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Two Cavite MSMEs get Halal certified


Cavite-based small enterprises Absmush Mushroom and Project Beans Trading received
Halal Certification from the Malaysian Halal Consultation and Training Agency –
International Halal Integrity Alliance (MHCTA-IHIA) for Halal Standards. Executive Director
Prof. Dr. Rafek Saleh of the MHCTA-IHIA and Director/Consultant Dr. Jane Tranquilan of
the MHCT-Philippines personally awarded the certificates to Ms. Mharlyn Rubrico, owner of
Absmush, and Mr. Alvin Causing, owner of Project Beans.

The Department of Science and Technology – CALABARZON (DOST-CALABARZON)
through Assistant Regional Director Engr. Francisco R. Barquilla III, Halal Project
Coordinator Ms. Agnes Morales, and DOST-Cavite Provincial S&T Director Ms. Gilda S. De
Jesus facilitated the awarding ceremony.

During the awarding, Ms. De Jesus delivered a message in continuous support of the improvement of business operations of the two enterprises and other Cavite-based small
businesses through the introduction of S&T interventions. She also highlighted the importance of food safety and Halal Certification in gaining more access in Islamic markets.

Engr. Barquilla also expressed his gratitude to Dr. Saleh and Dr. Tranquilan for their
assistance to the DOST-CALABARZON and to the two featured enterprises in the
achievement of the Halal Certification of the latter. He noted the value of this Certification
as proof of hard work and commitment to achieve high quality products.

Ms. Rubrico of Absmush thanked DOST-CALABARZON and MHCTA-IHIA, and said that
the certification would not only enhance customer confidence in their products but also
open market opportunities with great potential for growth. Similarly, Mr. Causing of Project
Beans shared that “this Certificate symbolizes [not only] our seal of compliance to Halal
standards [but also] our perseverance to achieve this feat.”

In her closing message, Ms. Morales recalled that when she and the team started to
advocate about the Halal program, nobody seemed to be concerned, until Absmush and
Project Beans heeded the call to undergo the Halal Certification process. “Their dedication
and determination paved the way on achieving this far—to be Halal certified with products
that conform to Halal standards.”| – BNN

DENR CALABARZON forges partnerships for the development of a 10-hectare Bamboo Plantation in Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape


CALAMBA City, Laguna – A quadripartite Memorandum of Agreement among the Department of Environment and Natural Resources CALABARZON Region, Tribal Council Association of Puray Inc. (TCAPI), Bamboo Professionals Inc. (BPI), and Rotary District Club 3780 for the adoption of the 10-hectare plantation in Marikina River Watershed was signed on July 11, 2022, at DENR Central Office, Visayas Avenue, Quezon City. 

The 10-hectare plantation is located at Sitio Macapicapic, Brgy. Puray, San Rafael, Rodriguez, Rizal within the Upper Marikina River Basin Protected Landscape (UMRBPL). The said plantation is an NGP graduated site established in 2013. 

Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Council (PBIDC) Executive Director Rene “Butch” Madarang presented their projects aligned with Rotary International’s 7th area of focus which is protecting the environment. “We have 62 bamboo species available in the country where 21 are endemic and 41 are introduced,” Madarang said. 

“There is a need to address the root causes of the flooding, which is climate change and the denudation of the country’s watersheds” Director Madarang added. He also explained that bamboo has proven climate change mitigation properties such as soil stabilization, and carbon capture that cleans the air according to the research or studies of international and local experts. 

Director Madarang ended his presentation with “kung sama sama, tulong tulong ay kayang kaya. May kasabihan na ‘if coconut is a tree of life, bamboo is a green grass of hope”. 

The DENR CALABARZON was represented by For. Herminigildo C. Jocson, the Regional National Greening Program (NGP) Coordinator and focal person of Tayo ang Kaikasan (TAK) Task Force during the signing of the agreement. “Isa sa mga prioridad ng DENR ay palawigin pa ang National Greening Program na nakapaloob sa Tayo Ang Kalikasan (TAK)” Jocson said. 

He expressed “salamat po sa pagtutulungan para sa ating kapaligiran, tayo po ang kalikasan, ang kalikasan ay buhay dapat nating ipaglaban”. 

