BAGUIO CITY — The Benguet Electric Cooperative (Beneco) said on Thursday that there are still 642 sitios (sub-village) in Benguet province left to be energized.
Engr. Ramel Rifani, Network Service Department (NSD) manager of Beneco, in a press conference, said there are 3,158 sitios in its franchise area in Baguio and Benguet and 2,516 have been provided electricity under the sitio energization program (SEP) of the government.
The sitio energization is a program of the national government through the National Electrification Administration (NEA) which is being implemented by the rural electric distribution utilities, like Beneco.
The remaining sitios for energization are located in the towns of Atok, Bakun, Bokod, Buguias, Itogon, Kabayan, Kapangan, Kibungan, Mankayan, Sablan, Tuba, and Tublay.
Rifani said all sitos in this city (744), including Benguet’s capital town La Trinidad (124) have been provided with electricity.
Based on the report provided, the government has spent PHP233 million in the implementation of the sitio energization program (SEP) in Baguio and Benguet.
Rifani also said there are 310 sitios due for funding under the SEP with an estimated cost of PHP168.6 million.
Engr. Melchor Licoben, officer-in-charge of Beneco, said that for this year, the NEA has allotted PHP80 million for Beneco’s sitio energization.
However, with the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, the fund was reverted back to the agency’s general fund for Covid response, before the fund was even downloaded to Beneco.
Licoben said the sitio energization program is a missionary activity of the distribution utilities which aims to bring electricity to the most depressed and far-flung areas, despite the little or no chance of a return on investment. Liza Agoo /PNA – northboundasia.com