Clark, Pampanga – Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras announced that the government is set to increase its budget this year for rural electrification to provide electricity to more Filipinos.
In an Information, Education, and Communication (IEC) Campaign conducted by the DOE at the Hotel Stotsenberg in Clark Airbase, Secretary Almendras said that the government is ready to allocate as much as P5 Billion for electrifying the countryside this year.
"We have allotted P2.5 Billion this year and if needed, we will be providing an additional P2.5 Billion for a total of P5 Billion to be poured to rural electrification. Our goal is all about energy access for more. Why? because the future Filipino children will be disadvantaged if they have no access to energy. And the more Filipinos we provide power to, the better their future will be," Secretary Almendras added.
Secretary Almendras noted that the move of the government to invest in the rural areas will be for the government’s “inclusive” growth.
"Inclusive growth is an economic development that will start from the bottom going up. We know that eventually, the investments we made for the countryside will eventually go back to the main population centers," Secretary Almendras explained.
He then appealed to the stakeholders to support the government in its efforts to provide energy for all.
"Join us in our dream of energy access for more. It’s a very long journey. It will probably take 10 to 15 years before we finally achieve it, but with your help and your commitment to this initiative we will be able to ensure the economic liability of the Philippines and the quality of life of future Filipinos from many generations," he said.
Energy Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras also presented the current developments, local and national, in the energy sector, which include updates on the energy resource development, downstream oil, renewable energy, and power sectors.
After the presentation, the participants broke out into groups and discussed different issues on the energy sector such as downstream oil, renewable energy, power/electrification, efficiency and alternative fuels, as well as in the petroleum and coal exploration. Each group was facilitated by DOE representatives and other resource persons from the industry.
At least 250 participants attended the event, composed of representatives from the Local Government Units (LGUs), electric cooperatives, private companies, and others stakeholders.
The Luzon IEC Forum is a continuation of the IEC campaign of the DOE to promote the agency, energy policies, and energy investment opportunities while getting an in-depth view of the energy issues nationwide. Prior to this activity in Clark, the DOE had already done some briefings in Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod and Leyte, Baguio, Cebu, and, Davao.