In the agreement, there are two (2) phases for the bamboo plantation project. The initial phase was the establishment of the nursery which includes the growing of bamboo planting materials for six (6) to eight (8) months. To be followed by the transplanting of grown bamboo planting materials within the allocated 10-hectare land. TCAPI will maintain and protect the said area for 5 (five) years.

Moreover, Rotary District 3780 handed the check amounting to Php 500,000.00 to TCPI President Angelito Cruz to fund the project.  President Cruz expressed his gratitude for choosing their organization for the bamboo plantation project.|

AboitizPower set to build binary geothermal plant in Albay


Aboitiz Power Corporation (AboitizPower) is strengthening its bid to grow its RE portfolio in the next decade with plans to build a binary plant in Tiwi, Albay.

Through its subsidiary AP Renewables, Inc. (APRI), the company is set to construct a binary geothermal power plant that will utilize excess heat from spent brine at the Tiwi geothermal facility — the country’s first geothermal power plant — generating an additional 17 megawatts (MW) gross capacity of clean and renewable energy for the grid.

“The expansion of our Cleanergy portfolio isn’t solely hinged on acquisitions or the construction of big-ticket projects. At AboitizPower, and within the Aboitiz Group, we always seek ways to optimize available resources. This project is a testament to that,” AboitizPower President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel V. Rubio said.

The Tiwi binary plant will be built from the ground up with an entirely new binary plant system, pipes, and transmission line. Last April 29, APRI signed an agreement with its steam provider for the supply of brine that will fuel the binary facility. Construction on the project is targeted for completion at the end of 2023. 

Geothermal energy, which is a form of renewable energy, comes from the heat of the earth, produced by drilling holes into the ground to tap steam—or the hot water rising to the surface of the earth—from geothermal reservoirs. Residual heat from the hot brine side of the geothermal production process that is otherwise discarded is harvested to produce electricity through the binary geothermal power plant. 

“We are determined to further grow our Cleanergy portfolio in the next 10 years and will pursue every reasonable opportunity to do so,” said Rubio. 

APRI President and Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Estrella explained that the concept of recovering heat from geothermal brine and converting it into electricity is a novel solution that increases the overall generation productivity from the Tiwi geothermal facility.

“This project is meant to recycle our by-product and turn it into productive energy in the form of electricity, through the addition of a binary plant. We are always keen on investing in improvements and technical innovations that extend the useful life and improve the output of our renewable energy assets,” he said.

AboitizPower’s geothermal, hydro, and solar facilities across the Philippines compose Cleanergy, the company’s clean and renewable energy brand.

Since acquiring the Tiwi-MakBan complexes in 2009, AboitizPower has invested in the rehabilitation of the facilities to improve performance and extend their operating life. The project took on its first debt financing in 2016, following a successful revamp, with the backing of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) through the issuance of the first Climate Bond in Asia and the Pacific.

AboitizPower envisions a 50:50 balance between its renewable and thermal portfolios by 2030, further growing its Cleanergy capacity along the way in an effort to help build the country’s RE market and contribute to the global RE goals.|-BNN / pr

SteelAsia chooses Tenova for its Green Technology to promote sustainability


SteelAsia Manufacturing Corp. plans to start the operations of the country’s first industrial-scale melt shop in 2024 using the latest green technology from Tenova, a top executive said over the weekend.

“Our company’s long-term vision is to develop the Philippine steel industry because this is the backbone of industrialization. We have seen our neighboring Asian countries grow faster because they can manufacture their steel. The Philippines needs to catch up. As we do so, we want our technology to be at par with global standards in efficiency and environmental sustainability,” said Benjamin O. Yao, President and CEO of SteelAsia.

Tenova, a leading developer and provider of sustainable solutions for the green transition of the metals industry, and SteelAsia Manufacturing Corporation, the flagship steel manufacturing company in the Philippines, recently inked a partnership for Consteel® Evolution, a state-of-the-art low-impact technology for steel manufacturing. It will be the first of its kind in the country and will be employed in SteelAsia’s new melt shop in Lemery, Batangas, in 2024.

