Reps. Presley de Jesus of Philreca, Sergio Dagooc of Apec, Godofredo Guya of Recodoba, and Adriano Ebcas of Ako Padayon made the call, saying 19,000 sitios, where 13 million Filipinos live, have not been reached by the rural electrification program.
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Lawmakers seek P28.5 billion for rural electrification
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - August 12, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Several lawmakers yesterday urged the House of Representatives to allocate at least P28.5 billion to energize the remaining barangay communities still without electricity.

Reps. Presley de Jesus of Philreca, Sergio Dagooc of Apec, Godofredo Guya of Recodoba, and Adriano Ebcas of Ako Padayon made the call, saying 19,000 sitios, where 13 million Filipinos live, have not been reached by the rural electrification program.

The four represent millions of members of rural electric cooperatives, which are the government’s arm in energizing the entire country.

Their president in the Party-list Coalition, Rep. Mikee Romero of 1-Pacman, and Reps. Edcel Lagman of Albay and Xavier Jesus Romualdo of Camiguin supported their appeal.

Romero said the P28.5 billion is the cost of supplying the 19,000 sitios with electricity at P1.5 million per sitio.

He said he and his colleagues would work for the appropriation of such amount when the House tackles the proposed P4.1-trillion 2020 national budget.

“We have to help millions of our people living in remote communities in darkness,” he said.

De Jesus said half of the 13 million Filipinos still without electricity, or 6.5 million, are located in Mindanao.

He said lack of funds and the remoteness of the un-served areas account for the failure of the National Electrification Administration (NEA) and rural electric cooperatives to energize these communities.

For instance, he said the NEA last year asked for P1.6 billion in budget subsidy from the national government, but only half was allocated.

Supporting his colleagues’ call, Lagman said he allotted billions of pesos to the rural electrification program when he chaired the House appropriations committee.

He said he agreed with the proposal to convert NEA into an independent authority to give it more leeway in raising funds.

For his part, Romualdo urged rural electric cooperatives to reduce their “system loss,” which represents electricity lost due to pilferage, old transmission lines, weather conditions and other causes.

He said the huge amount of such losses incurred by cooperatives is passed on to their customers.

Dagooc said they have been trying to plug system leakages.

“But it is unavoidable to have system loss in reaching our countrymen in remote areas due to the long transmission lines that have to be installed where electricity is lost. The remedy is to have more substations, but that will require more funds,” he said.

NATIONAL ELECTRIFICATION ADMINISTRATION RURAL ELECTRIFICATION
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