By AC Dimatatac

A month after Typhoon Mangkhut (Ompong) technical staff of Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC) and volunteers from 350.org and Greenpeace Philippines went back to Tuguegarao Cagayan to conduct a workshop on TekPak assembly to locals of Baggao and Alcala. Tekpak is a solar-powered portable device that can energize lights, mobile devices and medical equipment such as nebulizer.

The 12 male participants vary from students to professionals working on different field. Some of them have experience on working with solar systems but most of them are novice.

Freddie Abreo, a local from Tugegarao who sells kitchenware in downtown, has his own small solar system of 3 KWH in his own home. “My hobby is to build electronic stuff and I got interested in solar energy when I stumble upon it in Facebook. I taught myself through the forums and discussions online and build my own system five years ago and it still working. My solar system can power aircon, microwave and any electronical devices,” said Freddie.

For Freddie he see solar energy as beneficially not only for him but on his town especially brownouts are frequent in Tuguegarao so if people will learn more about this they can utilize and make their own solar home systems.

Al Jef Capagalan, a newly licensed electrical engineer and master electrician, is one of the facilitators of the training. He is from Palo Leyte and a survivor of Super Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). “I spend my internship in Re Charge Pilipinas in Tacloban and since then I’ve been handling TekPak system. It’s my privilege to share this knowledge to the locals here and I can relate to their experience as I was also a survivor. TekPak could be a vital tool for them during disaster because of its portability you can easily bring it anywhere and can power lights and charge mobile devices for communication. Sir Joseph and Ojie and also the rest of the locals are very eager to learn the system and they are fast learner,” said by Al Jef.

The participants are keen to build the TekPaks they got fascinated by its design that even a first year electrical engineering student, Gerald Lasam, is excited to share his new learnings to his school.

The workshop lasted for a whole weekend but the learnings that the participants got will stick to them for a long time especially that they are interested to share it to their own communities.

“Solar energy is important not just for disasters but for our everyday life and it’s important to share it to our community”, said Freddie.