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Power firm funds more e-communities in NegOr

E-COMMUNITIES. Officials of geothermal power firm Energy Development Corporation (EDC) are shown during the turnover of funds for two additional e-communities in Valencia, Negros Oriental in this undated photo. The project will benefit villagers through free internet access. (Photo courtesy of EDC)

DUMAGUETE CITY – Geothermal power leader Energy Development Corporation (EDC) has allocated funds for the establishment of additional off-grid electronic or e-communities in Valencia, Negros Oriental.

Norreen Bautista, head of EDC’s Corporate Social Responsibility for Negros, said two more barangays in Valencia, Negros Oriental — Malaunay and Caidiocan – have received their expanded e-community project worth P277,940 for the installation of wi-fi infrastructures.

“We expect to complete the project with our partners this first quarter of the year. We are excited to include Barangays Malaunay and Caidiocan in our e-communities,” she said.

Barangay Puhagan in Valencia was the first e-community to be funded by EDC, together with its partners. The project was launched sometime in October 2021 and became the first off-grid village in the country to have free public wi-fi.

The three barangays host EDC’s 222.5-megawatt Southern Negros Geothermal Project. “We, at EDC, are very grateful for the collaborative efforts of our partners to elevate the Valencia communities by providing them with free wi-fi internet access under our banner e-community project,” Bautista said.

The e-communities allow their residents to “harness the enormous potential and benefits of having consistent Internet connectivity to improve their education and livelihood and assist them in bringing the community towards progress,” she added.

Bautista said the e-community project is EDC’s public wi-fi project anchored on Republic Act No. 10929 or “An Act Establishing the Free Internet Access Program in Public Places in the Country.”

EDC’s partners in the project are the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NOCCI). Under the arrangements, EDC the funds the cost of labor and purchase of necessary materials and equipment for the structures, while the DICT gives a fixed wireless broadband network with a 20mbps bandwidth, and NOCCI supplies fixed wireless solar technology and a redundant broadband network design to ensure uninterrupted connectivity for the residents.

The barangays are tasked to assume the responsibility for the logistics and maintenance of the structures. The project now allow their residents broad access to information through free internet connection.

Barangay officials of Caidiocan and Malaunay expressed their gratitude and appreciation to EDC and its partners for launching the project and bridging the digital divide by connecting far-flung, vulnerable, and at-risk communities across the country.

EDC has been providing 24/7 an uninterrupted source of clean  energy to Negros Island and other parts of Luzon and Visayas regions from its 222.5MW geothermal facility in Valencia town for almost four decades.

The firm’s more than 1,480MW total installed capacity accounts for 20% of the country’s installed renewable energy capacity. Its almost 1,200MW geothermal portfolio comprises 62% of the country’s total installed geothermal capacity and has put the Philippines on the map as the 3rd largest geothermal producer in the world. (PNA)

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