EU’s Smile initiative launched
The European Union, in cooperation with the Department of Energy, has launched a 3.9-million euro (about P234 million) project that integrates tourism with electrification efforts, specifically with travel accommodations.
Supported through EU’s Access to Sustainable Energy Program (Asep), the initiative dubbed SolarBNB Microhotel & Island Livelihood Energizer or Smile will be carried out by the World Widlife Fund.
According to the EU, Smile brings 24-hour energy access to poor, remote island communities on Siargao Island and the nearby Dinagat Island, both tourist magnets in the northernmost part of Mindanao.
The Smile project integrates “proven components of successful electrification and livelihood projects into a comprehensive small island electrification model while serving growing demand for eco-tourism and adventure travel.”
Participating in the projects are the Siargao Electric Cooperative, Dinagat Electric Cooperative, the Dinagat and Siargao Tourism Councils, and Del Carmen municipal government in Siargao.
Along with Smile, six other projects supported through Asep were launched last week—all together expected to provide electricity to about 40,000 households in remote areas in the Philippines. —RONNEL W. DOMINGO
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