Solon assures budget for electric coops emergency fund law

MANILA The chairman of the House committee on appropriations on Friday assured ample funding for the implementation of the newly-signed Electric Cooperatives (ECs) Emergency and Resiliency Fund Act under the 2019 national budget.

"I will see to it that the eventual General Appropriations Act (GAA) of 2019 will provide ample funding for this law, which is an important safety net for the 122 ECs scattered all over the country," Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles said in a statement.

Nograles said an initial amount of PHP750 million, which will be sourced from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (NDRRMF), would be allocated for the implementation of the new law.

The emergency fund shall be managed and administered by the National Electrification Administration (NEA).

Nograles, who is among the principal authors of the law, said the main objective of Republic Act No. 11039 is to support and assist electric cooperatives that have been adversely affected by calamities so they may be able to immediately restore electric service to the people.

"These ECs are heavily relied upon in the provinces for their electric service. If their operations get crippled, so too will the lives of local residents whose world will be plunged in darkness on top of the disaster that caused the outage in the first place. Unfortunately, we are a magnet for natural disasters," he said.

"This allows the electric coops to protect and strengthen their own critical infrastructure assets in order to mitigate the adverse effects of the disaster. It will provide them with breathing space to help them get back on their feet," he added.

House committee on energy chairman Lord Allan Velasco said with the law's passage, the electric cooperatives would be better served in the future to address the adverse effects of calamities and disasters.

Velasco expressed hope that the law's enactment will mitigate the problems of electric cooperatives especially during natural disasters.

These are the meaningful changes that I envision as Chairperson of the House committee of energy. Hopefully, with the support of the Duterte administration, more laws that will have beneficial impact on our country such as RA 11039 will be passed in the future, Velasco said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency