BAGUIO CITY – The National Electrification Administration (NEA) approved the release of some P30 million from the agency’s budget this year for the implementation of the government’s sitio electrification program in still un-energized non-viable areas within the franchise area of the Benguet electric Cooperative (BENECO), one of the top performing rural electric cooperatives in the country.
NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong said part of the agency’s mandate is to provide quality and reliable power in the different parts of the country to ensure economic growth in the countryside and spur the country’s economic growth.
He said the fund was granted to BENECO in recognition of the electric cooperative’s aggressiveness in pursuing reforms in power distribution to the extent of even venturing in power generation that will maximize the potentials of renewable energy within its franchise area.
“We are hopeful the government will achieve the energization of the remaining sitios in the non-viable areas in the country to improve economic activities that will contribute to the improvement of the lives of people in rural areas,” Administrator Masongsong stressed.
The BENECO general manager Gerardo Verzosa disclosed the electric cooperative was only able to energize some 80 percent of the inventoried sitios in the different parts of Benguet although it was able to fully energize the 128 barangays of Baguio city and the 14 barangays of Benguet.
He pointed out the difficulty in fully energizing the inventoried sitios within BENECO’s franchise area because of the increasing population who settle in the different areas that eventually lead to the creation of villages in the different parts of Benguet.
BENECO is one of the few rural electric cooperatives that cater to the energization of non-viable areas within its franchise area as part of its compliance to the mandate of rural electric cooperatives to bring quality power to the countryside.
NEA was created by virtue of Presidential Decree (PD) 269 primarily to implement the government’s rural electrification program in partnership with the established rural electric cooperatives as electricity is one of the important factors in triggering economic growth in the countryside.
At present, NEA energized some 13 million households in the different parts of the country over the past five decades that the agency has existed and that it still needs to provide quality and cheap power to more than 2.1 million households within the remaining three years of the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.
Masongsong disclosed the agency will remain aggressive in pursuing its mandate to bring power to the remotest areas in the country despite the meagre budget being provided by the government for the completion of the government’s noble rural electrification program geared towards enhancing economic growth that will eventually translate to better lives for the people.