Lacson Seeks Closer Look at Rural Electrification Picture

While the Department of Energy claims 100 percent of the country’s barangays now have electricity, it does not automatically mean the agency’s electrification efforts have been completed.

On this note, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson sought a closer look into the government’s rural electrification program, after learning that many sitios – enclaves far from the barangay centers – still do not have power.

“Sitios are a part of barangays. We cannot say barangays are 100 percent powered if a few sitios in those barangays still have no power,” Lacson said at a Commission on Appointments hearing for Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi.

Related: Ping: Hindi porke’t 100 percent ‘electrified’ ay ayos na

He also warned that if the DOE maintains 100 percent of the country’s 42,036 barangays are already powered, it may no longer see the need to bring electrification to the sitios still without electricity.

During the CA hearing, Cusi initially claimed 100 percent of barangays nationwide had been electrified as of 2008, but sitios in many of the barangays may still be without power.

Lacson said his concern is that barangays without power may not be able to absorb resources downloaded from the national government.

Earlier, Lacson filed Senate Bill 40, the Budget Reform for Village Empowerment Act of 2016, to give local government units an active role in nation building by providing them with funding for their development projects.

The bill provides for a Local Development Fund giving P500 million to P1 billion for each province; P100 to P200 million for each city; P50 to P100 million for each town; and P3 to P5 million for each barangay.