United States Ambassador Kristie Kenney said Mirant, through its non-profit Mirant Foundation, gave the amount to the Alliance for Mindanao Off-Grid Renewable Energy (AMORE).
AMORE is a program funded by the United States Agency for International Development. It provides electricity to remote Mindanao barangays that can’t be reached by the services of commercial power providers.
“Thousands of Filipino citizens in Mindanao will improve their lives through the flick of a light switch, thanks to Mirant Phils,” Ambassador Kenney said.
AMORE is also being run through grantee Winrock International, the Department of Energy, government officials in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and other public and private partners.
The $2 million fund was turned over recently by Jose Leviste, Jr., chairman, president and chief executive officer of Mirant Philippines.
Mirant has been a private partner of the AMORE program since the project was implemented and has contributed more than $4 million in funds to its electrification programs, Mr. Leviste said.
The $2 million given to AMORE 16 will be used to purchase solar panels and associated hardware for 150 barangays in rural Mindanao, he said.
Ces Rodriguez, AMORE information, education and communications manager, stressed the $2 million was in a form of donation.
To date, the AMORE program has brought light to more than 7,000 households in 227 barangays using renewable energy systems.
Kenney said electricity would bring profound changes in the lives of the beneficiaries. “If you have electricity, students can learn more,” she said. “They can study at night and connect to the Internet.”
“If you have electricity, you can have better production. You can use power tools instead of hand tools and produce more products and better quality products to improve your economic level. If you have electricity, you can have better health. You can cook food and boil water more properly,” she added.
“Bringing light to peoples’ lives makes a huge difference, and I hope the light we bring will be the light of progress, prosperity, and peace,” said Kelly.
Leviste said it is important to support “programs that promote sustainable development in the countryside.”
Energy Sec. Raphael Lotilla noted that for barangays lacking electricity, there is “a huge correlation to poverty.
“We want to change that and can only do it with the help of everyone here and in the field,” he added.