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AP Renewables signs EPC contracts for 17-MW Tiwi Binary Project


TAGUIG CITY, Metro Manila — AP Renewables Inc. (APRI), a subsidiary of Aboitiz Power Corporation,  recently signed the Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) agreements for its 17-megawatt (MW) binary geothermal power plant Tiwi, Albay.

APRI awarded the EPC contracts to Ormat Technologies, Inc. and Desco, Inc., two companies best known for their engineering services, power plant system designs, and technical expertise in the geothermal energy industry.

“We are glad to move this project forward with partners we already know and trust. This collaboration will reinforce our commitment to providing much-needed Cleanergy to the grid,” APRI President and Chief Operating Officer (COO) Jeffrey Estrella said.

Cleanergy is AboitizPower’s renewable energy (RE) solutions brand.  Through Cleanergy facilities across the country, power derived from run-of-river, large hydro, solar, geothermal, and soon wind, are harnessed to provide reliable and reasonably-sourced energy to business and communities at a reasonably competitive price.

Both companies are long-time partners of APRI, with Desco providing control and instrumentation materials plus staffing services for 11 years. Meanwhile, Ormat built and designed APRI’s binary facilities for the MakBan Geothermal Power Plant in Laguna

This development is considered a step forward as the company expands its Cleanergy portfolio.

“We are excited about this endeavor, especially its positive impact to our host communities,” Estrella added.

APRI and its partners aim to officially break ground for the project in the first quarter of 2023 and eyes completionby year-end. The plant will utilize excess heat from spent brine at the Tiwi geothermal facility, the country’s first geothermal power plant. In April this year, APRI signed an agreement with its steam provider to supply brine to fuel the binary plant.

The project will be built from the ground up with an entirely new binary plant system, pipes, and transmission line. Geothermal energy, a form of renewable energy, comes from the earth’s heat, produced by drilling production wells into the ground to tap high temperature fluids from geothermal reservoirs. Residual heat from the hot brine side of the geothermal production process, otherwise unutilized before reinjecting back to the earth, is harvested to produce electricity through the binary geothermal power plant.

“Every step counts in our bid to grow our renewable energy portfolio,” AboitizPower President and Chief Executive Officer Manny Rubio said. “We are determined to reach our targets, and this project proves that we are ready to pursue every reasonable opportunity.”

AboitizPower eyes spending around ₱190 billion over the next decade for an additional 3,700 MW of RE, growing its capacities to 4,600 MW or three times the company’s current renewables portfolio by 2030. The company has around 1,000 MW of disclosed RE projects and is on its way toward its targets.|-BNN

The community that sustainable mining built


What used to be a remote and virtually uninhabited area in Barangay Rio Tuba, town of Bataraza, in the southernmost tip of the province of Palawan, has evolved into a bustling community of over 17,000 people.

The days when there were more malaria-transmitting mosquitoes than people were long gone.

Now, there is a De La Salle-supervised private school, parks where children can plays, churches for as many religious groups present, a hospital, and even a clubhouse for residents to relax after work.

This sustainable transformation of Rio Tuba was made possible by the commitment of the Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) to responsible mining and progressive rehabilitation.

“Our way of mining rehabilitation is actually toward ecosystem restoration. Ecosystem restoration is the spirit of Philippine Mining Law. The right advocacy is that mining has to be done responsibly,” said Dr. Bibiano P. Ranes, Mine Rehabilitation and Reforestation Consultant of RTNMC, which is an affiliate of Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC).

NAC Community Relations Group Manager, Reynaldo Dela Rosa added: “To sustain our efforts to promote responsible mining, our activities should always be science-based. Even our initiative in mining communities should be directed toward sustainable development goals.”

RTN believes that contributing to the restoration and protection of the rich forest ecosystem in Palawan is a moral obligation.

It rehabilitated about 200 hectares that were planted with over a million surviving trees of different species, including narra, ipil, apitong, agoho, udling, kupang, batino, tongkat ali, and amugis among others.

Over 600 hectares, on the other hand, have been reforested with native tree species, coffee, mangroves, botanical plant, and some industrial trees.

Over the years, NAC has likewise been a recipient of several sustainability awards, including the 1st ASEAN Mineral Awards for Best Practice in Sustainable Mineral Development (2017), Presidential Mineral Industry Environmental Award (2002, 2003, 2015, 2018, 2020), Best Practices Champion in Strategic Environmental Plan for Palawan Towards Sustainable Development (2017), and Gawad Maka-Kalisakan for exemplary efforts in successfully implementing eco-efficient measures and advocacy that contributes in mitigating environmental impacts and its effects, consequently protecting environment, life on land/below water and our mother earth

On November 4, 2022, members of the Philippine Press Institute (PPI) and Asian Institute of Journalism and Communication (AIJC) participated in a site visit at Rio Tuba.

