Legarda Wants Full Electrification of all Households, Sitios

October 9, 2016

Senator Loren Legarda said she will push for full electrification of all barangays, sitios and households in the country through appropriate funding in the national budget as she welcomed the European Union’s (EU) support for the Philippines’ rural electrification targets.


Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, made the statement during the launching of the Access to Sustainable Energy Programme (ASEP) at the 4thEU-Philippine Meeting on Energy last October 7 at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel.


In her keynote speech, Legarda said, “The country’s electrification profile shows that 89% of households in Luzon have power, 79% in the Visayas, and a very low 56% in Mindanao. Urban electrification stood at 94%, while rural electrification in the country stood at a low of 73%.”


She noted that most of those who have no access to electricity primarily live in the rural areas, which account for 4.4 million households living in remote areas as well as in the outskirts of Metro Manila and Davao.


“We want these statistics to reach 100% by 2017 or in the next two years, definitely before the 2020 original target. But we do not want just statistics, we must ensure that indeed all barangays, sitios and households in the country are electrified,” she stressed.


Legarda said she will look into how much funding assistance is available from foreign sources and how much the government can provide as counterpart under the General Appropriations Act (GAA) so that the country will not need to wait until 2020 to achieve full electrification.


The Senator, however, stressed that electrification goals would need to be aligned with a low-carbon objective in the energy sector.


“The sustainable development-energy nexus requires an urgent examination of how the country can tap cleaner forms of energy to provide for the region’s requirements. I welcome the ASEP for it offers a definitive pathway to universal access to electricity under a sustainable framework,” said Legarda.


Through ASEP, the EU has allocated a grant of over Three Billion Pesos to assist the Philippines to meet its rural electrification targets by means of renewable energy and to promote energy efficiency.


“Lack of access to electricity is a fundamental issue that keeps our poor in the bondage of poverty. Education needs electricity. Functioning health clinics and pumps for water and sanitation require electricity. Unless universal access to electricity is achieved, the prosperity that economic growth aims to deliver will amount to nothing but an empty promise,” Legarda concluded.