ORMOC CITY: THE Lopez Group has launched phase 3 of its school rebuilding program, pooling P58 million of funds for the construction of 43 classrooms in areas that were devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
The cost of building the target classrooms will be borne by three Lopez-owned companies, namely First Gen, First Balfour and First Philippine Electric Corp. (First Philec).
Renato Castillo, First Gen senior vice president and head of Risk Management, said the Lopez Group has volunteered to act as a development sponsor in Leyte for the government’s overall rehabilitation and reconstruction of areas devastated by the super typhoon.
“The school rebuilding program forms part of the Lopez Group’s own efforts as a development sponsor,” Castillo added.
Leonardo C. Ablaza, project manager of the Leyte Rebuilding Project, said the classrooms will be built in Carigara, Capoocan, Barugo, Jaro, Pastrana, Burauen, Kananga, and Ormoc City in Leyte; Sulat in Eastern Samar; and Dumarao in Capiz.
Ablaza said Energy Development Corporation (EDC), another Lopez-owned company, acts as project manager for the program.
“This is part of the Lopez Group’s continuing commitment to help rehabilitate areas devastated by Yolanda,” he told reporters during the simple groundbreaking ceremony.
He said they expect to complete the classrooms five to six months from the start of construction.
Ablaza said all new or repaired classrooms meet the requirement for Yolanda- or typhoon-resilient classrooms and can withstand winds of up to 250 kilometers per hour.
So far, the three phases of the school rebuilding program cost P230.57 million.
In the first two phases, funds amounting to P83.5 million were pooled from various donors by ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation Inc.
Sagip Kapamilya was tapped to construct new school buildings or repair damaged schools in the Yolanda-hit areas.
Under Phase 1, EDC constructed 14 new classrooms and repaired 10 other classrooms in four pilot schools in Ormoc City. Under Phase 2, EDC constructed 48 new classrooms in 18 school sites in Leyte.
During the launch, Lopez Group officials presented to concerned local and national government officials the blueprint and design of the classrooms for construction.
Skills training too
The Lopez Group is also providing skills and livelihood training program for indigent victims of the typhoons, as well as climate change studies.
As an immediate livelihood support to dislocated communities and as a way of addressing manpower needs for the school rebuilding, the Kananga EDC Institute of Technology (KEITech) has redesigned its courses to include a three-month skills training program in carpentry, plumbing, electrical installation and maintenance, basic welding and masonry.
KEITech, EDC’s technical-vocational school, expects 1,080 graduates to earn certifications from the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) by June 2016.
First Gen is one of the biggest independent power producers in the Philippines with an installed capacity of 2,957 megawatts.
It is the primary holding company for the power generation and energy-related businesses of the Lopez Group through First Philippine Holdings Corporation (FPH).
EDC, a First Gen subsidiary, is the world’s largest vertically integrated geothermal company.
First Balfour is the Lopez Group company engaged in construction and engineering services, while First Philec is the intermediate holding company of FPH for manufacturing and technology-related investments.