JICA, NEDA, DOE team up to boost energy supply in Mindanao’s conflict areas

MANILA, March 30 (PNA) -- The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) signed this week a 771 million yen (about PHP340 million) grant aid project to support the energy sector in Mindanao's conflict-affected areas.

According to a news release issued Thursday, the project will be implemented by the National Electrification Administration (NEA) of the Department of Energy (DOE) and is part of JICA's continuing support for peace and development in Mindanao.

The project will upgrade the power distribution equipment of the six electric cooperatives (ECs) operating in the area. Data from the ECs show an average of 26 percent in energy losses due to the aging equipment used for energy transmission that have been built in the '70s.

Meanwhile, according to government data, the 36 percent electrification rate in the area is also lower than the average rate of 74 percent in Mindanao.

This project is part of our continuing commitment to support peace and development in Mindanao, said JICA Chief Representative Susumu Ito. By helping resolve the power supply issues in conflict-affected areas, we aim to help the Philippines create more economic activities in the region.

Government poverty statistics data in 2015 showed that the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao remains mired in poverty with a 53.4 percent poverty rate, higher than the national average of 21.1 percent. Forty years of conflict have deprived this region of opportunities to access social services and quality investments and jobs.

The JICA grant aid will help reduce energy distribution losses to about 7 percent and assure reliable, resilient energy supply to nearly 44,000 households in the area.

We will do what we can to support the people in Mindanao's conflict-affected areas realize the dividends of peace in their lives and ensure a better future for the next generation, added Ito.

JICA's support for the energy infrastructure in Bangsamoro is also part of the agency's development cooperation with the Philippines. The project was identified under the JICA-assisted Bangsamoro Development Plan 2 meant to jump-start economic activities in Mindanao's conflict areas and draw up a medium- to long-term development plan (2016-2022) for the region's inclusive and sustainable development. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency