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Renewable energy solutions provider SN Aboitiz Power (SNAP) Group recently concluded its series of blended and virtual host communities’ forums across Benguet, Ifugao, Isabela, and Nueva Vizcaya in November and December. The nature of the forums, the first of its kind for SNAP, was in the interest of health and safety and in support of the government’s efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.
SNAP-Benguet was the first to hold a blended-approach forum on November 19, 2020 at the Benguet Provincial Capitol, attended by a total of 42 in-person and virtual participants. Following strict social distancing and other protocols on official gatherings, in-person attendees included SNAP executives, members of Indigenous Peoples’ organizations, and Benguet government officials headed by Governor Melchor Diclas. Other local government units and sectoral representatives attended online via Zoom.
SNAP-Magat held three virtual forums with physical hubs where community participants can gather safely to attend the forum virtually: the Ifugao leg on December 14, Isabela on December 16, and Nueva Vizcaya on December 18. In attendance in the respective forums were SNAP representatives, Indigenous Peoples’ organizations, and provincial and municipal government officials headed by Ifugao Governor Jerry Dalipog, Provincial Information Officer Atty. Elizabeth Binag from the Isabela Governor’s Office, and Provincial Planning & Development Officer Edgardo Sabado from the Nueva Vizcaya’s Governor’s Office. All in all, the SNAP-Magat forums gathered a total of 239 participants.
SNAP President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Joseph Yu touched on the forums’ theme this year, ‘Responding with Resilience, Adapting with Ability’, stressing on the importance of reinforcing innate resilience with ability through sustained partnerships, especially in challenging times. In 2020 alone, SNAP spent close to PhP25.5 million from its CSR fund to support host communities through COVID-19 response projects and around PhP3.5 million for relief operations (with an additional PhP2 million donated by Aboitiz Foundation in partnership with SNAP) following the typhoons that hit the country later in the year.
Governor Diclas, who headed the Benguet contingent, thanked SNAP for its partnership and programs, saying, “Swerte pa rin ang Benguet dahil andiyan kayo [SNAP].” [Benguet is still lucky that you [SNAP] are around.]
Ifugao Governor Dalipog likewise expressed his thanks, particularly for an ambulance unit recently donated by SNAP to the host province. He called for more collaborative planning between SNAP and the Ifugao host communities for CSR programs moving forward.
Speaking on behalf of Isabela Governor Rodito Albano III, Atty. Elizabeth Binag relayed his message citing SNAP’s “delivery on its promise of social responsibility in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic by allocating CSR funds for COVID-19 response initiatives and by responding within a reasonable time during the aftermath of Typhoon Ulysses.”
Mr. Edgar Sabado spoke on behalf of Nueva Vizcaya Governor Carlos Padilla, who could not attend due to prior commitment. The message included provincial government updates relevant to SNAP’s CSR and operational projects, and acknowledgement of Nueva Vizcaya and SNAP as ‘strategic partners.’
The host communities’ forum (HCF) is an annual event held by SNAP to update its community-based stakeholders on the company’s operations and initiatives, and facilitate their participation in improving its CSR program.
SNAP Group is a joint venture of SN Power of Norway and AboitizPower. It owns and operates the Ambuklao and Binga hydroelectric power plants in Benguet; the Magat hydroelectric power plant on the border of Isabela and Ifugao; and the Maris hydroelectric power plant in Isabela. The ownership, management, and operations of all non-power components such as dams, reservoirs, and spillways remain with the government.