AboitizPower, Meralco partner to bring medical services to Cavite economic zone


Aboitiz Power Corporation (AboitizPower) and Manila Electric Company (MERALCO), two of the country’s leading power companies, recently partnered to mount a medical mission for over 200 employees and their dependents at the Cavite Economic Zone (CEZ).

The event is part of Cardinal Santos Medical Center’s Hospital on Wheels initiative and supported by Meralco Ecozone Power, One Meralco Foundation, and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA). 

“COVID-19 remains a threat and we need to keep our guards up by having all the vaccines and medical resources accessible especially to the communities we work with,” Meralco Ecozone Power General Manager Obet Galang said.

The companies and organizations joined forces to address the medical needs of the CEZ community. 

“We thank AboitizPower and One Meralco Foundation for supporting us in this cause and being our partner in safeguarding the health of CEZ employees,” Galang added.

During the mission, CEZ employees availed of flu vaccines and medical consultations, plus participated in a forum on COVID-19, Monkeypox, and dengue. AboitizPower donated the medicines that were given out, including the vaccines that were administered.

Jose Cabral IV, Cavite Export Zone Investors Association corporate secretary, pointed out that employee wellness is at the center of their business.

“Much like the machines they handle, their bodies can only take so much strain from the hustle of daily work. We believe that employees who are healthy come to work happier and in turn, are able to perform and engage with their colleagues better,” he shared.  

Sandro Aboitiz, AboitizPower senior vice president for commercial operations, said it is an honor to build synergies with other sectors because it allows the organization to help address social challenges that are often overlooked.

“Our partnership with PEZA, Meralco, and Cardinal Santos Medical Center allows us to create a more significant impact to communities compared with doing these initiatives alone,” he said. “We are grateful for the opportunity to do our share in our pursuit of a better world.”|-BNN

20 butanding, nakita sa katubigan ng Tayabas Bay


KINUMPIRMA ng mga tauhan ng Bantay-Dagay ng bayan ng Sariaya, Quezon at mga kasapi ng environmentalist group na Tanggol Kalikasan (TK), Inc. ang presensya ng mga bunading (whale shark) sa Tayabas Bay nitong nakalipas na linggo.

Ayon kay Edwin Frias, miyembro ng Bantay Dagat ng Sariaya, namataan nila ang may 20 butanding habang nagpapatrolya sila sa katubigang sakop ng bayan ng Sariaya.

Aniya pa, ang pagdating at pamamalagi ng mga butanding ay nagbabadya ng mayamang pangisdaan at sumisimbolo sa paglago ng ecosystem sa katubigan sapagkat ang mga buntanding ay palaging may kasamang iba’t ibang uri ng isda.

Kaya naman aniya tuwang-tuwa ang mga mangingisda sa saganang pangis-daan pagkalipas ng nagdaang bagyong Paeng.

Kapansin-pansin, ani Frias, na kapag nag-iisa ang butanding ay animo’y nagtatag-alon sa lugar, ngunit kapag maraming butanding ang nagpakita gaya ng nagaganap ngayon sa Sariaya ay nangangahulugan ito ng saganang pangisdaan dahil maraming dalang iba’t ibang uri ng isda ang mga butanding.

Simula pa aniya noong taong 2016 kung kailan ipinatupad ng bayan ng Sariaya ang paghihigpit sa mga illegal fishing activities sa Tayabas Bay. Lubos ang pasasalamat ng mga Bantay Dagat Bridate members kay Mayor Marcing Gayeta sa mahigpit nitong pagpapatu-pad ng batas para mapangalagaan ang pangisdaan ng Sariaya.

Ayon naman kay BFAR Fishery Law Enforcement Officer Danilo Larita Jr., ang pagkakakita sa mga butanding sa Tayabas Bay ay nagpapaalaala na rin sa mga mangingisda na lalo pang pangalagaan ang Tayabas Bay at ipagpatuloy ang pagmomonitor upang manatling ligtas sa mga illegal fishing activities.| – BALIKAS News

Lady Chatterley’s Lover available on Netfrlix on December 2


Unhappily married aristocrat Lady Chatterley begins a torrid affair — and falls deeply in love — with the gamekeeper on her husband’s country estate.

