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Hydropower project in Eastern Samar to be used as a tourist destination

The Taft Hydro Energy Plant’s management in Taft, Eastern Samar, has been requested by the Department of Tourism (DOT) to prepare the facility for educational tours.

Director of DOT 8 (Eastern Visayas), Karina Rosa Tiopes, claimed that visiting a renewable energy facility will be enjoyable and educational for adults as well as schoolchildren.

Tiopes says the DOT is trying to boost its tourist agenda to create more jobs. Therefore the notion of opening the plant for educational visits was previously brought up.

In an interview on Thursday, she stated, “Aside from the management of the power plant’s willingness to allow the site for tourism education, they have to prepare the power plant.”

This entails planning the concept and specifics of the plant tour and identifying the guides and subject-matter specialists who will educate the visitors about hydropower, the science of producing electricity from water, and how the power plant functions.

She also recommended that agreements be made regarding who would oversee the operations and other factors.

The hydropower plant tour must be combined with other tour activities that are related to it, including a trip to the Samar Island Natural Park (SINP), to be profitable.

With 333,300 hectares of buffer space distributed throughout the three provinces of Samar Island, the SINP is the biggest contiguous area of old-growth forest in the nation. It also has several protected areas, including the Taft Forest Wildlife Sanctuary.

“This tour program would be a good addition to the tours being offered in Eastern Samar,” she added. “If this tour program is developed properly and if a strong marketing program is put in place to ensure access to target markets.”

After Rep. Marcelino Libanan, the minority floor leader in the House of Representatives and a member of the 4Ps Party, requested that Taft Hydro Energy Corp. CEO Benjie Picardo open the site for tourism instruction, Tiopes made the remarks.

By the end of the next year, Taft Hydro Energy Corp. hopes to generate 50 MW of electricity in Eastern Samar using hydroelectric and solar power plants.

According to Picardo, since it started operating in October 2022, the hydropower plant in Taft town’s San Rafael village has been generating 16 MW of electricity connected to the Philippine National Grid Corporation.

They are also building a second hydroelectric facility to generate 14 MW of electricity.

Picardo reported that the company broke ground on April 21 for a 20-MW solar power project that will be finished in 2024.

Of the 40 hectares of land the firm leased from the SINP inside the natural park, the solar power plant will take up 20 hectares. The location formerly housed Bagacay Mining’s mining activities, which were shut down in the late 1970s.

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