Jean Karl Huyatid | September 15, 2017
A patch of land at the Hazardous Waste Containment Facility of the 300-megawatt Davao Baseload Power Plant of AboitizPower subsidiary Therma South, Inc. (TSI) has become a source of nutrition for some team members and their families.
The facility, where used oil, paint cans, busted bulbs, ink cartridges, and other potentially toxic wastes are stored, is one of the least likely places that you would find a vegetable garden growing. But Alejandro “Ali” Villegas, TSI environmental aide, makes it possible to grow plump tomatoes and fat petchay right next to the facility.
Ali, who comes from Barangay Binugao in Davao City, one of the host communities of TSI, planted the tomatoes and petchay himself. When the time is right, he harvests them and shares the produce with his co-workers.
“Naanad nako sa bukid daan magtanom. Didto ko nidako, didto ko gitudluan sa akong papa. Kini gyud ang akong ginabuhat tong dati pa (I learned how to grow plants in the uplands where I grew up. It was where my father taught me how to farm. I’ve been doing this for a long time now),” said Ali, recounting how he grew up in the uplands of Baracatan where his father taught him how to grow food that serves as daily sustenance for the family.
Ali started the vegetable garden in February 2017. He grows okra, tomatoes, petchay, and spring onions. He plants to grow squash and bitter gourd in the same area.
“The vegetable garden shows how well-managed our storage for hazardous waste is. Vegetables wouldn’t be able to thrive here if it wasn’t,” said TSI Safety, Health, Environment and Quality Manager Kishler Pascual.
TSI sees Ali’s little garden as an opportunity to educate the rest of the community about nutrition and self-reliance. The company plans to open the garden to school trips.