Typhoon-hit Marinduque electric coop secures calamity loan

Published February 14, 2021, 5:00 AM

by Myrna M. Velasco

To rehabilitate its facilities that were struck down by strong typhoons last year, the Marinduque Electric Cooperative (MARELCO) was granted and disbursed a calamity loan of P3.322 million from the National Electrification Administration.

According to the NEA’s accounts management and guarantee department, the assets of the power utility needing repairs were those damaged during the wallop of typhoons Quinta and Rolly around October and November last year.

To recall, the Marinduque electric cooperative had been among those reported worst hit by the disaster – and the rehabilitation of its facilities would be direly needed so it can bounce back in servicing its customers efficiently.

According to NEA, the total cost of damage to MARELCO’s facilities would sum up to P26.669 million; hence, the calamity loan will just be part of the aggregate amount that will tie it over to operational recovery.

Aside from Marinduque, its neighboring province of Oriental Mindoro was also barreled to extreme proportion by the typhoons that visited the country latter part of last year.

In terms of scale though, it was noted that the electric cooperatives in the Bicol region – primarily Catanduanes, had been the one that was severely pummeled.

NEA noted that in December, it also released P25 million in calamity loan to First Catanduanes Electric Cooperative (FICELCO) for the repair and rehabilitation of its power infrastructure destroyed by typhoons Quinta and Rolly.

The government-run electrification agency stated that its loan program to ECs has a 10-year repayment term and one-year grace period; and it carries an interest rate of 3.25-percent yearly.

Access to funds in times of disasters is among the measures being reinforced in the restructured electricity sector – especially for the ECs that have comparatively less financial muscle compared to their privately owned counterpart distribution utilities.

Despite that, the role of the ECs is paramount because they serve the electricity needs of more than 13 million customers nationwide – including Filipinos that are in far-flung areas.