GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/21 December) — The national government has allocated an additional P140 million for the electrification of more remote communities in South Cotabato province next year.
South Cotabato second district Rep. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said Friday such appropriation will mainly fund the construction of additional power distribution lines and the implementation of electrification
projects in various sitios in the province.
She said the P40 million allotment will come from the national government’s approved budget for next year while the P100 million will be sourced from the government’s savings for this year.
“These allotments were already approved and due for release early next year,” Fuentes said in her regular radio program.
Citing a recent meeting with Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, she said the release of the electrification funds will be coursed through the government’s Sitio Electrification Program (SEP).
She said her office is presently identifying the areas that would be covered by the project, which will be concentrated in non-energized villages and communities within the province’s upper valley area.
The upper valley area comprises the municipalities of T’boli, Lake Sebu, Banga, Surallah, Norala and Sto. Niño.
Fuentes said which will be implemented through power distribution utility South Cotabato I Electric Cooperative (Socoteco I).
The national government had tapped local electric cooperatives as the main implementers of SEP, with the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Electrification Administration (NEA) as supervising agencies.
NEA had earmarked some P6.27 billion for the implementation of SEP this year, with P3.70 billion coming from its 2012 budget and P2.57 billion from the national government.
Meantime, Fuentes said they are currently working for the inclusion of Barangay Ned in Lake Sebu town into the SEP.
“We’re checking with NEA whether our allotment for the SEP could be used to fund the electrification of the entire barangay Ned,” she said.
Barangay Ned, which hosts several coal mining projects and agribusiness production areas, has remained without electricity due to its inaccessibility and distance to the power transmission lines.
Fuentes said that based on Socoteco I’s estimates, the electrification of the entire Barangay Ned would cost around P93 million. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)