KIDAPAWAN CITY -- Some P33.4 million from the royalty tax levied on the geothermal power generated by the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) from Mount Apo is still available for use by the Provincial Government of North Cotabato, according to the Provincial Board.

The money, according to Board members Jose Tejada and Noel Baynosa, chair and co-chair of the committee on infrastructure and energy, respectively, is still intact at the Department of Energy (DOE) since last year.

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They said they verified such information with the DOE.

Tejada said North Cotabato, host province of the Mount Apo geothermal power plants, is entitled to a one-peso per kilowatt hour subsidy, along with the city and the barangay where the power facilities are located.

Twenty-five percent of the one-peso allocation goes to the development and livelihood fund; another 25 percent is allotted for the reforestation, watershed management, and health and environment enhancement fund; and the other half goes to the electrification fund.

To sum it up, the Provincial Government has yet to collect from the DOE some P33.4 million from the one-peso allocation or power subsidy: P5.84 million from the Development and Livelihood Fund; P6.61 million from the Reforestation, Watershed Management, Health and Environment Enhancement Fund; and P21 million from the Electrification Fund.

The money, which is still available at the DOE, can be utilized anytime by the Cotabato Provincial Government through the implementation of different projects, said Baynosa adding, “The funds might get double in 2010 since the allotment for this year has not yet been released.”

Cotabato Governor Lala Talinio-Mendoza has already instructed the Provincial Board committees on infrastructure and energy and health and sanitation to prepare project proposals and submit them to the DOE for budget appropriations.

"Sayang din naman kung 'di magagamit. Andyan na ang pera," the governor said.