August 21, 2019
Zamboanga City, 14 August - The Government of Japan reaffirms its support to the ongoing peace building process in the Bangsamoro with the turnover of 16 boom trucks to the National Electrification Administration (NEA) as part of Japan's 771 million yen support to the energy sector in Mindanao's conflict-affected areas.
Japan's Minister for Economic Affairs Makoto Iyori and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Chief Representative Yoshio Wada led the turnover ceremony in Zamboanga together with officials from the NEA.
The project, Improvement of Equipment for Power Distribution in Bangsamoro Area, is a partnership between JICA and the Department of Energy (DOE) through NEA as support to peace building in Mindanao. The project will upgrade the power distribution equipment of the six electric cooperatives (ECs) operating in the area. Data from said ECs showed an average of 26% energy loss due to the aging equipment used for energy transmission that have been built in the 70s. "Through JICA and NEA's partnership to improve power distribution in the Bangsamoro, we're confident that the region can maximize its resources to develop and diversify its economy. The boom trucks and equipment from the project can assist the electric cooperatives in the Bangsamoro in improving the local people's access to electricity, and attract investments in the region," said Yoshio Wada, Chief Representative of JICA Philippines.
Government data showed that the electrification rate in the Bangsamoro stood at 36%, lower than the average rate of 74% in Mindanao. The JICA grant aid will help reduce energy distribution losses to about 7% and assure reliable, resilient energy supply to nearly 44,000 households in the area.
The project will benefit ECs in Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), namely Maguindanao Electric Cooperative (MAGELCO), Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative (LASURECO), Basilan Electric Cooperative (BASELCO), Tawi-Tawi Electric Cooperative (TAWELCO), Sulu Electric Cooperative (SULECO), and Siasi Electric Cooperative (SIASELCO).
In the power distribution sector, electric cooperatives operate and manage power distribution in their own franchise areas under the supervision of NEA. ECs in the Bangsamoro area lack the necessary budget for rehabilitation and maintenance work of power distribution facilities. Maintaining secondhand equipment are putting pressure on the ECs' financial status.
Since 2002, JICA has actively supported peace and development in Mindanao through its Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD) and other development assistance on socioeconomic infrastructure and capacity building to improve governance, livelihood, and industry development in Mindanao's conflict areas.
From left: Embassy of Japan's Minister Makoto Iyori, National Electrification Agency's Deputy Administrator Artis Nikki Tortola and Japan International Cooperation Agency's Chief Representative Yoshio Wada signed the Certificate of Turn-over for the Equipment provided under the project.
Representatives from the 6 Electric Cooperatives in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao attended the Turn-over Ceremony for the 16 boom trucks and other power distribution equipment under the project