MANILA — The Senate on Monday unanimously approved on third and final reading a measure which allocates PHP750 million to fund the disaster rehabilitation efforts of electric cooperatives in the wake of calamities.
Under the Electric Cooperative Emergency and Resiliency Fund Act of 2017 or Senate Bill No. 1461, this amount will be allocated to the National Electrification Administration (NEA).
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chair of the Senate Energy Committee and principal sponsor of the measure, said the amount will be allocated for the exclusive use of electric cooperatives for the immediate restoration of electricity and rehabilitation of infrastructure damaged by natural disasters.
“Electric cooperatives have been put in a tough spot for their incapacity to turn the power back on after calamity strikes. This measure will address the lack of disaster response funding and hopefully, empower electric cooperatives to act in a speedy and efficient manner,” Gatchalian said in a statement.
The senator added that because electric cooperatives carry the heavy burden of restoring electricity as quickly as possible after calamities, the government should make sure that electric coops have the resources to rapidly and efficiently respond to the needs of Filipinos during trying times.
To access the emergency financial assistance, electric cooperatives are required to prepare and submit a comprehensive and integrated disaster management program.
This program includes the following: a Vulnerability Risk Assessment (the identification of critical assets and the development of disaster management measures to protect, restore, or strengthen critical assets prior to the onset of natural disasters); Emergency Response Plan (contains the organizational structure and steps for the electric cooperative to restore its system in a safe and timely manner are indicated); and a Resiliency Compliance Plan (a list of projects and programs to protect and mitigate the vulnerability of identified critical assets are laid out).