Editorial | Rural electrification remains a challenge

THE national government has been facing a huge challenge of delivering a basic service to most remote areas: providing electricity to remotest areas of the country.

Based on the revelation of Edgardo B. Masongsong, head of the National Electrification Administration, of the 2.8 million households that have yet to be provided with electricity, about a million of them are in the three regions in Mindanao, including the Davao Region although most of them are in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, particularly the so-called off-grid areas hard-to-reach areas.
To provide these communities with basic electricity, the government would need about P25 billion and that Masongsong said the marching order of President Rodrigo R. Duterte is to complete the electrification program before he steps down from office.
Next week, the President will again report to the people the achievements of his administration, but the report card will definitely not include what has been achieved in this field.
One must remember that rural electrification is primarily the reason the electric cooperatives were established as they were supposed to serve as the conduits of the NEA in expanding their coverage to include not just the urban centers, but most importantly the rural villages. Have they done their roles particularly in providing basic electricity to those that need it the most?
Judging by the data that the NEA has put out – and the reality on the ground – it seems that electric cooperatives have not been able to maximize what they can do. This is because they were created as just cooperatives in names as they are non-stock non-profit organizations who, most often than, are exploited by politicians.
Taking this situation into account, the government should revisit the policies surrounding the establishment of electric cooperatives to evaluate whether they have fulfilled their responsibilities.
Otherwise, it would be better if reforms are instituted for them to be able assist government in providing this basic need of the people.

Posted in Opinion