Rural electrification budget realigned for pandemic response efforts


A total of P295 million worth of funds allocated for rural electrification programs this year was realigned to boost the national government’s response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, according to the National Electrification Administration (NEA).

NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong was quoted in a statement saying that the P250 million was for the implementation of Republic Act (RA) 11039 or the “Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Fund (Ecerf) Act,” the additional P45 million was for the establishment of Customer Management and Quick Response System for selected electric cooperatives. which were both postponed.

“[T]hese were the programs recommended by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for discontinuance to partially generate the required amount to help address the pandemic situation in the country,” he was quoted in a report.

Under the 2020 General Appropriations Act (GAA), around P500 million was assigned for the implementation of Ecerf Act, which aims to provide financial assistance to power co-ops in the form of grants for the immediate restoration of damaged facilities after a force majeure.

This move followed the RA 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal As One Act,” which aims to address the pandemic in the country.

This allows the president to direct the discontinuance of appropriated programs, activities or projects of any agency in the Executive department, including government-owned and controlled corporations, under the 2019 and 2020 General Appropriations Act, whether released or unreleased, the allotments for which remain unobligated,” as stated under Section 4 (v) of RA 11469.

Earlier, the NEA remitted around P1.35 billion of unused subsidies and dividends to the Bureau of Treasury, as requested by the Department of Finance, to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.