Keppel & Gawad Kalinga to build Bauan Municipality’s first Eco Village for the poor
The Philippines, 29 April 2011 – Singapore’s multinational Keppel Group has joined hands with Gawad Kalinga  (GK) to develop a vibrant living community for the under-privileged in Batangas Province.
 
The groundbreaking ceremonies held today at 1-ha Keppel-GK Eco Village site in Bauan by Municipal Mayor, Honorable Ryanh M. Dolor. The Eco Village will comprise about 60 houses, a pre-school center and a community center. The development will be infused and managed with eco-friendly principles and concepts to promote harmony with the environment.
 
Mayor Dolor commended its long-standing partner, “I am very pleased to officiate at the start of another long term community effort by Keppel today. As a corporate member of Bauan for more than 35 years, Keppel has worked with the Municipality to initiate and support many social and environmental causes benefiting our communities.

 


“The destitute often live in disaster-prone areas, with poor sanitation and limited access to fresh water and food. The Keppel-GK Eco Village, a first in Bauan, will help to change this by providing a healthy and sustainable living environment for its beneficiaries, restoring their dignity and empowering them to break out of the poverty cycle.
 
“It is heartening to have organizations with a strong sense of citizenry operating in our community. Keppel and GK have my fullest support for this initiative.”
 
The Eco Village will be built in three phases and completed in mid-2012. Keppel will seed an initial sum of about PhP10 million to develop the Eco Village. The beneficiaries will assist in its construction as part of the GK formula of sweat equity, and in the process cultivate a sense of community belonging and ownership for the estate.
 
Consistent to the environmental thrust of Gawad Kalinga communities, careful measures will be taken to preserve and integrate the natural surroundings into the development. Mango trees onsite will be conserved and have their fruits harvested by the residents as a potential source of income. The development will also have garden plots for residents to engage in subsistence farming.  Eco-friendly practices such as collecting rainwater for domestic use and making organic fertilizers from biodegradable waste will be introduced. The Keppel Group also intends to work with GK to adapt and inject its environmental engineering and management expertise into the Eco Village in the long term.
 
Mr Poh Leong Kok, Vice President of Keppel Philippines Marine, Inc., expressed its commitment, “The Keppel Group is intimately involved in sustainable development and living through its key businesses of offshore and marine, infrastructure and property development. As we offer solutions to meet the needs of rapid urbanisation, we want to share our resources and expertise to help improve quality of life for the less privileged wherever Keppel is present.
 
“Drawing on the collective strengths of the Keppel Group and GK, we will engage our staff volunteers to nurture a vibrant living environment for the poor.”
 
Luis Oquiñena, Executive Director of GK was pleased to welcome Keppel Group as a GK partner, “Through the culture of caring and sharing we hope to leverage our partnership with thought-leading companies in sustainable development to pursue innovations that will improve quality of life for the poorest of the poor. In the way that GK communities have helped impoverished families lead productive lives, restoring their dignity. I am confident that the Keppel-GK Eco Village will positively impact the people of Bauan.”