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Funding setback hits rural electrification

Bringing electricity for the first time to households in remote areas may not proceed as fast as is desirable with the National Electrification Administration (NEA) getting only a fourth of the funding it needs to finish the job.

Even then, NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong said in a statement the agency would strive to meet its target of total electrification by 2022.

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Of the 14,876 sitios, or hamlets, that have never gotten a taste of electricity services, the NEA can energize 775 with the allocation indicated in the 2020 National Expenditure Program (NEP) that Malacañang submitted to the House of Representatives committee on appropriations on Tuesday.

Data from the NEA showed that bringing electricity to these sitios requires P22 billion in funding.

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The NEA submitted to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) a funding proposal of at least P6.146 billion for next year to bankroll the government’s various electrification projects, including the Sitio Electrification Program (SEP) and Barangay Line Enhancement Program. However, the agency said, the DBM recommended only P1.53 billion.

“The NEA and [electric cooperatives] will remain steadfast in their commitment, despite all odds, to make possible the total electrification target, providing in effect a platform for the government to draw rural people into the economic and social mainstream and vigorously pursue its goal of inclusive growth,” Masongsong said.

Based on the NEP pending in Congress, electrification projects are allocated P1.53 billion.

Masongsong said a big portion of this amount was dedicated to the continued implementation of the SEP Phase 2 at P1.16 billion.

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TAGS: electricity, National Electrification Administration (NEA), NEA administrator Edgardo Masongsong, rural electrification
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