After falling out of love with her husband following a war injury, Lady Chatterley pursues a torrid affair with the gamekeeper on their estate and begins to uncover her own internal biases.

Scrooge: A Christmas Carol on Netflix, December 2


ON a cold Christmas Eve, selfish miser Ebenezer Scrooge has one night left to face his past — and change the future — before time runs out. 

“Scrooge: A Christmas Carol” is a new animated feature, directed by Stephen Donnelly, starring Luke Evans (‘Scrooge’), Olivia Colman (‘Past’), Jessie Buckley (‘Isabel Fezziwig’), Johnny Flynn (‘Bob Cratchit’) and Fre Fee (‘Harry Huffam’), streaming December 2, 2022 on Netflix:

“…Charles Dickens’ ageless legend is reborn in this supernatural, time-traveling, musical adaptation of the definitive Christmas story. With his very soul on the line, Scrooge has but one Christmas Eve left to face his past and build a better future…”

“There are more than enough psychedelic, time-travelling and musical surprises to keep those familiar with the story on the edge of their seats”, said director Donnelly about his new film.|

5 Reasons Why You Can’t Miss the Return of Alchemy Of Souls


Alchemy of Souls has delighted us with an intricately woven plot with a deeply rich storyline and engaging characters. With the epic story set to wrap up, the fate of the fantastical world of Daeho and all its characters remains the biggest question.

What will happen to this majestic realm we’ve thoroughly fallen in love with? Only time will tell when the story continues on December 10!

And here are the five (5) main reasons why you can’t miss the return of Alchemy of Souls on Netflix:

Lee Jae-wook and Go- Youn-jung. [Photo courtesy of Netflix]

Fantasy drama Alchemy of Souls captivated viewers with its magical story of mages finding their destinies and discovering love in the process. The series proved to be a hit all over the world and managed to stay on the Netflix Global Top 10 TV (Non-English) chart for an impressive 15 weeks.

And now, the enchanting tale is set to resume on December 10 and we couldn’t be more thrilled. With many stories left unfinished, here are some reasons why you can’t miss the return of the series.

Jang Uk’s Evolution [Photo Courtesy of Netflix]

Despite being born into a prominent mage family, Jang Uk (Lee Jae-wook) was initially unable to learn magical skills due to his birth secret. However, everything changes when he meets his new master. Jang Uk then fights against the destiny he was born into and gains new powers. Returning 3 years after coming back to life, Jang Uk is a completely changed person. We’re definitely intrigued to see a new side of Jang Uk soon.

The Return of Naksu [Photo Courtesy of Netflix]

Naksu (Go Youn-jung) was a powerful sorceress and assassin before ending up in the body of a blind woman named Mu-deok. From having murderous intentions to experiencing love, Naksu changes drastically. However, she becomes unable to control her situation and everything shifts. Now a mysterious woman with Naksu’s appearance has emerged. There’s much to be unraveled with this new development.

The Friendships [Photo courtesy of Netflix]

Alchemy of Souls is such a satisfying blend of everything from magic, action, comedy, and friendship. All of the different friendships truly shine! The bromance relationships between Jang Uk, Seo Yul (Hwang Min-hyun), Park Dang-gu (Yoo In-soo), and crown prince Go Won (Shin Seung-ho) is so endearing. And we can’t forget Mu-deok’s friendships with the boys as well. Will their friendships stay the same or change?

The Romance [Photo courtesy of Netflix]

Of course, you can’t leave out the romance. In addition to Jang Uk and Naksu’s compelling love, we have many relationships to root for. Have Park Dang-gu and Jin Cho-yeon (Arin)’s lovely plans changed? How about Park Jin (Yu Jun-sang) and Maid Kim (Oh Na-ra)? Will some of the single men find new love interests? We’re intensely invested in seeing some happy couples.

The Fate of Everything [Photo courtesy of Netflix]

If you haven’t watched the show yet or you need a refresher on what has happened thus far, now is the perfect time to stream! Be ready and don’t miss out on the return of Alchemy of Souls, only on Netflix!|

PSN Luzon launched on 13th Maguindanao Massacre Anniversary


IN commemoration of the 13th anniversary of the gruesome Maguindanao massacre, the Provincial Safety Network for Journalists and Human Rights Defenders (PSN-Luzon Cluster) has issued the following statement:


The Provincial Safety Network – Luzon is a non-profit, multi-stakeholder organization composed of journalists, human rights defenders, and civil society organizations. PSN-Luzon aims to help in safeguarding journalists and human rights workers to uphold responsible journalism and retain journalistic independence.

