Solar power lights up Bagumbayan village

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/29 Sept) –Residents of an upland village in Bagumbayan town in Sultan Kudarat now have brighter days and nights ahead with the completion of a government-funded solar electrification project.

Bai Zorahayda Taha, director of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), said they recently turned over to residents of Barangay Sumilil in Bagumbayan at least 13 units of solar battery charging stations and 15 units of streetlights that were installed through its flagship anti-poverty program Kalahi-CIDSS.

Kalahi-CIDSS stands for Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services.

Taha said the project, worth around P1.38 million, is now serving 293 households of Barangay Sumilil, which is considered one of the remotest villages of Bagumbayan.

“Before the project came, local residents used either gas lamps or rechargeable batteries to light up their homes at night, exhausting their meager income and time for livelihood-related activities,” she said in a statement.

She said the project was implemented to address the electricity needs of the village, which is about 50 kilometers away from the town proper of Bagumbayan.

In an earlier consultation, Sumilil residents pointed to electricity as their “most pressing need.”

Taha said the installation of the solar-powered battery charging stations in the area helped address the other basic needs of residents and reduced the time and expenses required for travelling to nearby Barangay Gapok of Senator Ninoy Aquino town where the charging stations are based.

She noted that in order for the residents to recharge their batteries, they have to travel to Gapok and spend P20 for battery charging and another P100 for the fare.

Lulicia Magabala, 30, a Manobo mother of four, said the project is a big relief for them as it significantly reduced their household expenses.

“Our children can now study at night while our community is now safer with the presence of the solar streetlights,” she said.
Kalahi-CIDSS forms part of the three-pronged anti-poverty convergence programs of the national government.

Dubbed “Tatsulok,” the initiative includes the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps and Sustainable Livelihood Program.

Under the Kalahi-CIDSS, poor communities are capacitated to analyze their own problems, manage, plan, and implement their identified project to answer their pressing needs.

In Region 12, the project was able to help build various community infrastructure projects such as school buildings, bridges, health stations, water systems, day care centers, roads, post-harvest facilities, and other common services.

Region 12 (Southwestern Mindanao; also known as tSoccsksargen), comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos,Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato. (MindaNews)