NPC taps youth for environmental stewardship

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LINGAYEN, Pangasinan  – National Power Corporation (Napocor) President and CEO, Ma. Gladys Cruz-Sta. Rita, the Department of Energy led by Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla, local government executives of the Province of Pangasinan, some 500 youth and representatives from different sectors are set to lead the launching of Batang Kalikasan – Young Environmental Champions, an advocacy program established by Napocorhere Tuesday.

Pangasinan is home to the Napocor-managed 345-megawatt San Roque Dam and Watershed that serves as the second biggest dam in Asia.

“We believe that the youth can play a vital role in environmental protection and preservation. They have the energy to participate in our programs for our watershed areas and the voice to rally the public to be environmentally-conscious and responsible,” Sta. Rita said.

Energy Secretary Petilla discussed energy conservation and Energy Regulations No. 1 –94–the guidelines set by the Department in granting financial benefits to host communities where concerned sectors were informed on how to access the funds to implement energy-related projects in their own communities to help sustain the growth of the renewable energy in the countryside.

Batang Kalikasan was first launched by Napocor in Laguna in 2013 where youth advocates pledged support to the preservation of the Caliraya-Lumot Watershed Reservation. The program will be replicated to other communities in the country where Napocor hosts its 11 watershed systems and 17 dams.

Participants in the event were able to learn the unique value of watershed and dams in power generation, and be informed on the timely issues on energy and how they can contribute to mitigating the effects of climate change in the country.

Napocor and the Municipalities of Bayambang, Sto. Tomas, Alcala and Bautista in Pangasinan forged an agreement through a signing of a Memorandum of Agreement for the Flood Forecasting and Warning System for Dam Operation that will be built in their respective areas in order to provide affected residents with timely warnings when the power generation plant releases excess water from its reservoir that would subsequently result to flooding in the affected towns.

These municipalities are located downstream of San Roque Dam and are prone to flooding once the dam releases excess water from its reservoir during the rainy season.

“We are installing warning systems in these municipalities to help the local government in protecting the lives and safety of the residents living downstream of the San Roque Dam,” Sta. Rita added.

According to her, the early warning systems to be installed along the Agno river would significantly contribute in providing residents living along the river to evacuate to safer grounds once the dam releases excess water from its reservoir at the height of the rainy season.

The NPC official cited the State-run power corporation wants to have a disaster-resilient and climate change adoptive communities in the province in order to save life and limb from possible extensive damages that will be inflicted by floodings caused by the sudden release of excess water from the power generation facility situated in San Roque barangay, San Manuel town here. By Dexter A. See

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