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NEA marks new milestone in rural electrification drive

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TAGUM CITY -- State-run National Electrification Administration (NEA) has yet again demonstrated its commitment to fulfilling its mandate to bring electricity to every Filipino household in the remote and rural areas of the country.
On Friday, August 25, a simple ceremonial switch-on of the 12 millionth consumer connection under the government's rural electrification drive was conducted, marking a significant milestone for NEA.
"This symbolic lighting of the 12 millionth consumer connection is another milestone in our rural electrification program," NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong said in his message during the ceremony.
Masongsong said the state agency, since its inception in 1969, has constantly sought ways to ensure that all houses and sitios, however remote they may be, will have power connection.
While NEA has already come a long way in bringing the nation's rural and remote areas out of darkness, the administrator said 23,464 sitios and over two million households are still without any access to electricity.
"So it is still a big challenge for the government," Masongsong said, adding that NEA needs approximately P25 billion for the implementation of these electrification projects until 2022.
He assured, however, that the agency, in partnership with 121 electric cooperatives (ECs) nationwide, is working towards the realization of the Duterte administration's dream: to provide "access to electricity for all."
The government has set the target of 100 percent electrification of households by the end of President Rodrigo Duterte's term in 2022.
Meanwhile, Rocie Donggon, the beneficiary of the 12 millionth connection, expressed her gratitude to the government, particularly the project implementers, saying her family can now enjoy the benefits of having electricity.
The 51-year-old mother of eight said her children will no longer have to depend on kerosene lamps or candles to study or do their homework after sunset.
Donggon, a member of the Mandaya tribe, admitted that she never had enjoyed the convenience of electricity for 51 years until today.
The 12 millionth consumer connection recipient is a resident of Barangay Apokon, Tagum City under the coverage area of the Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Daneco), which will soon be renamed into "Northern Davao Power and Light Cooperative" to rationalize the area of service coverage.
Gracing the ceremony as guest of honor was House Speaker and Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez. Also present to witness the event were some Daneco officials and employees, as well as local government officials.
Daneco distributes electricity to two cities--Tagum City and Island Garden City of Samal (Igacos)--and 16 municipalities in the provinces of Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley.
From 2011 to 2016, Daneco completed the energization of 339 sitios--91 in Davao del Norte and 248 in Compostela Valley--under the Sitio Electrification Program (SEP), the NEA data showed.
The ceremonial lighting activity was part of the month-long observance of the 8th National Electrification Awareness Month (NEAM) and celebration of the 48th Founding Anniversary of NEA.
NEA is a government-owned and -controlled corporation with a mandate to carry out the total electrification of the country on an area coverage basis.
Since 1969, the NEA and its partner-ECs across the country have energized 78 provinces, 90 cities, 1,385 municipalities, 36,051 barangays and 118,632 sitios as of May 31, 2017.
The Rural Electrification Program is part of the government's efforts to reach out to the people, especially the poorest of the poor living in the far-flung areas all over the country. ###