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Feature: Brgy Malamba electrification brings urban amenities in the upland

Davao City (20 November) -- Barangay Malamba, about 47 kilometers away from the heart of the city, was once a sleepy area where human activity was limited to daylight hours.

Visiting the area would require you to travel by foot or ride on a habal-habal (single) motorcycle. If you're lucky enough to get a four-by-four wheel drive vehicle, you may also reach the barangay from the national highway to Bukidnon through a bumpy up and down road trip during dry season or a slippery and muddy stretch on rainy days.

Donnabelle, a shy Grade 5 pupil of G. Astilla Senior Central Malamba High School (CMHS) recalled, "I used to study with the aid of lampara or gas lamp. The lampara's black smoke sometimes got into my nostrils. Every time I visited my relatives in the downtown area, I was green with envy seeing my cousins watch their favorite soap opera episodes."

This was the normal activity in the remote community until three years ago when the barangay was energized through Davao Light and Power Company's social electrification program.

In 2007, the first electric distribution line reached this far-flung community composed of almost 6,000 residents belonging to various ethnic tribes. After three years, electricity has changed significantly the lifestyle of the upland dwellers.

Vanessa Amor Alejandrino, a teacher of the only secondary school in the community, is happy with how her students are enthusiastically responding to their lessons at present. With evening lighting that lengthens a community's daylight hours, students can study better nowadays, Alejandrino says.

Students of G. Astilla Sr. Central Malamba High School are catching up on information technology as instructional videos are being used by the teachers for computer lessons. They have become not only internet savvy, which is helpful in doing their assignments, but they are also now connected globally on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Gone are the days when everyone is ready to go to sleep as dusk arrives. This time, it's a chance for them to meet at a nearby store to belt out their favorite song at the videoke machine.

They can now reduce the number of days going down to market as households have refrigerators to store food items. Thus, the residents can now save time and money from buying food.

And who would have thought that a telecom company would put up a cell site in the area? This has made the farmers' lives a lot easier as buyers of their produce can be reached through mobile phones. Even friends and relatives are now just a text away.

According to Romeo Inog, Malamba's barangay captain, the community also hopes to have a power-driven water system in a not-so-distant future.

Inog said, "I believe electricity provides considerable convenience as people won't have to carry water containers by hand. Reducing the contact between clean water and people's hands may also prevent many water-borne diseases."

He added "with the support of the Davao City local government and Davao Light, little by little we are now experiencing the comforts of electricity."

Pleased with the improvements he saw during his recent visit, Michael Angelo, the distribution engineer of the project, exudes a big sense of accomplishment. He realizes the collective efforts of the personnel who constructed the power lines and poles, including his, have clearly touched peoples' lives. (DLPC) [top]

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