Solons: Improve ‘very small budget’ for 2020 rural electrification program
MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers have questioned the “very small budget” earmarked for the National Electrification Administration (NEA), which oversees the implementation of the government’s total nationwide electrification program, for 2020.
During a hearing of the Department of Energy’s budget for next year at the House of Representatives, NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong said that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) allocated a total of P1.162 billion for the 2020 spending plan of the agency.
But Association of Philippine Electric Cooperatives (APEC) Party-list Rep. Sergio Dagooc pointed out that such amount is “very small budget” for the government’s electrification program.
He urged the Office of the President and DBM to “strongly consider” giving more subsidy to NEA to “realize the total electrification” of rural areas nationwide.
“I believe that is a very small amount, very small budget for the electrification program,” Dagooc said. “Maybe the Office of the President and the DBM should strongly consider giving more budget or subsidy to aggressively realize the total electrification.”
“We cannot simply rely on the private investors to fund the government’s electrification program especially now that we are at the last mile,” he added.
He also urged the House committee on appropriations, which tackles the proposed 2020 national budget, to “seriously consider” the original P6.1-billion budget proposal of NEA for next year.
“Before we dispense with the budget related to the total electrification, this committee should seriously consider the original proposal of the NEA,” Dagooc noted.
“If not consider, we possibly defer the budget because we wanted really to ensure that the concern of all the representatives in the different districts covering the electric cooperatives about rural electrification can be addressed,” he added.
Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association (PHILRECA) Party-list Rep. Presley de Jesus agreed with Dagooc. He pointed out that the government should be at the forefront of efforts to bring electricity to rural areas and not electric cooperatives. /kga
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