DOST Region V-TBM MOA: Bicol’s first off-grid solar-powered social enterprise plant
Bicol’s first off-grid solar-powered citronella distillation plant located beside the Tabang Bikol Movement (TBM) building in Canaman, Camarines Sur, at the back of MPCF campus.
The Regional Director of the Department of Science and Technology (DoST), Rommel N. Serrano, hailed the power system as the first of its kind to power up a community social enterprise in the Bicol region. RD Serrano likewise congratulated the TBM, headed by Evita Jimenez-Tuazon, for its exemplary achievement in the use of solar power to generate clean energy to run the plant-based distillation plant with the community. TBM also forged a partnership with the Department of Agriculture then under Regional Director Elena delos Santos for a one storey distillation plant with five distillers for the People’s Organization of Disaster Survicors (PODiS).
The distillation plant which aims to produce essential oils from plants like citronella, lemongrass and pili will soon operate. It symbolizes a breakthrough not only in the production of essential oils as mosquito repellent and the E-Sense cosmetic oils but also in providing alternative livelihood to poor farmers especially the grassroots women. A by-product is the citronella-scented candle which is also now on sale at various outlets in Bicol and outside the region.
Turn Over of Symbolic key DOST and TBM
The off-grid solar system is funded by a DoST grant, aimed to upgrade the current operations of TBM and to ensure sustainability and increase efficiency in the operations of its economic production for grassroots development. A Memorandum of Agreement between the DoST and TBM capped the event followed by the symbolic turnover of the project through a key presented by RD Rommel Serrano to TBM.
TBM is non-profit volunteer humanitarian aid organization recognized by the Regional Development Council of Region V that aims to empower the women members in the municipality through economic development and currently engaged in growing natural health plants and processing of citronella oils.
Witnessing the historic occasion were the DoST Provincial Office led by Director Pat Felizmenio, Engineer Buboi Reyes, Dr Jimenez and representatives of the Mariners faculty, students and staff, members of the TBM Board and Volunteers, VP for Innovation and Research Monet Ramirez on behalf of Central Bicol State University
talked about being inspired by the project – a result of collective voluntary efforts by TBM members with the support of the DoST, DA, and the community of the Mariners Polytechnic Colleges Foundation in Baras, Canaman. MPCF VPA Dr. Gabby L. Jimenez said the new technology marks a critical step toward the popularization of the solar power in the region which is seen to drastically reduce electricity consumption rates with more households and communities going for renewal energy.