Cotabato City (June 16, 2016) – The island provinces of Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will soon experience stable supply of electricity after a local corporation made a commitment to improve the power situation in the three areas.
After securing a power purchase agreement from the Tawi-Tawi Electric Cooperative, Kaltimex Rural Energy Corp. – the local affiliate of an Indonesian-Indian firm known for its expertise in providing power in off-grid islands in Indonesia – has decided to make available a P400-million eight-megawatt diesel-fed power barge in Tawi-Tawi. The project will expand its capacity in the future thru co-generation with a solar power plant.
Kaltimex is also planning to put up a similar project in the province of Sulu and is now coordinating with the Sulu Electric Cooperative. Part of the company’s investment strategy is to provide services in off-grid and isolated island electric power markets, or SPUG (small power utilities group), in the Philippines including Basilan.
Lawyer Ishak Mastura, chairman and managing head of the ARMM Regional Board of Investments (RBOI-ARMM), said “Sulu archipelago suffers from perennial brownouts, or no running electricity at all, in many of its parts.” He further said “it is literally gripped in darkness because electricity coverage is sporadic. Some communities have no access at all to electric power.”
“Even if there is electricity in some parts, there is a long-running energy deficit due to lack of additional power generation capacity and dilapidated equipment. Thus, they suffer from regular brownouts with only a few hours of power in a 24-hour cycle,” he added.
Atty. Mastura said that electric power access brings many benefits to the communities and their residents such as access to a range of social, economic, and technological advances. He added that the Kaltimex project will improve the “dire situation” in the island provinces of ARMM in terms of human and economic development.
Re-elected ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman emphasized that among the primary goals in his new term is to make sure that Basilan, Sulu and Tawi Tawi will have no more brownouts through more energy investments that will in turn power industries and bring light to the islands’ communities.
In the first quarter of 2016, RBOI-ARMM registered a P1.3-billion project from Gintong Agri Corp, a company engaged in oil palm plantation development. The region already exceeded its target for 2016 of P900 million investments. In 2015, the agency registered a total of P6.5 billion, the biggest in the history of the ARMM. (BPI-ARMM)