Philippine News Agency (ManilaBulletin)
The Japanese government will extend 771 million yen (P348.8 million) grant aid to the Philippines for implementing an energy project in conflict-affected Bangsamoro area over the next three years, as it continues to provide support to peace and development in Mindanao.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) on Thursday signed the grant aid for the Project for Improvement of Equipment for Power Distribution in Bangsamoro.
The project will upgrade the power distribution equipment of the six electric cooperatives (ECs) operating in the area.
The JICA grant aid will help reduce the energy distribution losses to about 7 percent and assure reliable, resilient energy supply to nearly 44,000 households in the Bangsamoro area.
“By helping resolve the power supply issues in conflict-affected areas, we aim to help the Philippines create more economic activities in the region,” said JICA Chief Representative Susumu Ito.
The project will be implemented by the National Electrification Administration (NEA) of the Department of Energy (DOE).
JICA’s support to the energy infrastructure in Bangsamoro is also part of the agency’s development cooperation with the Philippines.
The energy project was identified under the JICA-assisted Bangsamoro Development Plan 2 meant to jumpstart economic activities in Mindanao’s conflict areas and draw up a medium- to long-term development plan (2016-2022) for the region’s inclusive and sustainable development.
For his part, NEDA Director General Ernesto Pernia said the project was expected to contribute to the long-term goal of lowering of system loss by 13 percent, and increase in line capacity by 130 percent.
“Beyond addressing the basic need to improve power supply stability in that area of Mindanao where household electrification level stands only at 72.38 percent, we also see this project as a confidence-building undertaking and a gesture of goodwill that will prove helpful as we continue to work towards achieving lasting peace and development in the region,” Pernia said.
He said Japan was the Philippine top source of official development assistance.