Vivant Foundation Inc. (VFI) has turned over science laboratory equipment to two public schools in Mandaue City and one in Cebu City.
VFI, the corporate social responsibility arm of publicly listed company Vivant Corporation, donated one set of science laboratory equipment to Mandaue City Science High School, Mandaue City Comprehensive National High School (MCCNHS) and Mabolo (Cebu City) National High School.
The foundation also shouldered the training of the science teachers of all three schools on the use of the donated equipment, which are meant to improve the learning of chemistry, physics, biology and robotics.
EMPOWERING THE YOUTH. Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella (2nd from right) and Mabolo National High School principal (2nd from left) thank Vivant Foundation, represented by its executive director Shem Garcia (right), for donating various science laboratory tools and equipment to the school. During the turnover last Aug. 19, Mayor Labella and Department of Education officials saw the donation, which aims to improve the teaching of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Also present during the turnover were Bianito Dagatan, Department of Education Cebu City Division superintendent, and lawyer Jess Garcia (4th from right) of Vivant Corporation.
Improve STEM education
“Vivant is a company that is forward-looking and adaptable and we believe that improving STEM (science, education, engineering and mathematics) education will help our public schools produce graduates who will support our mission to provide solutions to a changing world,” VFI Executive Director Shem Jose Garcia said.
During the turnover at MCCNHS, Garcia announced that VFI will also refurbish classrooms that are currently used for science classes into fully functioning STEM laboratories.
Mabolo National High School principal Dr. Rosemarie Novabos said that teaching science effectively requires more than textbooks and classroom lectures.
IN MANDAUE. Mandaue Mayor Jonas Cortes (center) vows to use his authority to promote education for the city’s youth and thanks Vivant Foundation, represented by its executive director Shem Garcia (5th from right), for donating various science and laboratory tools and equipment to the Mandaue City Comprehensive National High School. Also present at the turnover ceremony last Aug. 20 were MCCNHS principal Marilou Mabansag (2nd from right), Mandaue City Councilor Malcolm Sanchez (2nd from left), Department of Education officials, and Ramontito Garcia (6th from right) and lawyer Jess Garcia (4th from right), both of Vivant Corporation.
Make students more competitive
“The laboratory equipment can offer great opportunities to the students in learning science through hands-on experiences. The donation from Vivant will help the students become more competitive,” she said during the turnover last Aug. 19.
Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella and Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes thanked Vivant Foundation for the assistance to the schools and for helping improve the future of the youth in their areas. The two mayors were present during the separate turnovers at MCCNHS and Mabolo National High School.
Apart from donating science lab equipment and training teachers, VFI also supports the annual Regional Science and Technology Fair (RSTF) of the Department of Education. The corporate foundation picks an RSTF participant as recipient for its college scholarship, a program that it launched this year. (Press Release)
To meet the demands of growing residential developments and the vigorous economy in the northern part of its franchise area, the Visayan Electric Company, Inc. (VECO), inaugurated its upgraded Consolacion Substation on May 10.
The Consolacion Substation, which was built in 1995, originally had a 33MVA capacity. Assistant Vice President for Engineering Operations Noel Modesto said VECO saw the need to improve, rehabilitate, and upgrade the substation to 66MVA to improve reliability and flexibility to better serve its customers in the municipalities of Consolacion and Lilo-an.
Consolacion Mayor Teresa Alegado, in her speech during the inauguration, said the municipality is thankful that VECO keeps up with the demands of the municipality’s growing economy.
“We in Consolacion consider VECO as a partner in growth and development and we are very thankful that VECO readily answers the call of the times. In fact, VECO is several steps ahead. Seeing that Consolacion is growing rapidly, you are also preparing your facilities to meet the demands. We look forward to working with you more and we assure you that we will always be hand in hand in the development of Consolacion,” the mayor said.
A substation is a set of equipment where voltage is transformed from high to low, which is suitable for supply to consumers.
VECO has a total of 19 substations. It started the rehabilitation works at the Consolacion Substation in October 2017 and upgraded its capacity in August of 2018. The upgrading of the Consolacion Substation is also in preparation for the upcoming rehabilitation of the nearby Paknaan Substation, which will be implemented by June this year with a 2020 targeted commissioning. Rehabilitation and upgrading works for the Calamba Substation in Cebu City into 66MVA is ongoing and is expected to be completed this year.
Owned and managed by publicly-listed Aboitiz Power Corporation and Vivant Corporation, VECO serves the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Talisay, Naga and four municipalities of the greater part of Metro Cebu — Liloan, Consolacion, Minglanilla and San Fernando. (Press Release)
WHEN students of Hilotongan Integrated School (HIS) were ushered into the computer lab after a turnover ceremony on Friday morning, Grade 9-Prudence pupil Barbi Villadolid headed to computer unit 7, opened Microsoft Word, and typed 2 words: Thank you.
Villadolid expressed on her computer monitor the gratitude the school and the wider island community felt for being the recipient of an off-grid solar power installation by the Vivant Foundation.
The foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of Cebu-based energy company Vivant Corporation, installed solar panels, batteries, and the system that finally allowed the school to use computers that have been idle for lack of power.
LED lights, electric fans
The solar power system also allows the school to finally have LED lights and electric fans in its classrooms.
Before the system was installed, students took turns using a laptop charged by a generator, said Vivant Foundation Executive Director Shem Garcia.
HIS Principal Nelita Cervantes said that to use computers, students used to take a 30 to 45-minute boat ride to Bantayan Island that costs P20 roundtrip and rent computers at an internet cafe by the minute. That is a fortune for students lucky to have P10 as daily allowance, Cervantes said.
Now, Villadolid said in an interview, they are able to listen to lectures comfortably in their airconditioned computer lab and use the computers to work on their assignments and projects. From presentations on manila paper, she said, they have started to submit digital reports.
“Our school rooms are now well-lighted and well-ventilated because of solar power. Our students can now use computers,” Cervantes said during the turnover ceremony at the school.
Hilotongan is an island barangay off Bantayan Island. It is accessible by boat only during high tide.
Improve students’ performance
The donation is seen to help the school improve its performance in educational measures, said Department of Education (DepEd) Central Visayas Assistant Regional Director Salustiano Jimenez. He said the facility and the comfort of studying with the electric fans in classrooms and air conditioning in the computer lab will increase the interest and eagerness of students to attend classes.
Garcia said the foundation chose HIS because it has the biggest student population, at 734 pupils, among un-energized islet schools in Cebu Province.
Juvimar Montolo of DepEd Cebu Province said she is sure academic performance will improve at the school. She said the area performed poorly in science and she sees the donation as helping the school do better on the subject.
The solar rooftop panels power the 2 computer processing units and 46 monitors connected to it in the high school computer lab. It also powers the 6 computers in the grade school computer room and the air conditioning for both rooms.
The installation also powers the school’s sound system as well as the perimeter lights that secure the campus at night. Vivant also upgraded the school’s electrical wiring.
More than enough
“The solar power system includes inverters and batteries that ensure that lighting and appliances continue to function even when there’s cloud cover and that perimeter lights remain on at night,” the company said in a statement.
The solar rooftop system is more than enough for the school’s future load, the foundation said.
Garcia said the foundation spent over P4 million for the Hilotongan project. The installation, however, is just one component of the Liadlaw Off-Grid Solar Electrification Project. The project is named after Liadlaw, the pre-Christian Visayan god of the sun.
The Bantayan students who will be trained on solar power will then maintain the off-grid installation in Hilotongan. This exchange allows the EIM students to get actual experience on solar power and HIS to have its systems checked regularly and maintained.
The donation and new EIM curriculum that incorporates solar power has sparked interest among students in Bantayan National High School. For the first year of EIM, 32 students enrolled in the course. This dropped to 15 the next year when students realized there were no equipment to work with. After Vivant’s donation, enrolment this year shot up to 90.
When these students graduate, they will have 2 certifications: for EIM and solar power.
A step ahead
Apart from maintaining the Hilotongan system, these Bantayan students will be able to work on other solar projects in the area, Garcia said.
He said he talked to people who have businesses in Bantayan Island and they told him their hesitation with using solar power is the lack of workers to maintain it. Garcia said the foundation hopes that when the students graduate from the course, they can serve as local workers to maintain installations and encourage businesses to adopt solar power.
Garcia said the students will be “a step ahead of other electricians” when solar power use at home and business go up exponentially as it did in China and other developed countries.
He said the foundation hopes to work on more schools in the future.
Vivant Corporation, a publicly listed energy company established and based in Cebu, broke ground Tuesday to launch Palawan’s first hybrid power plant with a micro-grid to electrify the growing needs of the area that hosts the Puerto Princesa Underground River, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Vivant partnered with WEnergy Global and Gigawatt Power Inc. to form the Sabang Renewable Energy Corporation (SREC), a Department of Energy-registered renewable energy (RE) developer that aims to provide households and businesses in Barangay Cabayugan, Puerto Princesa with 24/7 electricity.
The project is expected to be operational in 2019 and will be run by SREC under an Energy Regulatory Commission-approved Qualified Third Party (QTP) Agreement with the Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO). As QTP, SREC is authorized to generate and distribute electricity in Barangay Cabayugan, which has been waived from PALECO’s franchise area.
Renewable, reliable energy
“We are proud to become part of a project that supports the economic development of Barangay Cabayugan by providing renewable and reliable energy,” said Emil M. Garcia, SREC chairman and VP-Operations of Vivant Corporation.
The hybrid power plant will consist of 1.4 MWp solar PV with a 2.3 MWh battery storage system and 1.2 MW diesel generators to power its 14-circuit kilometer distribution facility. Due to its solar component, SREC will provide an average of 50% of renewable energy and will be less vulnerable to the volatility of imported fuel prices.
Every year, thousands of tourists visit Cabayugan—located about 80 kilometers north of Puerto Princesa city proper—but only a few households and tourism-related establishments in the area have electricity, with supply lasting for about three to six hours from small diesel generators. The SREC project will electrify more than 650 residential, public and commercial establishments that will enjoy uninterrupted power supply.
