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PIA Press Release
2010/11/19

Feature: Lopez group pays tribute to the greatest RP botanist

Tacloban City (November 19) -- The Lopez Group of companies is saddened by the tragic loss of Professor Leonardo Co, Sofronio Cortez and Julius Borromeo who died in Leyte last Monday. They were engaged in the process of cataloguing endangered plant species as part of Energy Development Corporation's (EDC) BINHI Program in the forests of Kananga, Leyte.

Professor Leonardo Co was one of the Philippine's pre-eminent botanists who had been engaged by EDC to help implement the BINHI program. BINHI is EDC's broad-scale reforestation and biodiversity restoration program that aims to plant 10,000 hectares of endemic and endangered plant species over the next 10 years.

Federico R. Lopez, EDC chairman and CEO said "Leonard has worked alongside the Lopez Group in many of our bio-diversity and conservation initiatives. His untimely and senseless death will leave a deep void in the academe, scientific community and in all our hearts. In the same way, Sofronio Cortez and Julius Borromeo have been invaluable contributors to our common goal of protecting and preserving the environment while serving and uplifting the lives of the communities around our various sites. They will be painfully missed by us and the people they have sincerely touched as they went about their daily tasks."

Sofronio Cortez was a member of the Tongonan Farmer's Association while Julius Borromeo is part of EDC's Community Partnerships Department.

Richard Tantoco, President and COO of EDC said "everyone at EDC is deeply shocked and saddened by this terrible incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Professor Leonardo Co, Sofronio Cortez and Julius Borromeo at this time."

"We would like to assure their families that we will cooperate with the authorities who will investigate precisely how such a tragedy like this could have happened. What we do know, is that EDC had informed the Philippine Army Command responsible for security in the area of Professor Co's planned route and activities and had received positive confirmation for them to proceed before they entered the area. What occurred subsequently remains unclear at the moment, but we will cooperate fully with the investigators tasked to find out precisely what happened," Mr. Tantoco added. (PIA 8) [top]

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