BATANGAS CITY’S VERDE ISLAND NOW ‘ENERGIZED’
Batangas City Mayor Beverley Rose Dimacuha (3rd from left) and Batangas 5th District Rep. Marvey Mariño (2nd from left) leads in the historic ceremonial switch-on of the famous Isla Verde, with former DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson, now president and chief executive officer of MERALCO Powergen Corporation; Barangay San Agapito chair Edmar Rieta, DOE Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella, USAID-Philippines Deputy Office Chief for Environment and Mission Disaster Relief Paul Aiyong Seong and MERALCO head of networks Ronnie Aperocho on Feb. 15, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Batangas CIO)
BATANGAS CITY — The dream of illuminating the famous Verde Island came to reality on Friday as the initial 40 of 300 households in Barangay San Agapito were lit up during the ceremonial switch-on of the First Solar Micro Grid System and Community Electrification Project.
The barangay energization joint project was forged through a lease contract agreement by the Batangas City government and the Manila Electric Company (Meralco), in partnership with the Department of Energy (DOE) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The contract provides for the operation, maintenance and management services of the Isla Verde Solar Photovoltaic Plant, which could generate about 0.1920 megawatt (MW) using Solar Photo Voltaic Cells, by Meralco as project proponent for 25 years.
Mayor Beverley Rose Dimacuha and Batangas 5th District Rep. Marvey Mariño led the island’s constituents during the ceremony with DOE Undersecretary Felix William Fuentebella, Meralco head of networks Ronnie Aperocho; former public works and highways secretary and now president and chief executive officer of Meralco Powergen Corp. Rogelio Singson; and USAID-Philippines Deputy Office Chief for Environment and Mission Disaster Relief Paul Aiyong Seong.
Dimacuha described the project as a model for a public-private partnership in pursuit of the city’s Public-Private Partnership Code through City Ordinance No. 3, series of 2013 for the local government’s thrust on inclusive growth and development, especially on geographically-isolated islands and communities.
She said the energization of Verde Island is a “dream come true”, when her father, then mayor Eddie Dimacuha, had proposed to bring electricity to the island through a government and private sector partnership.
“This is the time to rejoice, time to celebrate. Ngayong 2019, liliwanag na rin ang Pasko sa Isla Verde (This 2019, Christmas in Isla Verde would be illuminated),” the mayor said.
Dimacuha also told project proponents and island stakeholders that the project will not damage the island’s environment and marine resources.
Mariño also reminisced the time when he chanced upon Meralco Chairman Manny Pangilinan after the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) games held at the city coliseum here, during which he broached the idea of bringing electricity to the island.
He said he received Pangilinan’s reply three days after the games and that started it all, along with the project partners.
Meanwhile, Fuentebella disclosed that Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi has ordered to speed up electrification in Isla Verde to make the island’s inhabitants, especially the students, more competitive and capacitate residents in their energized homes.
He said USAID has fully supported the project through technical assistance, and expects the solar electricity would spur more economic development in the island.
He also appealed to the residents on the upkeep of the renewable energy project to make it clean and sustainable.
“Matagal na itong pangarap ng mga residente lalo na ng mga matatanda, pero higit na masaya ang mga mag-aaral dahil makakagamit na rin sila ng computer para sa kanilang pag-aaral (This has long been the dream of the residents, especially the adults.
However, the children are happier because they would now be able to use computers in their studies),” Barangay San Agapito chair Edmar Rieta, said, adding that students could now study even at night.
He assured the island constituents’ compliance with the regulations and guidelines stipulated in the project contract and looks forward to the full energization in the remaining households. (Maroe T. Genosa/PNA)