ORMOC CITY, Leyte – The Ormoc City government, the Energy Development Corporation (EDC), and non-government organizations have sealed partnerships on Monday to make the city the country’s model for resilience and disaster preparedness.
A virtual signing of a memorandum of agreement was held on Monday among the EDC, city government, National Resilience Council (NRC), and the Carlos P. Romulo (CPR) Foundation to boost the city’s resilience and disaster preparedness capability.
Richard Tantoco, EDC president and chief operating officer, reiterated their commitment to helping Ormoc City maintain its climate resilience.
“Climate change is going to worsen and we really need to be more and more prepared, which is why we are proud of this partnership with NRC and Ormoc City,” Tantoco said during the virtual signing.
The EDC, according to Tantoco, will form a multisectoral forest protection task force including the creation of 10 pilot barangay emergency response teams.
He also discussed other plans, such as the rollout of a city-wide disaster risk preparedness and response information drive, offering to expand EDC’s role in the partnership.
“We’d like our geothermal facilities in Leyte to be the most robust power facility in the country so 2-3 days after a major disaster, the people of Ormoc will look up and see that there’s light and know that they can begin rebuilding their lives,” Tantoco added.
In response, Ormoc City Mayor Richard I. Gomez said that Ormoc, being vulnerable to natural disasters, has always considered advanced planning to prepare for calamities and the partnership with the EDC is one vital consideration.
He then thanked the NRC, EDC, and the CPR Foundation for choosing Ormoc as their partner in the Adopt-a-City program.
“I can’t wait for the program to start. The entire city is excited. I know that we will achieve stronger resilience, reduce deaths, and increase progress in our city. I want Ormoc to be a model city even if we are just medium-sized so that other cities will look up to the things that we do in Ormoc and in Leyte,” Gomez said.
He also thanked EDC, a Lopez-led geothermal company, for their assistance to the city during the pandemic such as putting up a molecular testing laboratory for coronavirus disease 2019.
For her part, NRC president Antonia Yulo-Loyzaga said they would like to take advantage of the vast experience and knowledge of EDC, the human knowledge and technical capacity of the Ormoc City government, and NRC’s work in building the partnership.
“Our work here in this partnership has a lot to do with valuing ecosystem services for climate change mitigation, adaptation, and disaster risk reduction,” Loyzaga added.
EDC’s Leyte geothermal facility has been supplying power to the province of Leyte and the rest of the Visayas regions for almost 40 years.
The company’s around 1,200-megawatt total installed capacity accounts for 62 percent of the country’s generated renewable energy and is responsible for putting EDC and the Philippines on the map as the world’s third-largest geothermal producer. (PNA)