MANILA, Philippines?The Lopez Group of companies has expressed sadness over the death of Prof. Leonardo Co, Sofronio Cortez and Julius Borromeo in Leyte on Monday. They were engaged in the process of cataloguing endangered plant species as part of Energy Development Corp.?s Binhi Program in the forests of Kananga, Leyte.
Co was one of the Philippine?s preeminent botanists who had been engaged by EDC to help implement the Binhi program, 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 chair and CEO, said, ?Leonard has worked alongside the Lopez Group in many of our biodiversity 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.?
Cortez was a member of the Tongonan Farmer?s Association while Borromeo was part of EDC?s Community Partnerships Department.
Co was one of the country?s most admired botanists as he is considered as to be one of the last ?classically? trained in plant taxonomy and systematics in the Philippines. One of his accomplishments is the ?Rafflesia Leonardi, a new species endemic to the rainforest in Cagayan province.
He was 56 years old. His remains are at the Church of The Risen Lord in UP. He will be cremated on Tuesday.