Far-flung sitio residents to receive solar panel kits

Far-flung sitio residents to receive solar panel kits
Allyssa Kaye Casas, AdDU Intern

REPRESENTATIVES of Davao Light and Power Co., (Davao Light), the Aboitiz Foundation, and several government agencies in the Davao Region signed a Memorandum of Agreement providing a solar home system project for select Indigenous People (IP) residents at Sitio Pegalongan, Malamba in Marilog, District Davao City.

The brief signing ceremony at the Davao Light Admin Office in C. Bangoy Street, formerly Ponciano Street, on July 9, 2024, was attended by key personalities from the regional offices of Davao Light, Aboitiz Foundation, Department of Education (DepEd)-Davao, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) - Field Office-Davao, and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).

Rodger S. Velasco, president and COO of Davao Light, said that this upcoming project serves as a temporary solution, inviting the cooperation of the local government unit to solve the problem of accessibility.

“We cannot work independently. We have to work with the government because, again, one challenge we are faced with in electrifying all the sitios in our franchising areas is road access. The stop-gap solution is solar panel,” Velasco said.

He also said that they will be researching for more optimal and cost-efficient ways of providing electricity to off-grid areas, aiming for 100% electrification of sitios.

Meanwhile, Rojay Pendio, Principal of Pegalongan Elementary School, expressed his appreciation for the project initiation, emphasizing the students’ educational struggles in a non-electrified community and heavily relying on kerosene lamps at night.

“Ang mga bata, naa’y rason na muingon nga ‘dili mi maka-study sa balay kay wala’y suga.’ Karon nga mahatagan kita, makatabang sad ni sa mga learners para maka-focus sila sa ilahang pagtuon,” Pendio said.

(The kids sometimes reason out that they cannot study in their house because they have no lights. Now that we are given [this project], this can help the learners to focus on their education).

The project will be prioritizing families who are under the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and have children who are currently enrolled in Pegalongan Elementary School. 

The departments have identified 30 families to be given panel kits, but promised to broaden the project should they have the resources.

However, as of the moment, there is no official project timeline given.

Sitio Pegalongan is an off-grid community in Marilog District, requiring an almost two-hour walk from Sitio Patag, the closest community found on Google Maps. Residents also need to cross the Davao River three times before arriving. Allyssa Kaye Casas, AdDU Intern

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