To celebrate the “Partnership for Light”, the leadership of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC) the Alliance for Mindanao Off-grid Renewable Energy (AMORE) and the visiting Dutch Ambassador H.E. Robert Vornis led the unveiling of the “Wall of Light” at the ARMM Complex in Cotabato City last Monday.
The “Wall of Light” made of 129 granite tiles were installed to represent the 129 barangays electrified of which 71% of the electrified villages are in the region.
AMORE is a partnership project of the Philippine government-Department of Energy, US Agency for International Development (USAID, Mirant Philippine Foundation and Winrock Foundation).
"This day is a celebration because “electrification of close to 4,000 households in remote and conflict-affected areas is indeed worthy to celebrate because of its tremendous impact in these communities and in the region as a whole,” said ARMM Executive Secretary Oscar Sampulna.
Sampulna, who relayed the message of ARMM Regional Governor Datu Zaldy Uy Ampatuan extending his outmost gratitude and for the sincere commitment to being our partners in bringing about a peaceful, progressive and competitive region.
The partnership enabled PNOC to supply AMORE, through Shell Solar Philippines Corporation with 55-wattpeak solar homes systems for 30 households per village at a 60-percent price subsidy from the Netherlands government.
The joint undertaking electrifies the remote and conflict affected areas in Mindanao that cannot be connected to the power grid, with stand-alone renewable energy systems such as solar and microhydro.
By bringing light and electricity to the households in these communities, Sampulna added that "we not only improve their lives but we give them hope – a fervent reason to have brighter and more positive outlook in life despite the hardships brought about by the years of instability."
The AMORE program, Sampulna said continues to be among the most important and successful programs that the ARMM leadership have in the region.
H.E. Ambassador Robert Vornis of Netherlands said that their country gave 60 percent (60%) subsidy that is equivalent to 5.6 Million Euros or approximately 350 Million Pesos approved grant component of totality.
Energy Sec. Raphael Lotilla said that “we will bring power and light to all people”. He further concluded that they would complete the electrification for all barangays in the Philippines before 2008.
Mr. Victorino Bala of PNOC stressed that the electrification of villages was part of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) that the administration would provide assistance for Muslim brothers and to provide light on every homes so that more families would enjoy the improve quality of life.(BPI-ARMM)