The National Electrification Administration (NEA) said lack of funding is hindering the full implementation of Republic Act No. 11039, also known as Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Fund (ECERF) Act aimed to assist the electric cooperatives (ECs) that have incurred damages from calamities, such as Typhoon Tisoy.
NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong explained that the initial amount of P750-million that the ECERF Law promised to rehabilitate the facilities of disaster-stricken ECs is yet to be provided under the 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA).
“Power line reconstruction to electricity restoration has been done by the NEA.”
“As much as we want to implement the ECERF Law, funds are still not available at the moment,” Masongsong said.
Enacted into law in June last year, RA 11039 seeks an orderly and continuing means of financial assistance to ECs in the form of grants for the immediate restoration or rehabilitation of damaged infrastructure after a fortuitous event or force majeure.
Under the ECERF law, the NEA is tasked to manage and administer the P750-million allocation to be taken from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (NDRRM) Fund, and will be disbursed to the qualified ECs.
Meanwhile, efforts to speed up the restoration of power in provinces that are still without electricity in the aftermath of Typhoon Tisoy (international name Kammuri) continue Masongsong said.
“Power line reconstruction to electricity restoration has been done by the NEA in coordination with the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association, Inc. (PHILRECA) and its regional associations in the deployment of line workers,” the NEA chief said.
Power was already fully restored to 103 typhoon-hit cities and municipalities.
The power cooperatives from Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon and the Cordillera Administrative Region have sent 162 line workers with boom trucks and equipment to assist their fellow power distribution utilities in the typhoon-hit provinces.
Eastern Visayas ECs also sent around 100 line workers, trucks and equipment to Northern Samar. The ECs from Western Visayas, on the other hand, deployed 51 line workers, trucks and equipment to Oriental Mindoro and Occidental Mindoro, while CALABARZON power coops sent 26 workers with boom trucks and equipment to Oriental Mindoro.
They are all part of the Task Force Kapatid Tisoy a special unit of line workersstrategically organized to quicken the pace of power restoration activities in the aftermath of disasters.
Based on its power monitoring report as of Tuesday (December 10), the NEA Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Department (DRRMD), reported an estimated 1,083,523 households in 17 provinces in Luzon and the Visayas covered by 27 ECs are still waiting to have power distribution service restored.
Power was already fully restored to 103 typhoon-hit cities and municipalities. Electricity service is partially restored to 133 cities and municipalities, while restoration is still ongoing for the remaining 76 cities and towns.
Initial cost of damage to EC facilities has already reached P896.421 million as of Tuesday, Dec. 10.