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Marawi into the light.

Solar-powered street lamps have been installed in some streets and alleys of select barangays where newly constructed temporary shelters were built to house some of the survivors of the five-month-old Marawi City siege last year.

Last week, four units of solar-powered roof panels were installed at the barangay health centers of Tuca, Sugod, Ambolong and Basak Malulut, and more than 200 more solar street lamps were put up around the transitory shelters across the city.

The installation was a joint project of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAid). MinDA said the installation of the lighting system also intends to prove the viability of renewable energy (RE) adaptation in the electrification component of rebuilding the shattered city.

MinDA called the project Building Low Emissions Alternatives to Develop Economic Resilience and Sustainability, or B-Leaders, and it was coordinated with the Mindanao Health Program and the Department of Energy.

The MinDA said the RE project would also provide training in terms of equipment maintenance to electric cooperatives, local government units, and other beneficiaries.

RE initiative

'These facilities will help our barangay health workers in terms of lighting, ventilation and other services, all of which are essential in providing efficient services to their fellow residents here in Marawi,' said MinDA Chairman, Secretary Datu Hj. Abul Khayr Alonto.

MinDA Chairman, Secretary Datu Hj. Abul Khayr Alonto talks to one of the beneficiaries of its renewable-energy project.

The MinDA has been consistent with its advocacy to harness RE sources despite the swarm of big-ticket power-generation projects using coal in the last decade marred by recurring episodes of electricity crisis.

Alonto stressed, 'Mindanao investments in RE should be an initiative that the government should look into to complement the ongoing rebuilding efforts in Marawi.'

'RE is reliable and sustainable so it will benefit more residents, particularly internally displaced persons (IDPs) who are in need of immediate assistance,' Alonto said during a site visit to a solar electrification project in select barangays in Marawi City on November 14.

Funding commitment

The installation of the solar-powered lamps and panels was one of the identified projects for assistance under the Mindanao Peace and Development Program, or MPAD, that was signed by MinDA and USAid earlier this week in Manila.

The USAid has committed $11 million to cover development assistance in infrastructure, livelihood, education and social services for conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.

'We hope to leverage this renewed and strengthened partnership to explore more support measures and expand economic opportunities for these areas in Mindanao,' said Undersecretary Janet Lopez, MinDA executive director.

MinDA Assistant Secretary Romeo 'Yo' Montenegro said, 'RE takes an important role in peace and development initiatives in Mindanao, and the call to deploy more of these facilities has become more urgent.'

'Currently, our energy mix leans towards coal and fossil, and if this continues, at least 70 percent of our power will come from these sources. Environmental integrity is another angle to look into in this discourse,' Montenegro told the recent 11th MinDA Board of Directors Meeting in Davao City.

Dam rehab

During the meeting, a resolution was approved supporting the agency's Mindanao Power Development Program (MPDP) and its plan to establish more RE capacities in the island-region to meet the forecast of 3,500-megawatt demand in the region by 2030.

Among the key initiatives identified under the MPDP is the immediate rehabilitation of the Agus-Pulangi Hydropower Complex and the implementation of the One-Stop Facilitation and Monitoring Center, or OSFMC.

'The OSFMC framework looks at helping potential RE players accomplish... [the] requirements [such as permits] for their facilities faster through an interagency coordination effort of which MinDA will serve as oversight,' Montenegro added.
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Publication:Business Mirror (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Nov 25, 2018
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