(Seated L-R) Sean Andre Y. Sy, Chief Operating Officer, SteelAsia; Paolo Stagnoli, Commercial Director for Electric Arc and Ladle Furnaces, Tenova; Benjamin O. Yao, President & CEO, SteelAsia; Davide Masoero, Area Manager for Europe, Melt Shops, Tenova; (Standing L-R) SteelAsia Executives Rafael C. Hidalgo, Senior Vice President for Business Development; David Wu, Consultant; Derek Matthew Y. Yu, Vice President for Engineering, Procurement and Construction; and Pek Hoong Chong, Chief Technical Officer.

In order to guarantee the seamless operation of the entire line, Tenova scope of work includes the EAF (Electric Arc Furnace) Consteel® Evolution, the secondary metallurgy station, the billet caster, the Fume Treatment Plant (FTP) and the material handling systems, along with all engineering services for the civil works and the balance of plant.

The new Consteel® Evolution melt shop will recycle local scrap metal to produce high-grade billets for steel sections. The advanced Lemery facility will also be one of the cleanest steel plants in the world. It will generate the lowest carbon emission, providing Filipinos with top-quality steel sections produced with the most environmentally friendly technology.

The Consteel® Evolution technology saves energy, decarbonizes steel production, and reduces environmental impacts through efficient energy recovery and pollution control innovations. Scrap metal is a vital national resource used in steel production with low carbon emission, and SteelAsia targets to increase its output by maximizing the use of scrap metal.

Across many countries, there has been a shift from ore-based steel production to scrap recycling-based due to the global industry’s growing desire to reduce emissions and dependence on coal. SteelAsia’s partnership with Tenova to further pursue its decarbonization efforts aims to make steel production more sustainable without compromising its output and financial returns.

The company operates six manufacturing plants across the country, located in Bulacan, Batangas, Cebu, Davao, and Misamis Oriental. It is expected to open its seventh plant this year, located in Compostela, Cebu, and increase its output from 2 million metric tons of steel annually to 3 million metric tons.

Thanks to our partnership with Tenova, we can increase our steel productivity to support nation-building while ensuring that we also take care of the environment.”“Thanks to Tenova’s continuous efforts to enable a more sustainable metals production, SteelAsia found in our portfolio the most suitable technologies to produce high-quality steel from recycled scrap. We are honored to support SteelAsia in the green industrial development of the Philippines,” commented Paolo Stagnoli, Commercial Director Electric Arc & Ladle Furnace in Tenova.| – BNN/pr

‘BBM will be a great president’ – Romualdez


HOUSE Majority Leader and Leyte 1st district Rep. Martin G. Romualdez on Thursday said President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. “will be a great President.”

Romualdez joined the Filipino people in celebrating BBM’s inauguration as the country’s 17th President.

“He made history by being the first majority President in modern times. I am sure he has his eyes on other extraordinary feats by having a legacy Filipinos will be proud of for many years and by being a great President,” Romualdez said. “President Marcos will play a pivotal role in uniting the nation which is key to moving the country to greater heights.”

Romualdez said he wishes President Marcos all the best as he leads a nation facing complex challenges like recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic and as he and Vice President-elect Sara Duterte deliver on their election campaign promise to unite the country.

“We offer him our prayers – that the Lord Almighty guide him in steering the nation to unity and progress,” Romualdez added.|

Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Farmer’s Market Day at SM City Lipa

Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Farmer’s Market Day launch at SM City Lipa. (L-R) Mr. Romy Diaz - Padre Garcia Municipal Agriculture Office OIC, Ms. Lea Mangurali - one of the KSK farmer graduate from Padre Garcia, Ms. Ronna Escueta - Padre Garcia Municipal Agriculture Office Staff and MS. Karen Cunanan – SM City Lipa Assistant Mall Manager

SM Foundation Inc. (SMFI) in partnership with Department of Agriculture, DSWD, TESDA and DTI recently launched the Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan (KSK) Farmer’s Market Day at SM City Lipa.

Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Farmer’s Market Day is an effort to assist farmers who graduated the training on sustainable agriculture program of SM Foundation by providing market exposure in institutionalize selling through pop-up booths in SM malls.  It is also a continuing program to encourage farmers to become entrepreneurs, amidst economic challenges, limited planting space and resources and changing weather conditions. 