The role of the media and human rights workers is crucial in ensuring accountability for a healthy democratic society and economic growth. Journalists who engage and capture stories through investigative journalism uncover truth and expose those who abuse power. They echo the voices of the voiceless and amplify those who need to be heard.

Over the past three decades, hundreds of journalists and human rights defenders have been killed and continue to seek justice as most cases remain unsolved. Series of harassment such as online threats as well as intimidation including surprise visits by the members of the Philippine National Police were also made. These deterring effects on such attacks has created a culture of fear and violence compromising the state and quality of journalism in our country when the fight to defend press freedom should not be subversive.

We strongly condemn the continuous killings and harassments against the members of the press and human rights defenders. We deplore any move to limit the access of Filipinos to timely and accurate information. 

We urge the government to take a stand, address the attacks, and end impunity for crimes against media workers as freedom of the press is the foundation of any democracy.





Record permits fast-track PLDT’s digitalization plans in Cavite, Batangas, Laguna, Palawan


LEADING integrated telco network PLDT Inc. (PLDT) and its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) have secured more fixed and wireless permits nationwide, with Cavite, Batangas, Laguna and Palawan being some of the areas that provided the highest number of permits, aiding the nationwide rollout of PLDT and Smart’s networks and hastening the delivery of telco services across the country.

Assisted by initiatives led by government agencies such as the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to streamline government permitting guidelines for telecommunications infrastructure, PLDT and Smart have secured more than 68,000 fixed and wireless permits as of October 2022.

“We welcome all opportunities to partner with government in realizing their digitization goals for the nation by enhancing the country’s digital infrastructure,” said Atty Roy D. Ibay, Smart VP and Head of Regulatory Affairs. “We will continue working with ARTA and other government agencies who have helped fast-track the permitting process, in further ramping up the rollout of PLDT’s fiber infrastructure and Smart’s cell sites nationwide.”

As of end-September, Smart had deployed 77,200 base stations, including around 7,300 5G base stations and close to 40,000 4G/LTE base stations. Smart’s network covers about 97% of the population with 3G, LTE, and 5G.

Smart’s mobile network is supported by PLDT’s fiber infrastructure, the most extensive in the country. As of end-September, PLDT had expanded its total fiber footprint to about 1,091,000 kilometers, consisting of over 231,000 kilometers of international fiber and almost 860,000 kilometers of domestic fiber. 

30% housing price-to-income rule not fit for PH–PIDS study


THE popular 30-percent housing price-to-income ratio is not a suitable measure of housing affordability in the Philippines because it overestimates affordability among the poor and underestimates the same among higher-income groups.

This was revealed by Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) Vice President Marife Ballesteros, Supervising Research Specialist Tatum Ramos, and Research Specialist Jenica Ancheta in their study “Measuring Housing Affordability in the Philippines” presented at a PIDS public webinar recently.

According to Ballesteros, the 30-percent rule is more applicable in developed countries with low poverty incidence, a significant portion of middle-income families, and rising real wages.

“This is not the case in the Philippines, where there are 47 percent low-income and 20 percent vulnerable households. Then, if you look at real wages, it is not rising. Whatever increase in wages we experience is only enough to cover inflation,” Ballesteros explained during the webinar.

The authors also measured housing affordability using the residual income method, which determines if a household’s remaining budget after paying for housing is enough for necessities and other basic costs based on national median spending costs per income group. The figures on nonhousing basic expenditures were based on estimates by the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Ramos said that the 30-percent rule underestimates the number of households experiencing housing stress or having no income left after paying for housing and basic expenses. In their analysis, the number of Filipino households that experienced socialized housing stress in 2018 rose from 16 percent using the 30-percent rule to 31 percent using the residual income method.

The study also gauged the extent of shelter poverty in the country based on socialized housing price ceiling. Poor households have negative income left after paying for housing and nonhousing basic expenditures, while low-income but not poor households are vulnerable to experience the same.

Moreover, many low-cost housing projects are far from Metro Manila’s city centers. “This exposes households to further housing stress by straining their budget. The distance adds to their transportation cost, especially if family members work in the urban centers,” Ramos said.

To address shelter poverty, the study recommends passing enabling policies and pursuing reforms such as creating land community trusts and a public housing fund at the national and local levels, offering incentives for rental housing developments for low- and middle-income groups, implementing standard valuation of real estate properties, increasing idle land tax, and ensuring ease of doing business in land titling and transfers, building permits, and licensing.|