The Foundation for Rural Electrification for Economic Development (FREED) was founded in 1999 when then-Energy Secretary Mario Tiaoqui invited a small group of industry players to establish an organization that would help supplement the government's initiatives in providing electricity for the rural areas of the Philippines. Among its board members were Johnny Santos, Oscar Reyes, Peter Gamuncho, Lito Sibayan, Nick Jacob, Gabby Singson, Polly Nazareno, and Roy Navarro.
FREED employed the support of major corporations, such as Credit Suisse and Neslte, to sponsor electrification of a beneficiary barangay. It implemented its programs on its own or in partnership with its corporate and community partners, but always with the goal of balancing capacity with the sustainability of project sites.
In 2011, then-Energy Secretary Vince Perez sought to revamp the operations of FREED. It was given new life as Stiftung Solarenergie Philippines, the Philippine chapter of the Stiftung Solarenergie Network for Rural Development with Jim Ayala serving as chairman.
At the beginning of 2019, FREED conducted several Strategic Planning Meetings which resulted in the restructuring of its programs. Rural electrification remains core to its mission but a greater focus was placed on economic development and renewable energy, as the foundation renewed its commitment to sustainably addressing the challenge of energy poverty in off-grid, rural communities.
Following the company-wide series of meeting in the spring of 2019, we decided to alter our approach to empowering rural and marginalized villages throughout the country by changing the programs we offer.
Our Empowering Education programs aim to provide learners in unelectrified communities with environments that are more conducive to learning, whether at home, in school, or within the village.
Through our Empowering Health program, we aim to promote a healthier community by helping to ensure the provision of quality basic rural health services and facilities to effectively cater to the needs of the people.
Empowering Emergency Response
The Philippines lies within the Pacific Typhoon Belt, placing it within the path of an average of 20 typhoons a year, as well as the Pacific Ring of Fire, that causes frequent earthquakes and volcanic activities. Filipinos regularly face the dangers of these natural hazards. At times like these, one of the first to be cut off are access to electricity and communications.
Our Light for Emergency initiatives aim to empower affected communities and families to recover from emergencies and disasters. We complement the services and programs of emergency responders and other service-oriented organizations to be able to help provide relief and recovery opportunities to affected families.