Fresh and affordable produce during the KSK Farmer’s Market Day Launch at SM City Lipa

One of the beneficiaries of the program in Batangas are farmer graduates from Padre Garcia under batch 228 of Kabalikat Sa Kabuhayan on Sustainable Agriculture Program (KSK-SAP). Through the knowledge that they acquired from the training, the farmers were able to harvest quality produce that they sell during the Farmer’s Market Day launch at SM City Lipa last June 17, 2022.

From trainees to entrepreneurs! KSK graduates from Padre Garcia sell their quality produce at the KSK Farmer’s Market Day

KSK Farmer’s Market offers variety of farm fresh and affordable produce such as fruits and vegetables open every Friday at the ground floor of SM City Lipa.|

Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Farmer’s Market Day launch at SM City Lipa. (L-R) Mr. Romy Diaz – Padre Garcia Municipal Agriculture Office OIC, Ms. Lea Mangurali – one of the KSK farmer graduate from Padre Garcia, Ms. Ronna Escueta – Padre Garcia Municipal Agriculture Office Staff and MS. Karen Cunanan – SM City Lipa Assistant Mall Manager

BBM hahawakan ang DA; food security ng bansa sisiguraduhin


HANDANG gampanan ni incoming President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos ang pagiging kalihim ng Kagawaran ng Agrikultura upang siguraduhin na matutugunan ang kakulangan ng pagkain sa bansa.

Ang hakbang ay ginawa ni Marcos upang mapigilan ang possibleng epekto ng pagkakaroon ng food crisis dahil sa mga nangyayari sa labas ng bansa na pinalala ng patuloy na giyera sa pagitan ng Russia at Ukraine.

“As to agriculture, I think the problem is severe enough that I decided to take on the portfolio of Secretary of Agriculture, at least for now, and at least until we can re-organize the Department of Agriculture in a way that can make it ready for the next years to come,” sabi ni Marcos.

Sinabi pa niya na dahil sa mga nangyayari ay naaapektuhan ang food supply gayundin ang iba pang pangangailangan pang-agrikultura tulad ng fertilizers, animal feeds at iba pa, na maaaring magresulta aniya ng shortage at pagtaas ng presyo ng pagkain sa susunod na mga panahon.

Pinagdiinan din ni Marcos na kailangan na mapag-aralang mabuti ang mga plano at hakbang upang maayos na matugunan ng gobyerno ang pangangailangan ng bansa pagdating sa mga panahon ng kagipitan.

“In the Philippines, we have been able to adjust to the situation in terms of the importations from Ukraine and Russia. But these emergency measures that we have taken will not be sufficient in the long run. That’s why we have to plan in a more thorough fashion than just responding,” sabi niya.

“I have asked the DTI, NEDA, and, of course, the DOF and DBM. I have asked them all to start to make forecasts, economic forecasts on what we would have to face for the rest of this year so that we can prepare,” dagdag pa ni Marcos.

Ipinaliwanag ni Marcos na bukod sa pagbibigay prayoridad sa agrikultura, pabibilisin din aniya ng kanyang administrasyon ang pag-unlad ng sektor na lubos na kailangan para malutas ang kakulangan sa pagkain.

“We are going back to basics and we will rebuild the value-chain of agriculture. And that is why I think it’s important that the President take that portfolio so that, not only will we make it clear to everyone, what a high priority we put on the agricultural sector, but also as a practical matter so that things will move quickly because the events of the global economy are moving very quickly, ” sabi niya.

“We have to be agile. We have to be able to respond properly in a very measured way as soon as there is a situation that needs to be addressed,” dagdag pa niya.

Matatandaang isa sa pangako niya noong kampanya ay ang pagpapaunlad ng agrikultura sa bansa lalo na’t pinakita ng Covid19 pandemic ang problema ng bansa pagdating sa supply ng pagkain.|-BNN

Pinoys optimistic on Marcos presidency


TEN days before President-elect Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos Jr. takes oath and formally assumes office as the 17th president of the Republic, a group of disgruntled jeepney drivers plying the Monumento-Divisoria route gathered at the corner of A. Mabini Street along Pajo, Caloocan grudgingly assessing their dire situation as the prices of fuel continue to soar.

Felix Delos Santos, 54, said he cannot remember a time in his 30-year experience as a jeepney driver that “life was so hard that he now refuses to go and ply his route because he is just practically wasting his time.”

