Funds for solar lighting of an off-grid community in Easter Samar were donated by a Supreme Court magistrate, his family and his staff last week.
Oxfam Philippines, a poverty alleviation organization, received these donations from the Chambers of Senior Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen and his family.
This will benefit the 35 households and fisherfolk of the off-grid coastal community of Barangay Tikling in the municipality of Dolores in Eastern Samar.
During his talk at a previous Oxfam event, Leonen shared that he and his staff have encountered cases of crimes in several poor communities.
He pointed out that these places are often dark or deprived of electricity.
As a climate advocate, the magistrate believed that by helping these communities develop, crimes can be reduced and residents will prosper.
Leonen also recalled at the program his previous work as a public interest lawyer.
This led him to visit different areas of the Philippines that were under-developed, including far-flung villages without power connections and infrastructures.
According to his Supreme Court profile, in 1987, Leonen co-founded an advocacy institution called Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center, Inc. that provided legal services for the upland poor and indigenous people’s communities.
Oxfam stated that the veteran lawyer has previously donated funds for the people of Dolores during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The donations were used for the construction of a solar facility for an evacuation center and for a few isolated households on the Hilabaan Island in the province.
During his talk, Leonen expressed hoped that they could visit the area one day to see the impact of renewable energy on communities that have long been deprived of electricity.
Meanwhile, Oxfam Pilipinas Country Director Lot Felizco was thankful for their donation, citing that it was “very meaningful”, especially to the off-grid community.
“We should all emulate that generosity and empathy,” Felizco said.
Leonen added that giving such assistance can help “make our own life meaningful because we have a passion to do something worthwhile.”
Oxfam Pilipinas Ambassador for Resilience Antoinette Taus called the donation a “gift” to island communities.
“It’s really something that we hope to inspire more people to join in this mission for just energy transition,” she said.
Solar projects of Oxfam
During the event, Oxfam also held a special screening of its documentary titled “Tabuka Kami” by Lyf Productions.
The 20-minute film can still be viewed via Oxfam Philippines’ YouTube channel.
The documentary showed how solar power as a renewable energy provided jobs; made life easier and secure for the communities of Hilabaan.
The solar projects were led by Oxfam and partner organization Sentro para sa Ikauunlad ng Katutubong Agham at Teknolohiya Inc. (SIKAT Inc.).
The organization is calling for the shift towards renewable energy to help reduce carbon emissions.