National Electrification Administration (NEA) Edgardo Masongsong has expressed his desire to establish a “comprehensive” emergency fund for electric cooperatives and its member-consumers to assist them in their disaster relief, recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts.
Masongsong visited Iligan City, Lanao del Norte, to lead the turnover of relief goods and financial assistance to the employees of Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (LASURECO) affected by the continuing military operations against members of the Maute terror group in Marawi City.
In his message before the LASURECO employees, the NEA chief said that while he supports the bill that seeks to establish a P750 million fund to enhance the resiliency of the electric cooperatives, the proposed measure only covers the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the distribution lines damaged during disasters.
Masongsong was referring to Senate Bill No. 1461, also known as Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Fund Act of 2017.
The former party-list representative for electric cooperatives said his concept of a disaster fund is a comprehensive measure covering the four phases – recovery, relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction.
“When I was in Congress, I proposed a House Bill creating a disaster fund for electric consumers and electric cooperatives. Pero ‘yung konsepto ko ng disaster fund from recovery to relief to rehabilitation to reconstruction,” the NEA chief said.
“Ngayon, merong disaster fund na binubuo ang Kongreso pero para lang sa reconstruction ng mga linya ‘pag tinamaan ang isang electric cooperative. ‘Yung konsepto ko ng disaster fund buo, ‘yung comprehensive. Sana maituloy natin ‘yan sa isang another (bill),” he said.
“Sinuportahan ko ‘yung disaster fund for the reconstruction of the lines ng distribution system ng electric cooperatives pero baka pagdating ng araw pwede nating i-expand to include recovery, relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction,” Masongsong further said.
In the meantime, the NEA chief revealed the agency’s plan for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of damaged power lines in the conflict-torn Marawi City. “‘Yung nasirang linya sa buong Marawi i-re-reconstruct natin. ‘Yung mga linya surrounding Marawi sa ibang mga bayan, i-re-rehab natin,” he said.
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi earlier announced the creation of an inter-agency group to rehabilitate the energy facilities damaged by the ongoing hostilities in Marawi. Members of the group are the Department of Energy, National Power Corporation, Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation, NEA and Lasureco.