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PIA Press Release

BOHECO eyes full sitio energization for Bohol

by Rey Anthony Chiu

Tagbilaran City (9 February) -- BECAUSE light should have saturated every dark corner of the country by now, the high 97% accomplishment posted by the National Electrification Administration in just not quite enough for Bohol Electric Cooperative (BOHECO).

Carving a name for itself already in its mandate to serve Bohol consumers, BOHECO said it is now making the province's sitios as the target for full energization in 2008.

Now enjoying full barangay energization program since 1999, the local power cooperative is looking into serving the remaining sitios to erase all darkness in Bohol even before the country could beat its 2010 deadline, manager Carlos Itable said in an interview Thursday.

The ambitious plan however still entails money for the local power cooperative because it entails serving outlaying barangays and islands which make the prospect of financing their electrical connection not as viable, Itable shared.

According to him, as long as the national government partners with them in subsidizing the power generation in the said sites, they it may work out well for Bohol.

Now turning over the mission in the islands to the government under its various programs, the Boheco manager said they may just be able to beat the plan.

"Operating diesel generators in the islands sometimes prove to be not just inconvenient but costly as well, he said, so any help that comes along is welcome."

Itable shared this arguing that putting up overhead transmission lines or submarine cables is just not viable for the far flung islands.

Manager Itable's statement came just as President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (PGMA) pushed switches again while instructing the Department of Energy (DOE) to fully complete the government's Expanded Rural Electrification Program before 2010.

The president believes that focusing on infrastructure spending for the country will help catapult it to new tiers of economic growth, while the prospect of a US economic slowdown looms, Secretary Ignacio Bunye was quoted as saying.

By so doing, the president hopes to cement a firewall to shield the country from possible US economic slowdown.

To this, as of last month, there are now lights in all but three percent of the country's 42,000 barangays. We will wire up the remaining 1,400 villages before 2010," the President said.

By spending in the rural electrification projects, remote barangays earn a better position to be economically productive.

The President, determined to uplift the lives of the poor, is aware that the lack of access to electricity in the country's poorest rural communities leads to limited job opportunities and low productivity among residents, which in turn serve to perpetuate poverty.

In Bohol, with energizing the sitios as the target, the cooperative may again vie for another record, sources said.

The Bohol cooperative dilemma is also similar to the NEA problem with the remaining 1,400 barangays located either on top of boondocks, or are islands difficult to reach or areas with security problems. (PIA) [top]

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