Government-owned National Development Corporation (NDC) on 7 December 2023 signed a P40-million investment commitment for the expansion of the Davao Thermo Biotech Corporation (DTBC), a Davao City-initiated pioneering waste-to-fertilizer company in the country.
The P40-million investment contract signed by NDC General Manager Antonilo DC Mauricio and DTBC Chief Executive Officer Olive Puentespina at the Malagos Homegrown Cafe in Matina Aplaya last 7 December 2023 is aimed at expanding the operations and capacity of DTBC, which at present services several fast food chains in the city, helping a major food processing and manufacturing company dispose of its expired products and wastes, including hard to decompose poultry feathers, and households subscribing to the Yellow Drum Project.
Established in 2015 and operated commercially since 2017 by the late Dr. Roberto P. Puentespina Jr., a veterinarian, and stalwart environmentalist, DTBC acquired the license to use the YMO technology from Kankyo Wakuchin Vaccine Co. Ltd. of Japan, which uses hyperthermophilic aerobic bacterial composting to convert biodegradables into natural fertilizer.
Through this technology, DTBC can convert biodegradable to biofertilizer in 45 of high-temperature composting.
The technology ensures pathogenic organisms are destroyed and prevents leachate contamination of the environment. The resulting biofertilizer has also been proven to improve soil quality, reviving farmlands that have been rendered less productive by chemical inputs.
In recalling how he pushed for the project after a long phone conversation with Puentespina about the company’s capabilities and potential, Mauricio said he “wants this investment as a signal”.
“It’s a messaging that the Philippine Government is investing in something like this and I want it replicated in other parts of the country,” he said, pointing out that 90-95 percent of proposals he is made to study are from Metro Manila.
“I work with the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) in the regions and I say, give me the proposals, and let’s give them the assistance they need,” he added. “It will take some work but that’s where we’re headed.”
Mauricio said DTBC passed all items in his self-made checklist for proposals, which are: Pioneering, developmental, sustainable, inclusive, and innovative.
Since it started operating in 2017, DTBC has diverted more than 30-million kilos of biodegradable waste from landfills and other traditional dumpsites to its composting plant in Binguao, Toril District, Davao City. But that is just a drop as the city generates almost 300,000 metric tons of solid waste a year or around 600 metric tons a day of which 50% is biodegradable.
NDC looks forward to a sustained partnership with DTBC with Mauricio jokingly pointing to an area in the cafe grounds where he said DTBC can put up his life-sized sculpture.
“But only when DTBC is ten times the size of what it is now, ten times more successful, and ten times more investments, and maybe we will reinvest ten times the amount,” he added.
The signing was attended by the DTBC Board of Directors and their Japanese partners including Chair Francis G. Estrada, CFO Tanny R. Acuña, Corporate Secretary Hector Belisario, director Masanori Sugiura and Charita P. Puentespina, along with government representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources XI-Environment Management Bureau, Department of Agriculture-Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority, and Department of Tourism XI with no less than its Regional Director Tanya R. Tan.