Government aims to bring light to 4,000 sitios this year

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012


THE government is targeting to bring power to 4,487 sitios before the year ends, President Benigno Aquino III said Wednesday.

In his speech during the ceremonial switch-on of the Sitio Electrification Program in Eastern Visayas, he highlighted the importance of energizing the remote areas in the country to spur development.

Under the program, the government started energizing 2,395 sitios since October 2011 until July 2012, the President said.

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In Eastern Visayas region, he said his administration was able to energize 192 sitios, adding that another 184 sitios will also be connected to the grid by October.

The Chief Executive expressed his gratitude to the local leaders of Leyte, the Leyte Electric Cooperative, including the local communities for the success of the program.

The Department of Energy and the National Electrification Administration worked together in carrying out the electrification project in the country.

The President admitted that some sitios cannot be energized in an instant, particularly those that are too far or too small to be connected to the main grid.

But he said the government will do its best to address this problem.

With more and more communities having electricity, industries such as coconut water production could further develop, the President said.

He pointed out that tourism could also be promoted with more barangays being connected to the main power lines.

Among those present during the ceremonial switch-on were Energy Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo, Senator Teofisto "TG" Guingona, Representative Lucy Torres-Gomez, Governor Jericho Petilla and presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda.

Smelting facility and coal power plant

Also in Leyte, the President inaugurated a $600 million-rehabilitated smelting facility and a 200-megawatt coal power plant of the Philippine Associated Smelting and Refining Corp. (Pasar).

Aquino said he expects the expanded smelting facility in Isabel, Leyte to generate about 3,000 jobs.

He also reported that the $300-million coal plant will be operation by 2016.

He added that the development of infrastructures in the province would boost tourism and agriculture.

To ensure the influx of more tourists in the province, the government allotted P2.6 billion starting 2011 to 2012 to develop the major infrastructures in the province, such as roads, bridges and airport, the President said.

The President said that among the projects in the pipe line include the Albuera-Burauen road project, the construction of the Balagnon bridge, the rehabilitation of Tacloban and Maasin airport, the Chief Executive reported, adding that the airport project could start this December.

He noted that his administration is confident in releasing more allocation to Leyte, knowing that its local leaders will spend their budget more prudently for projects needed by the province.

He added that building more infrastructures in the province will also help Leyte develop its coconut water production.

Leyte posted 365,000 arrivals last year, with the bulk of visitors going to Eastern Visayas.

The President attributed Leyte's tourism figures to good food, improved peace and order situation, and beautiful sceneries. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)

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