“Nung kasagsagan ng COVID umabot kami sa panghihingi sa mga tao para maitawid lang ang aming mga pamilya. Ngayon na hindi na ganun katindi ang krisis pangkalusugan pinapatay naman kami ng sobrang taas ng krudo na halos wala na kaming maiuwi sa pamilya kahit maghapon kaming kumayod sa kalsada,” Delos Santos bemoans.

He shared the sentiment of his co-workers as they now contemplate of looking for other ways to make ends meet.

A few meters from the group were a bunch of vendors plying their trade outside the Maypajo Market all ready to scamper as soon as they hear the warning that members of the city’s Public Safety Management Office are coming to disperse them.

They, too, have their own sad stories to tell.

But behind the dark clouds of economic uncertainty and immeasurable despair, the ordinary Filipino on the street is oozing with optimism and confidence, silently hoping that bad times will turn to better days as soon as “PBBM takes the helm.”

“Hindi kami naghihintay ng himala. Pero malaki ang aming paniniwala na bubuti ang ating kalagayan sa panahon ng panunungkulan ni Pangulong BBM. Kitang-kita na kahit sa paglalagay niya ng mga tao sa kaniyang gabinete ay hindi niya isinasaalang alang kung ito’y galing sa hanay ng kaniyang mga katunggali sa pulitika. Ito’y malinaw na pahiwatig na tinutupad niya ang kaniyang panawagan ng pagkakaisa gaya nung panahon ng kampanya,” said Aling Adora Mercado.

Pedro Cendana Jr., 82, nephew of former minister Gregorio Cendaña, said he believes that “President Bongbong is out on a mission to continue the legacy of his father, which was tainted with wrongful accusations by their political enemies.”

“Like what (Senator) Imee said, what they want is to be given the platform to finally clarify the legacy of their father, Ferdinand Marcos Sr.,” Cendana, who was also a member of the Presidential Security Group during the older Marcos’ time, said.

The younger Marcos who has helped pass laws to protect senior citizens and expand emergency relief to children during his tenure as senator, has promised to continue President Duterte’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure program and channel part of the Internal Revenue Allocation to strengthen local micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises.

The incoming president also wanted to strengthen the agriculture sector and has recruited reputable economic managers who will be at the forefront of his economic recovery program.

“The signs are all there. He is trying to find the right people to fit the right positions because he wanted to sail smoothly. He (Marcos Jr.) knows he had his work cut out for him… he promised them good results and the people believe him. We will get there somehow under a PBBM presidency,” Cendaña said.

The Filipino optimism is without scientific basis, however.

Even prior to Marcos Jr. winning via landslide, Social Weather Station (SWS) survey in April showed that more than half of Filipinos are optimistic that the economy will improve in the next 12 months.

The survey, which came out even before BBM broke away in the surveys rating race, was conducted among 1,440 adult respondents from December 12 to 16, 2021, with a total of 360 each in Balance Luzon, Metro Manila, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

Without including political considerations, the same survey stated that 45 percent of adult Filipinos said their quality-of-life will improve (Personal Optimists), 42 percent said it will stay the same (No Change), and 3 percent said it will worsen in the next 12 months (Personal Pessimists).                                                 

“We have been through some tough and very challenging times. The Filipino is by heart optimistic. This and the projected leadership of BBM will surely lead us to a better life in the days to come,” Cendaña said.|

Lazada and Great Deals’ partnership guarantees 1-3 day shipping time in Visayas and Mindanao


LEADING Philippine e-commerce enabler Great Deals E-commerce Corporation announced that it has further enhanced the logistics efficiency of e-commerce giant Lazada with the launch of its fulfillment centers in the major cities of Cebu and Davao.

This joint partnership enables customers in Visayas and Mindanao to receive their parcels as fast as one to three days after placing an order. Previously, the delivery would reach five to seven days, which has been one of the online shopping pain points along with costly shipping fees.

The building of fulfillment centers in Cebu and Davao showcases Lazada and Great Deals’ advanced logistics, warehousing and fulfillment capabilities, pioneering hyperlocalization in terms of using nationwide geomapping technology in the country’s online shopping industry.

