TACLOBAN CITY – The Department of Tourism (DOT) has called on the management of the Taft Hydro Energy Plant in Taft, Eastern Samar to prepare its site for educational tours.
DOT 8 (Eastern Visayas) Director Karina Rosa Tiopes said not only students but even adults and professionals would enjoy and gain knowledge should they visit a renewable power plant.
Tiopes said the idea of opening the plant for educational tours was earlier brought up as the DOT aims to improve its tourism agenda to bring in more jobs.
“However, aside from the willingness of the power plant management to allow the site for tourism education, they have to prepare the power plant,” she said in an interview Thursday.
This includes mapping out the plant tour concept and details, identifying guides and experts who will explain to the guests about hydropower or the science of generating energy from water, and how the power plant operates.
She also suggested that agreements should also be laid out as to who would manage the operations and other aspects.
For the hydropower plant tour to be viable, it has to be linked with other related tour activities, such as a visit to the Samar Island Natural Park (SINP).
The SINP is the country’s largest contiguous tract of old-growth forest, covering 333,300 hectares with its buffer spreading over the three provinces in Samar Island and home to several protected areas among which is the Taft Forest Wildlife Sanctuary.
“If this tour program is developed properly and if a strong marketing program is put in place to ensure access to target markets, then this would be a good addition to the tours that are being offered in Eastern Samar,” she said.
Tiopes made the remarks after House of Representatives Minority Floor Leader and 4Ps Party-list Rep. Marcelino Libanan suggested to Taft Hydro Energy Corp. president Benjie Picardo to open the site for tourism education.
Taft Hydro Energy Corp. is targeting to produce 50 megawatts (MW) of power by next year through combined hydro and solar energy power plants in Eastern Samar.
Picardo said their hydropower plant in San Rafael village in Taft town, which began operations in October 2022, has been producing 16 MW of power connected to the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines.
They are also constructing another hydropower plant that will produce 14 MW of electricity.
Picardo said the company held a groundbreaking on April 21 for their 20-MW solar power plant, which is up for completion in 2024.
The solar power plant will cover 20 hectares of the 40 hectares of land inside the natural park leased by the company from the SINP. The site used to be the mining operation area of Bagacay Mining, which ceased operations in the late 1970s. (PNA)