Hybrid power generation technology
“We will continue to invest in projects that empower communities and improve everyday living, particularly in off-grid areas,” Vivant Corporation COO Arlo G. Sarmiento said.
SREC’s hybrid power generation technology will avoid about 25,700 metric-tons of CO2-equivalent emissions over a 20-year lifetime. (Press Release)
Through photos and imagination. That was how Electrical Installation and Maintenance (EIM) students of Bantayan National High School learned some of their lessons, said Grade 12 student Mc Jemart Martinez.
Not anymore. The students will soon start working with actual wires, pliers, and other electrical equipment after the Vivant Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of Vivant Corporation, donated equipment to the school last Saturday.
The donation includes materials and equipment for EIM and the new solar power component that Vivant Foundation formulated with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and the Department of Education (DEPED).
Electrical course with solar component
“No school in the Philippines offers EIM with the solar component and we found that it was time that somebody did, especially considering that renewable energies are playing a bigger part of our power distribution and generation,” said Vivant Foundation Executive Director Shem Garcia. “Tomorrow’s electricians need to know how to handle solar power so together with TESDA and DEPED, we created a new curriculum that would be taught for the first time in the entire country here in Bantayan National High School.”
Garcia said that for Bantayan National High School, they are donating equipment listed by TESDA as requirements for teaching the EIM course. Before the donation, the school had to make do with the scant materials that were available, said teacher John Ray Tejero Tapales.
Tapales and Martinez said they were excited to be able to work with the equipment in their EIM classes. The school has 36 Grade 12 EIM students and only 15 Grade 11 EIM pupils. Tapales said sign-ups to the course dropped after students realized there were no equipment.
Training for teacher
During the summer break, Tapales will be going to Cebu City for training on the solar component, said Garcia. Vivant Foundation also donated solar panels, inverters, and batteries so they will learn to set the system up, he said.
“We’re not the first group to do solar panel electrification for off-grid areas like in mountain schools in Luzon and Mindanao and island schools in the Visayas,” Garcia said in an interview. “But what we have that’s unique is incorporating the idea of having a larger high school that offers EIM and updating their course to include solar. In exchange for them getting the equipment and the training, they’re gonna check in on the island school that’s being electrified to make sure that it’s maintained.”
Garcia said maintenance is important when it comes to solar power. Solar panels are designed to last up to 25 years but installations that are not maintained break down after just a few years.
The students who will be trained will be the ones to maintain the solar power rooftop installation that Vivant Foundation is donating to nearby Hilotongan Integrated School. The rooftop installation will power the school’s lighting and the batch of 100 computers that arrived last year but haven’t been turned on for lack of power, said Garcia.
Cheaper in the long run
The foundation will be spending P3.3 million for the solar power system and more in logistics cost to power the school in Hilotongan.
“It sounds like a lot but it comes out cheaper in the long run than paying fuel for the generator. And also, consider that their generator only did their light bulbs and their electric fans and they had a hundred computers that they couldn’t even turn on,” Garcia said. “The hundred computers arrived towards the end of last year but they haven’t put it on yet because they don’t have electricity.”
The system will be installed in Hilotongan from March to May, in time for the opening of the new school year.
After Tapales is trained, he will then handle the solar power component for the 2nd year of the EIM course.
Garcia said the instructor and the top students can then make quarterly trips to Hilotongan to check on the solar power setup. They will also be the ones to handle repair requests. This partnership will also give the students the needed hours of on-the-job training for their certification.
This training on solar, he said, will give students “that extra advantage that’s needed for the future.”
The students will have a lot of opportunities in a growing industry, said Provincial Board Member Horacio Franco.
Garcia said that with solar “getting cheaper” every year, they hope to encourage adoption in areas like Bantayan Island.
With heightened awareness on eco-tourism and environmental issues, “there would be increasing interest in solar and especially if businesses know that there are people who can do the maintenance and repair,” he said.
Garcia said their foundation decided to focus on technology and K to 12 education after going around the different communities in the Philippines to study the needs that they could address.
“At the same time, I also went to a symposium by PhilDev and USAID where they were talking about how we needed to increase our innovation in our country because we actually lag behind our other ASEAN neighbors in science education,” he said.
They started with donating science labs and equipment as well as training teachers in Palawan, where they have a power plants.
The Bantayan Island project, he said, is “a big part of our next step.” He said they intend to make it nationwide and would be assessing its impact, particularly of the solar power curriculum, for the needed improvements.
He said the students in Bantayan who will be trained on solar power can potentially serve the community, including five other islet schools.
“That’s basically the idea – that it would be self-sustaining on the education side. It creates people that are skilled at jobs that are growing in demand. Solar is getting cheaper every year, so the demand has been increasing every year. And we think places like this are ideal to have people educated in solar because it is known for the beautiful beaches, the beautiful water,” Garcia said.
When Hilotongan Integrated School is energized with solar power, Garcia said they could do other side projects like putting up an adult learning program on computers during weekends, when there are no regular classes.