Sitio Layag, Sibuyan Island

June 2014

Conservation benefit: Protection of 2,471-acre forest watershed for 10 years
Community benefit: Solar lighting units

Sibuyan Island is one of the centers of plant diversity in Asia and the Pacific, according to the Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources (2002). It is believed to have one of the densest forests in the world, with an estimated 1,551 trees per hectare. Sibuyan serves as habitat for a rich array of endangered and endemic species, including a pitcher plant (Nepenthes sibuyanensis) that can be found only on the island. Other rare and endangered species include the long-tailed macaque, gold-mantled flying fox, Philippine tube-nosed fruit bat, and Visayan warty pig. One of the geological characteristics of the island is Mount Guiting-Guiting, which rises to around 2,000 meters (6,561 feet) above sea level. It has only about 4,200 hectares (10,378 acres) of forest cover remaining because of illegal logging. A community of 80 households of the Mangyan tribe live in one section the Mount Guiting-Guiting watershed.

Supplying some of the electricity in the lowlands is the Romblon Electric Cooperative (ROMELCO), through its micro-hydro power station. There are worries that if deforestation continues unabated, the water for the micro-hydro system may become insufficient. The Mangyans want electricity for lighting, and since the houses of the tribe are far apart from each other owing to the steep slopes of the mountain, it is extremely difficult to tap into the grid.

Seacology is assisting the Mangyan community and ROMELCO in procuring 80 solar power units, one for each household. In exchange, the Mangyan community will actively protect 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres) of watershed forest for at least 10 years.

Full or partial funding for this project provided by
Seacology Germany.
Project Updates
September 2015
The last solar power units have been released by customs officials and installed in households in the community.
May 2015
Twenty-three more solar power units have been bought, but are being held at customs. They are expected to be released by the end of May.
January 2015
Thanks to a favorable exchange rate and other factors, 80 units were bought for well under the budgeted amount. So Seacology approved our partner’s request to use the remaining funds to buy 25...
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