LEYECO 3 to congress: Restore P635M NEA budget cut for 2019
Primo A. Cayubit (The Freeman) - September 5, 2018 - 12:00am

TUNGA, LEYTE, Philippines — Restore the P635-million budget for the National Electrification Administration (NEA) for next year, which was slashed by the Department of Energy.

This was the appeal issued by Allan Laniba, general manager of Leyte Electric Cooperative Inc. 3 (LEYECO 3), to Representative Karlo Alexei Nograles (1st district, Davao City), who attended the coop’s 39th annual general membership assembly last week in Tunga town of Leyte.

Laniba said the NEA budget cut will not help improve the sitios electrification program and not in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s program for full electrification of our country before the President’s term ends in 2022.

Laniba told Nograles that the budget cut is counterproductive to the rural electrification in Eastern Visayas, considering that there are still many sitios to be energized in the region. He said that LEYECO 3’s service areas cover nine towns in Leyte, of which 73 sitios are still to be energized under the coop’s electrification program.

LEYECO 3 was conferred with the Philippine’s Electric Cooperative of the Year award during the 2017 NEA-EC Lumens Awards ceremony in Tagum City of Davao last April 28. The award was in recognition of a coop’s exceptional performance in all facets of operations and rendering excellent service to its consumers.

Nograles, in his speech before the more than 9,000 people who attended LEYECO 3’s general assembly, said he will support the cause of the electric cooperative movement and assure them that he will do his best to restore the budget cut.

Nograles later told local reporters that the budget for the sitio electrification program must P1.8 billion, based on the 2018 level. But, with the budget cut, next year’s allocation would only be P1.1 billion. “Ang importante dito is mahanapan natin ng paraan kung papaano i-restore yon at least back to P1.8 billion,” he said.

“From the information I’ve gathered, I understand that an average of P1.4 million is required to energize a sitio. If that is the case, then the P635-million reduction in the NEA budget means the number of energized sitios will be lesser by 450 sitios compared to the previous year,” said the congressman.

Nograles said that NEA records showed there are still 19,740 sitios or 2.4 million households across the country that do not have access to electricity, majority of which are in the rural areas in the provinces. “Mindanao alone has the highest number of sitios — reaching 8,535 — without power,” he added. (FREEMAN)

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