MANILA, Philippines — More than two million families consisting of 13 million Filipinos remain literally in the dark as they are still without electricity, the head of the Party-list Coalition in the House of Representatives said yesterday.
Despite efforts by rural electric cooperatives and the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to bring power to remote areas, Rep. Mikee Romero of 1-Pacman said the government’s rural electrification program has not reached 19,000 barangays nationwide.
He said the P5 billion allocated for the program in the last three years had not been enough to electrify the remaining unserved communities, forcing Filipinos in the countryside to make do without electricity. These families continue to use kerosene, paper or wood for their lighting needs, he said.
Romero proposed the allocation of at least P25 billion for the program to serve the 19,000 communities still without power. “On average, each community will need P1.3 million to P1.5 million,” he said.
He also proposed that the NEA be given more autonomy “to do its job, issue and enforce rules, supervise and punish inefficient cooperatives, revoke franchises, generate its own funds, among other powers.”
He said he is confident that given enough budget and authority, the NEA and electric cooperatives would be able to “accomplish their mission of electrifying all communities, including the remotest barangays.”