“Lazada supercharged the way Filipinos shopped in Luzon, particularly in Metro Manila, even at the height of the pandemic in 2020. Now, we want to help replicate and bring that to Visayas and Mindanao to reach a bigger portion of our Filipino consumers,” said Steve Sy, Founder and CEO of Great Deals E-commerce Corp.

This hyperlocalized strategy helps brands set themselves up in major locations to reach customers in nearby areas faster and more efficiently. It brings a better online shopping experience to Visayas and Mindanao by providing a seamless customer experience with a short delivery time and lower shipping fee costs.

“Building these fulfillment centers is a testament to our commitment in providing a better customer experience. We are always looking to help our kababayans experience online shopping not only in the major cities but also in key urban or rural areas,” Sy added.

‘Hyperlocalized’ online shopping experience

With the pilot launch of Great Deals’ fulfillment center in Cebu, customers who placed an order through the Lazada app and website were able to receive their parcels in just one to three days and pay lower shipping fees.

Lazada will soon also bring Great Deals’ partner brands closer to their customers in Mindanao as a fulfillment center in Davao is set to open in July 2022. These brands include Betadine, Alaska, Fonterra, the manufacturer of Anlene and Anchor, Bayer, Century, GSK, and Abbott.

Great Deals, an e-commerce enabler that offers end-to-end service, handling everything from digital content, web design, analytics, chat support, warehousing, and fulfillment to logistics, made headlines in 2019 for breaking its own record as it processed 233,038 orders in one day.

“We look forward to onboarding more brands in this new project, and we are grateful for the continued support of Lazada for making this happen as Great Deals is constantly looking for ways to improve customer experience with our brands and consumers and to be there to assist them to penetrate local markets nationwide, cut shipping cost in half, and shorten delivery time,” Sy said.

Great Deals, a multi-million-dollar valued company, continues to develop its IT infrastructure, warehouse capabilities, technology research, and capital expenditures as it aggressively expands its presence in the country, aiming to be the Philippines’ very own “Alibaba” and “Baozun.

Sy, who is also an Alibaba e-founder fellow, said, “Customer experience is our utmost priority, and through these fulfillment centers, we wish to reach more Filipinos and let them experience the power of online shopping. We are at the forefront of the online shopping experience. We are constantly looking for local solutions to our local problems.”

Following the success of Amazon and Alibaba in digitalizing the brick-and-mortar e-commerce, Great Deals has already started the development of its 70,000-square meters fulfillment center in San Rafael, Bulacan, where they will introduce the use of robots to scale up to a million orders in a day.|- pr

Davao Light to undergo ISO 55001 certification to ensure maximum asset performance and enhance operational efficiency


AboitizPower subsidiary Davao Light and Power Co., Inc. is set to be evaluated by an independent third party to obtain the ISO 55001 Asset Management System (AMS) standard and ensure that the distribution utility is always functioning at peak performance.

The ISO 55001 Asset Management System is an international standard that aims to help organizations manage and optimize both physical and intangible assets more effectively throughout their lifecycle.

By implementing this, the company will have better control over its daily activities, achieve higher business profitability, and ensure operational efficiency.

This will also further improve Davao Light’s asset information accuracy and network availability and reliability, enabling the company to give world-class services to its customers.

“We are aiming to be ISO 55001 certified by the 4th quarter of 2022. Early this year, we conducted orientations per department and training has already started to meet the timelines of this project,” said Davao Light President and COO Engr. Rodger Velasco.

An internal audit exercise was conducted to determine if Davao Light’s AMS is in adherence to the requirements of ISO 55001:2014, identify opportunities for improvements of the established AMS, and assess the readiness of the company for the certification audit.

In 2020, Davao Light attained its re-certification for the ISO 9001:2015 or the Quality Management System (QMS) and passed the surveillance audit for ISO 45001:2018 – Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Management System and ISO 14001:2015 – Environmental Management (EM) System as part of maintaining the quality service that the company provides to its customers.

Davao Light is the third-largest privately-owned electric distribution utility in the country in terms of customer size and annual kWh sales. Davao Light’s franchise area covers Davao City, areas of Panabo City, and the municipalities of Carmen, Dujali, and Santo Tomas in Davao del Norte, with a population of approximately 2.2 million and a total area of 3,561 square kilometers.|