DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/30 October) — The Duterte administration will pour in some P646.84 million for a massive electrification project within the five-province Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) next year as part of the “peace and development efforts.”
At least P610 million, or 94 percent of the total budget will be allotted for off-grid electrification while the remaining P36.84 million will be utilized for the on-grid electrification project, a press release issued by the Department of Energy (DOE), said.
The electric cooperatives in the ARMM will be tasked to implement the off-grid electrification program.
For the on grid-electrification, Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur will get P4.84 million, Tawi-Tawi P18.31 million, Basilan P2.81 million, and Sulu 10.88 million next year.
From 2015 until 2016, the DOE has previously allocated P574.23 million for the on-grid electrification projects that benefited some 39,365 households.
Addressing the audience at the launch Saturday in Cotabato City of the Comprehensive Reform and Development Agenda for ARMM and other conflict areas in three neighboring regions, President Rodrigo Duterte assured the ARMM will get a fair share of the national budget.
“Bubuhusan ko ang pera ang mga Moro region (I will pour in more budget in the Moro region),” he said.
Appalled by the poverty incidence in the ARMM, he said he wants to see improvement, most specifically in the health of Moro children.
Records from the Philippine Statistics Authority show that while poverty incidence in the Philippines was 21.1% as of the the first semester of 2015, it was 53.4% in the ARMM and while poverty incidence among population during the same period nationwide was 26.3%, with ARMM posting the highest, at 59.0%. The region has two cities and 116 municipalities.
Duterte and Energy secretary Alfonso Cusi spearheaded the ceremonial switch-on of the completed electrification projects of the DOE and the National Electrification Administration (NEA) at the launch of the inter-agency Comprehensive Reform and Development Agenda for ARMM and other conflict-affected areas in Regions 9, 10 and 12.
The President also distributed P13.8 million to Maguindanao Electric Cooperative, Inc. (MAGELCO) for the implementation of the Nationwide Intensification of Household Electrification (NIHE) program that will benefit 3,689 households within its franchise area.
Engr. Glenn Reston, OIC of the Mindanao Development Authority’s Mindanao Power Development Program said on October 26 at the Energy Smart Mindanao 2016 at the Park Inn here that they are pushing for an electricity market next year to address the looming power oversupply due to the entry of new coal plants before the end of this year.
He said the island is expected to have a surplus of over 1,000 MW.
The surplus will come from Filinvest Development Corp.’s 405 MW coal plant, San Miguel Corps.’ 600 MW coal, Cagayan Electric Power and Light Company Inc.’s embedded capacity of 155 MW, and Aboitiz Power’s Manolo Fortich Hydropower Project with 68 MW in Bukidnon, he said.
He said SMC’s two-unit plant has a capacity of 300 MW but expandable up to 600 MW.
“With the surplus, even with two shutdowns, we can handle it,” he assured.
He said the electricity market will allow power companies in the island to reallocate the surplus to areas where there is power lack.
“We are entering a regime of surplus capacity. We need to have the market,” he emphasized. (Antonio L. Colina IV/ MindaNews)