More than 17,000 sitios still have no access to electricity, says lawmaker

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 2) — A lawmaker is pushing to increase the National Electrification Administration’s budget to be able to provide access to electricity for more than 17,000 sitios across the country.

During the plenary deliberation on the proposed 2021 budget of the Department of Energy on Friday, APEC Party-list Rep. Sergio Dagooc said there are 17,379 un-energized sitios across the country, 6,637 of which are in Mindanao.

Dagooc said that for 2021, budget allocated for sitio electrification program of the NEA is at ₱1.8 billion, which can only provide access to power to 1,085 sitios. This is from an original proposal of ₱7.5 billion for next year, he said.

The lawmaker also noted that total electrification is not just about lighting homes, but also about sustainable rural development.

“If we are not going to do anything about this, would you agree that the budget of ₱1.8 billion…There is a danger that the remaining sitios will not be energized?,” Dagooc asked.

Zamboanga Rep. Manuel Dalipe, the sponsor of DOE’s budget, agreed and said they are open for any proposal pushing to increase budget for the program.

The government targets to achieve total electrification before the term of President Rodrigo Duterte ends in 2022. In a budget briefing last month, NEA said they need ₱15 billion to achieve the target of the program.