Solar power project lights up Christmas in Bagumbayan

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/24 Dec.) — Christmas promises to be merrier than ever for at least 103 households in a remote village in Bagumbayan town in Sultan Kudarat province with the recent completion of a government-funded solar home system project in the area.

Gemma Rivera, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Region 12 director, said Tuesday the solar home system is now lighting up households of Barangay Kanulay, which is about 30 kilometers away from the town proper of Bagumbayan.

“This solar home system project is an answer to the most pressing need of Kanulay residents who have longed for many years to have their homes lighted up, especially during the Yuletide season,” she said in a statement.

The official said the agency invested around P1.75 million for the project, which was installed through its flagship initiative Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services or Kalahi-CIDSS.

She said most of the beneficiaries belong to the Manobo tribe, who subsist on traditional farming and other indigenous livelihood practices.

Jerwin Tiwan, 26, a Manobo father of two and one of the project’s beneficiaries, said the installation of the solar home system is a big help as it practically offers more livelihood opportunities for them.

For many years, he said their daily activities would stop at sunset due to the absence of electricity in their area.

“We had been clamoring for this for years. Now we can now do other livelihood activities at night and most of all, our children can study anytime they want at night,” Tiwan said.

The solar home system is among the 15 electrification projects worth P15.18 million that have been completed in Region 12 through the Kalahi-CIDSS, which is supported by the World Bank.

It forms part of the three-pronged anti-poverty convergence programs of the national government that are implemented by the DSWD.

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 since it was first implemented in 2003.

Region 12 comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato. (MindaNews)