Communities in the western part of Misamis Oriental celebrated their joy of finally having to experience living in a home lighted by electricity.
This was when the Philippines established its first ever electric cooperative.
The cooperative’s success then paved the way to the springing up of more than 100 other electric cooperatives in the country today, bringing the mission of rural electrification with the government-led agency, the National Electrification Administration (NEA), overseeing them all.
However, 43 years after, statistics nationwide showed that there are still a lot of communities in the countryside who still live in darkness.
President Benigno Aquino III pronounced on 21 September 2011 the start of the Sitio Electrification program (SEP) aimed at improving the lives of the poor Filipinos.
This program is hoped to carry out economic boost which would lead to job generation and bring in investments to the rural areas.
With a target of lighting up the sitios in the entire country, the residents shall have the house wiring cost, labor cost, meter base, 30-meter service drop and all the structural materials to be installed at no cost. The only obligation on their part is to pay membership fee, Bill Deposit equivalent to 1month estimated consumption and other incidental expenses for membership and to secure the Building Permit at the Building Official Office prior to connection.
This also brings immediate challenge to the NEA and the electric cooperatives, a test of unity, dedication, competence and excellence.
Driven by a passion to carry on its rural electrification mission, MORESCO-1 committed to energize 90 sitios on the launching year of the program.
This commitment was however put to test when it was given a time-racing deadline. The pressure that MORESCO-1 bore kept many wondering if it would make true its promise to give light to the households of 90 sitios.
Banking on the power of information, MORESCO-1 immediately, conducted a consultation with the respective Local government officials, who upon knowing the pro-gram, immediately acted upon to fast track the process.
Partnership with the barangay electricians association was sought as well.
Series of community consultations were also carried out to the barangay leaders and their communities to have a better understanding of the program.
With the unceasing support from the concerned entities, MORESCO-1 committed itself to energize the 90 sitios in 80 days.
Sitio bankers in barangay Tignapoloan, Cagayan de Oro City, is just one of the 90 sitios in the list of MORESCO-1. It is five kilometers away from the Tignapoloan proper, with around 30 households, composing mostly of the Higaunon tribe.
Maribel Bucona, 31 years of age, who married a native of this place, has lived here for 16 years, and those 16 years bore the couple only three children; unlikely from the other native families who usually have 10 or more children.
It is also common in their community for a man to have two – three wives with 10 or more children from each spouse, as culture and tradition permit them to. But when asked why her husband decided to only have her as his wife raising only three children, she responded first with a bashful smile, and said with a voice of determination, that she and her husband wanted to give their children a better quality of life. When she heard about the sitio energization program, she was ecstatic.
We start to cook for dinner as early as 3:00 a.m., and have our dinner before darkness sets in, for us to see the food we’re eating. and at 6:00 p.m. we start to go to bed, coz there’s nothing else to do anymore. That’s why people in the mountain have lots of children coz they go to bed very early!,” said Maribel.
To hasten the completion, MORESCO-1 initiated a ‘Bayanihan’ activity, where
employees go to the area for an overnight to assist domestic chores of the crew.
“The bayanihan really helped us a lot since we didn’t have to cook our food thus making our work faster. I am also happy that the community here is very supportive and so I encourage my linemen to work harder so we can finish the project early,” said Liberato Hugo, SEP contractor.
Meantime, in barangay Lubluban, Libertad town, Emma Carnoso, expressed elation over what she says as a dream come true.
“I am very happy that electricity has arrived in our area. We have been hoping for it for 21 years….When there’s light, there’s possibility that the work that’s not done during the day can be finished at night. I am very thankful to our lord almighty for granting our prayers,” says Emma.
She also said, “We never thought that this day would come, with posts and house wiring at no cost. We never imagined that in just a flash, our dream would come true.”
With the effort of the board of directors, the management and the employees, indeed the line construction for the 90 sitios were completed on December 15, 2011 as the set deadline, with 1,724 households actually energized out of the 1,326 households which MORESCO-1 originally committed to Energize at the onset of the SEP initiative.
These households are now enjoying the light in their homes – thus promising a brighter future for their family especially for their children. (MORESCO-1)