Rural electrification project continues in South Cotabato

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/13 February)– The provincial government of South Cotabato has allocated around P2 million for the implementation of the initial phase of its flagship rural electrification program this year.

South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes said Friday they have identified an initial 13 sitios and puroks in parts of the province as recipients of the program, which will be implemented in partnership with distribution utility South Cotabato I Electric Cooperative (Socoteco I).

She said a total of 226 households and public establishments will directly benefit from the initiative.

The project will involve the linkup of identified community-beneficiaries to the main power grid and the installation of electrical lines to the households, she said.

She said the project also includes the rehabilitation of the power lines of two public schools in the province.

The governor said the implementation of the project was divided into two batches, with the first benefiting 98 households and establishments, and will have a budget of around P1.14 million.

It will cover the Lamian National High School in Barangay Lamian, Surallah town; Sitios Lambato and Lambuling in Barangay Talufo, T’boli; and, Marbel 1 Central Elementary School in Barangay Gen. Paulino Santos, Puroks Camia and Sampaguita in Barangay New Pangasinan and parts of Barangay Saravia in Koronadal City.

The second batch or component will cover 128 households and has a total allocation of P842,590, she said.

The beneficiaries are Puroks Felipe, Rizal, Aquino and Masagana-B in Koronadal City; Puroks 4 and 5 in Tantangan; Purok Rosas in Barangay Little Baguio in Surallah; and, Purok 3-A, Barangay Maltana in Tampakan.

Fuentes said the project sites are all part of the service area of Socoteco I, which serves Koronadal City, Lutayan town in Sultan Kudarat and seven municipalities in South Cotabato.

The rural electrification project, which took off from the national government’s Sitio Electrification Program (SEP), is among the priority initiatives that were earlier set by the provincial government for this year.

In the last two years, the province received nearly P140 million in grants for the implementation of projects under the SEP.

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.

The DOE and NEA initially targeted the energization of 6,000 sitios under SEP but has increased it to 10,000 on instructions from President Benigno S. Aquino III.

The President had committed a total funding of P33 billion for the program, which will be implemented until the end of 2015. (MindaNews)