• Govt earmarks P7.7B to energize off-grid communities

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    THE government has earmarked P7.68 billion for a project to energize off-grid communities in various remote areas in the country.

    In a statement released on Tuesday, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said the fund has been released to the National Electrification Administration (NEA) and charged against the agency’s budget under the 2014 General Appropriations Act (GAA).

    Of the total amount, P6.36 billion will support the implementation of the Sitio Electrification Project (SEP), the DBM said. Of this amount, three Notices of Cash Allocation (NCA) totaling P3.29 billion have so far been released to support the electrification of an initial 4,395 sitios or sub-villages.

    The budget agency noted that P1.26 billion has also been allotted for the Barangay Line Enhancement Project (BLEP).

    Budget and Management Secretary Florencio Abad said the government is putting more barangays and sitios on the grid this year so they can finally gain access to power services.

    “This is a crucial step in helping these communities and their residents take control of their socio-economic development. Many of these communities are located in remote and far-flung parts of the country, and connecting them to the grid will allow families to stay productive even after sundown,” Abad said.

    The budget chief said the remaining P57.8 million of the amount released has been set aside for the implementation of both the SEP and BLEP in conflict-affected areas covered by the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Pamana) or the Peaceful and Resilient Communities program.

    “Now that we are at the cusp of formally establishing lasting peace in the Bangsamoro, we can focus even more closely on pursuing socio-economic development in the region. Access to electricity is one of the basic services that Bangsamoro communities will receive, alongside other peace and economic interventions. This is exactly what we mean when we say ‘inclusive growth,’ where the benefits of economic growth can truly be felt by everyone,” he said.

    At the same time, the DBM announced that through the help of partner electric cooperatives, the electrification administration has successfully complied with and submitted to the agency the prerequisite requirements for the release of the P7.68-billion subsidy.

    These include certifications of information on population and number of houses per sitio, map of the municipality or city indicating the sitios and barangays to be energized, specific cost requirements in energizing a sitio or enhancing a barangay grid line, and the number of beneficiaries of house connections, the DBM said.

    As of June 30, a total of 16,467 sitios have been completely energized through the SEP since 2011. BLEP has also enhanced a total of 436 barangays during the same period, it noted.

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