MARAWI CITY - Investments in renewable energy (RE) should be an initiative that the government should look into to complement the ongoing rebuilding efforts in Marawi, a cabinet official said.

Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Chairman Secretary Datu Hj. Abul Khayr Alonto said that RE will be crucial in providing basic services to residents, especially for healthcare services

RE is reliable and sustainable so it will benefit more residents particularly internally displaced persons (IDPs) who are in still need of immediate assistance, Alonto said during a site visit to a solar electrification project in selected barangays in Marawi last November 14th.

The project, which is a partnership between MinDA and United States Agency for International Developments (USAID) Building Low Emissions Alternatives to Develop Economic Resilience and Sustainability (B-LEADERS) Project and the Mindanao Health Program and the Department of Energy, has resulted to the installation at least four (4) units of solar-powered roof panels in the barangay health centers of Tuca, Sugud, Ambolong, and Basak Malulut and more than 200 solar street lamps in transitory shelters across the city.

These facilities will help our barangay health workers in terms of lighting, ventilation, and other services all of which are essential in providing efficient services to their fellow residents here in Marawi, he added.

In addition, the project will also be providing trainings in terms of equipment maintenance to electric cooperatives, local government units, and other beneficiaries.

It is also one of the identified assistance efforts under the Mindanao Peace and Development Program or MPAD which was signed by MinDA and USAID earlier this week in Manila. The $11 million agreement covers development assistance in infrastructure, livelihood, education, and social services for conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.

We hope to leverage this renewed and strengthened partnership to explore more support measures and expand economic opportunities for these areas in Mindanao, MinDA executive director Undersecretary Janet Lopoz added.

Renewed interest in RE

As RE takes an important role in peace and development initiatives in Mindanao, the call to deploy more these facilities has become more urgent, MinDA Assistant Secretary Romeo Montenegro said.

Currently, our energy mix leans towards coal and fossil and if this continues, at least 70% of our power will come from these sources. Environmental integrity is another angle to look into in this discourse, Montenegro noted during the 11th MinDA Board of Directors Meeting in Davao City.

During the meeting, a resolution was approved supporting the agencys Mindanao Power Development Program (MPDP) and its plans to establish more RE capacities in the island-region to meet the forecasted 3,500MW demand in the region by 2030.

Among the key initiatives identified under the MPDP is the immediate rehabilitation of the Agus-Pulangi Hydropower Complex and the implementation of the One-Stop Facilitation and Monitoring Center or OSFMC.

The OSFMC framework looks at helping potential RE players accomplish the necessary permitting requirements for their facilities faster through an inter-agency coordination effort of which MinDA will serve as oversight, Montenegro added.

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