P15 B needed to energize 1.7 M households in sitios before Duterte term ends

Published September 7, 2020, 5:28 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

The National Electrification Administration (NEA) needs some P15 billion to ensure the full roll-out of its Sitio Electrification Program (SEP) before President Duterte’s term ends in 2022.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte

During the House Committee on Appropriations’ hybrid deliberations on the Department of Energy’s proposed budget for 2021, NEA chief Edgardo Masongsong disclosed that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) gave them P1.6 billion for 2021 which will only energize 1,085 sitios only.

“For total electrification by 2022 before our President ends his term, we need more or less P15 billion, that is why we requested P7.5 billion for site electrification for 2021, but the approval level was only about P1.6 billion,” he told the panel, after PHILRECA partylist Rep. Presley de Jesus asked if its proposed budget for next year can sustain the implementation of its SEP.

Masongsong said they have yet to energize 12,000 more sitios or 1.7 million households.

“Of the target consumer connections of 14.34 million, we already energized 13.85 million or 88 percent. As to the sitios, out of targeted 147, 189 sitios, we already energized 123, 726 or 84 percent,” he said.

De Jesus cited the need to augment the budget of NEA to fully implement its rural electrification program.

“With the ‘Balik Probinsya’ program and the (implementation of the) online learning program, kung walang kuryente sa barangay, sa sitio, especially in the far-flung barangay, pano sila matututo? (if there is no electricity in barangay, in sitio, especially in the far-flung barangay, how can they learn?) I am not blaming the DoE or any agency, I want to know, does the DBM know na kailangan, mahalaga pondohan yan? (that should be funded?)” De Jesus said.

“Let’s sit down together, the NEDA and the DoE, with the DBM, to ensure that the sitio electrification will be fully funded,” he said.