Â Finally, Bohol is already covered 100 percent in the sitio electrification program of the Department of Energy.
DOE Sec. Zenaida Monsada brought the good news during the switch-on ceremony for the Sitio Electrification Program (SEP) of 2,684 sitios in the Central Visayas region on Wednesday at the premises of the Project Monitoring Office the New Bohol Airport site.
Monsada, Gov. Edgar Chatto and First District Rep. Rene Relampagos joined President Benigno Simeon Aquino III in the ceremony.
In partnership with the Bohol Electric Cooperative II (BOHECO II), the SEP covered 469 sitios with a budget of P214.23 million.
Initially, 4,030 households in Bohol have already connected to the sitio electrification base.
Aside from Bohol, Siquijor is also 100 percent energized now in partnership with Province of Siquijor Electric Cooperative (PROSIELCO) covering 118 sitios where 1,082 households have connected and with the budget of P51.61 million.
Cebu, which is bigger, is 97 percent energized now with only 73 areas left for completion, getting an allocation of P860.99 million.
The DOE partnered with five electric cooperatives in Cebu—Cebu I Electric Cooperative (CEBECO I), CEBECO II, CEBECO II, Camotes Electric Cooperative (CELCO), and Bantayan Electric Cooperative (BANELCO) initially providing electricity to 26,141 households.
The DOE still has to complete 53 projects with CEBECO I and 20 projects with CEBECO III.
DOE, through the National Electrification Administration (NEA), targets to cover 2,757 sitios in the SEP with a total project cost of P1.13 Billion that initially provided 31,253 households.
The Aquino administration accomplished this from October 2011 to February 26 this year.
Nationwide, the SEP that covers 32,441 sitios, is already 99 percent complete where only 450 sitios left to be energized.
Monsada said the SEP will be completed by next week.
The DOE secretary also attributed the accomplishment to her predecessors appointed by Aquino—Jose Rene Almendras and Jerico Petilla.
For the sustainability of the program, Monsada said the interconnection of Bohol to Cebu and Cebu to Luzon are significant as it ensures ready supply of power when one grid bogs down.
Monsada also said the DOE embarks on developing renewable energy where Bohol is one of the areas being considered.
She also appeals for more projects that would tap renewable energy and the New Bohol Airport in Panglao is one of them.
In rural areas that are farther from the grid, solar power is also one of our major projects.
For President Aquino, it had never been easy sourcing out funds for the SEP that was initially pegged to cost P32.4 Billion at P1 million for each of the 32,441 sitios.
Actually, he said he was made to believe that the electrification program had already covered 100 percent, all the barangays nationwide.
â€œBago tayo maupo sa puwesto, sabi ng atin pong sinundan, lahat daw ng barangay sa buong bansa, may kuryente na. Pag-upo ko po, naipaliwanag sa akin na pag napailawan na ang isang barangay hall, sinasabing ang buong barangay ay napailawan na. Paano naman po ang ibang mga sitio na nalulugmok sa kadiliman? At ilan kayang barangay captain ang papayag na, â€™Sige, ikabit niyo lahat ng bahay dito sa barangay hall. Sagot ko na ang kuryente niyo?â€™â€, according to Aquino.
The President said his administration made an inventory in 2011 on all the sitios that still need electrification and the number reached 32,441 and it was first estimated to cost P1 million per sitio to be able to connect to the grid.
â€œI-multiply po natin: 32,441 times P1 million each, aabot po ng P32.4 bilyon ang kakailanganin para mapailawan ang mga sitiong natukoy. Tanong ko sa inyo, kung kayo nasa lugar ko noong 2011, siyempre ang unang pumasok sa akin, Saan naman tayo kukuha ng ganyan kalaking halaga?â€ he added.
However, the re-estimation by the DOE, NEA and the electric cooperatives found that it could be done at P600,000 per sitio.
â€œSamakatwid, nasa P400,000 ang natipid ng gobyerno kada sitio. Malinaw po: Sa Daang Matuwid, hindi ibinubulsa ang pondo; anumang matipid natin ay diretso sa iba pang programang magbibigay ng agarang benepisyo sa ating mga Boss,â€ according to Aquino.
He said it was never easy, but his Daang Matuwid-inspired administration managed to cut cost and will be completing the Sitio Electrification Program this month at a lower cost.