Press Release
March 27, 2007

Recto urges govt to meet 2008 deadline of 100% electrification
2,035 barangays without electricity

Government was told to make one last push for rural electrification by bringing electricity to the remaining 2,035 barangays without power in the country today.

Sen. Ralph Recto said the country should meet its self-imposed deadline of energizing all of the countrys 41,945 barangays by 2008.

Unmanned explorers have been sent to Mars and have orbited Jupiter but we here have yet to bring electricity to more than 2,000 barrios, Recto said.

Funding for rural electrification will have to be increased if government intends to achieve its target 19 months from now, he stressed.

Recto revealed that this years rural electrification budget of P780 million is enough to cover only 410 barangays, leaving 1,625 barangays without power at the start of 2008.

To achieve 100 percent electrification by 2008, then we may have to quadruple what we are spending now next year, he said.

That target is fundable, Recto explained, given National Power Corp.s revenue turnaround after decades of being in the red due to costly subsidies and system inefficiencies.

We can also tap our Malampaya royalties in bankrolling missionary electrification programs, he added, referring to the Shell-operated natural gas fields off the shores of Northern Palawan which yield billions of pesos in government income every year.

Citing Department of Energy data, Recto said 2006 ended with 1,089 Mindanao barangays still without electricity, 372 in the Visayas, and 574 in Luzon. Most of the barangays are in upland areas or in islands, the DoE report showed.

This years P1.126 trillion national budget, however, allocates P177.2 million to the DoE for two programs that would bring power to 110 barangays while P602.4 million has been set aside for the electrification of 300 barrios by the National Electrification Administration.

Recto said the electrification of in these areas are important given the link between improved literacy and the availability of power as children will be able to study longer at night.

It will be a pity if at this age some of our countrymen still literally live in darkness and have yet to enjoy the wonders of electricity, Recto said.

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