30 remote areas in SouthCot, Sarangani to be energized

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/6 October) – Power distribution utility South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative (Socoteco II) is set to energize 30 more remote communities here and nearby provinces of South Cotabato and Sarangani through the national government’s continuing rural electrification program.

Joy Celeste Alora, Socoteco II information officer, said the initiative is part of the ongoing expansion in the area of the government’s Sitio Electrification Program (SEP).

She said the project covers 30 sitios and puroks in this city, Alabel town in Sarangani as well as Tupi and Polomolok towns in South Cotabato.

“The line construction works from our main line to the identified community and household-beneficiaries are presently ongoing,” Alora said in a radio interview.

Earlier this year, Socoteco II initially energized 15 communities as part of the program’s implementation, which had been endorsed by President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III as a priority initiative.

The national government had tapped local electric cooperatives as the main implementers of SEP, with the Department of Energy and the National Electrification Administration (NEA) as supervising agencies.

NEA had earmarked some P6.27 billion for the implementation of SEP this year, with P3.7 billion coming from its 2012 budget and P2.57 billion from the national government.

Alora said they are currently fast tracking the program’s implementation to facilitate its expansion to other non-energized communities within its service area.

Socoteco II serves General Santos City, the seven municipalities of nearby Sarangani Province and the municipalities of Tupi and Polomolok in South Cotabato.

Alora said they are currently evaluating several communities in the area that may be included in the SEP’s expansion.

“There are a number of communities that are actually qualified to avail of the program but we could not request a budget for them because of right-of-way problems concerning our lines,” she said.

As support for the program, she said they launched a house wiring loan program for its target household-beneficiaries.

She said the beneficiaries may avail of P6,600 worth of loan from the electric cooperative in the form of materials and labor costs for the house wiring, which includes the installation of two lighting units and two electrical outlets.

Alora said the grantees may pay back their loans through a two-year repayment scheme set by the electric cooperative. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)