their mangrove planting spot like "a theater seat booking" process, said Adrian Balicuatro, a volunteer of EmPOWER - the Lopez Group employees’ arm which implement civic and community projects.

Employees can choose their preferred mode of payment and "adopt" a mangrove seedling which costs P150 per piece, Balicuatro said.

Names of the volunteers are imprinted on a bamboo slat, placed beside the seedling as its marker, he added.

Employees who joined the tree planting in Lobo as virtual participants from Metro Manila and other parts of the country. Through an innovative e-Planting platform, the Lopez Group employees “booked” their participation by donating P150 for each tree sapling they adopted for the tree-planting activity. During the tree planting, the employees joined virtually through the Facebook and the Zoom software applications. Handout

Community recipients in Lobo belonging to organizations Olo-Olo Seaside Workers Association and Samahan ng Maliliit na Mangingisda sa Pangangalaga ng Kalikasan sa Brgy. Lagadlarin physically planted the seedlings, the firm said.

Donors joined the planting activity via Zoom and Facebook, First Gen said.

“The e-Planting highlights the spirit of Bayanihan through volunteerism. It has raised funds for families in Lobo whose means of livelihood from eco-tourism activities have been largely affected by the pandemic. At the same time, e-Planting allows us to express and reaffirm the Lopez Group’s commitment to a decarbonized and regenerative future,” said First Gen vice president Ramon Araneta.

Lobo, located 140 km south of the capital Manila was a popular tourist destination known for its white sand beaches until the pandemic halted tourist arrivals.

The group has raised funds for a total of 1,204 seedlings during the event, the company said.

The e-platform took shape with the help of pro-environment groups Project Center of Center and Create for the Climate initiatives. It provided a link between the FPH and First Gen volunteers and other organizations such as the local government of Lobo, the ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, and the Lobo Marine Environment Conservation Federation.