The National Electrification Administration (NEA) has released guidelines on the use and distribution of infrastructure resiliency funds, which aims to help power coops prepare and recover from natural disasters.
The state-run agency said the rules will apply to all electric cooperatives (ECs) in the country.
The rules are in accordance with Republic Act No. 11039 or the Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Fund (ECERF) Act implemented in June last year.
The law aims to provide financial assistance to ECs through grants for the immediate rehabilitation of affected infrastructures after calamities or force majeure.
“This is the final step towards the actual enablement of our electric cooperatives versus the ever increasing threat of rogue weather, and a timely capacitation towards mitigation, adaptation and resiliency. Aside from being a feather in the cap of the legislative branch, this is also a testament that our lawmakers are responsive to climate realities,” NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong said in a statement.
NEA will manage and administer the ECERF, which will have an amount of P750 million coming from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) Fund and will be immediately released to the NEA Quick Response Fund for proper release to qualified ECs.
According to Section 8 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations, the “concept of ‘Build Back Better’ shall be integrated in the recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction phases after a disaster to increase the resilience of the affected ECs’ infrastructure.”
Once 50 percent of the fund is used, NEA can seek for additional budget from the NDRRMC Fund equal to at least the initial allocated fund.
The law also allows the agency to deduct overhead expenses from engineering and administrative tasks which are limited to pre-construction activities; construction project management; testing and quality control; acquisition, rehabilitation and repair of related equipment and parts; and contingencies in relation to pre-construction activities.
NEA is also allowed to get monetary donations from local or international parties as long as they are for the purpose of restoration and rehabilitation of the ECs’ damaged infrastructure, which will also be subjected to existing auditing rules and regulations.
“The NEA shall designate an exclusive account for such donations and shall be utilized exclusively for such restoration or rehabilitation,” the law states.
The firm can also accept donation such as materials and equipment but shall be delivered to the designated EC receiver or upon the discretion of the government agency.
NEA is also mandated to formulate policies and coordinate with the implementations of all activities of the ECs relative to emergency and resiliency management.
ECs will also have additional responsibilities such as ensuring the preparedness and mitigation measures to protect the adverse impact of any fortuitous event.
ECs are required to submit to NEA their comprehensive and integrated disaster management programs, including vulnerability and risk assessments, resiliency compliance plans, and emergency response plans.
Failure to submit will mean they will be barred from using the ECERF.