National Electrification Administration (NEA) Administrator Edgardo Masongsong vowed to step up the electrification in the countryside and to push initiatives that will bring down the cost of power in the Philippines.
“Bringing light to the barrios should be our top priority because there is a correlation between access to electricity and improved incomes,” Masongsong, who assumed his NEA post on November 18.
Quoting a study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS), the NEA chief explained that “household access to electricity in rural areas is associated with a 36 percent increase in per capita income, so you can see the role electrification plays in uplifting the lives of our countrymen.”
He said bringing electricity in the countryside will help President Rodrigo Duterte pursue his mandate “to bring peace and development to the countryside, especially Mindanao.”
The President, at the switch-on ceremonies of the electrification programs in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) on October 29, said he will “improve the Moro land.”
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi stressed the need to prioritize rural electrification.
“We have to find ways to energize all sitios and households to put people in the same level and be given the same opportunity,” he said.
Masongsong said NEA will intensify the implementation of the Sitio Electrification Program (SEP) and the Barangay Line Enhancement Program (BLEP) in close coordination with electric cooperatives, the Office of the President and the Departments of Energy and Budget and Management.
The former 1-CARE party-list representative also vowed to push for measures that will reduce power rates by addressing the factors that influence energy cost such as generation and transmission, distribution and supply costing, governmental charges such as VAT and subsidies to life-line consumers, among others.
“As a former legislator, I believe my experience in Congress will help me work with my former colleagues as so we can introduce measures that will lower power rates and make the country more attractive to investors,” he said.