Assistant Secretary Roderick M. Planta
on behalf of ERNESTO M. PERNIA
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary

Rizal Park Hotel, Manila
September 4, 2019



Colleagues in government;

Friends from the private sector;

Participants from the civil society, the academe, and other institutions, good morning.

I am delighted to speak before you today, especially at this point when we are examining our efforts and our shared goals for a bright future. On behalf of the National Economic and Development Authority, I would like to express our gratitude to the European Union and its delegation to the Philippines headed by Ambassador Franz Jessen for being a solid partner in our relentless pursuit of inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

This is the kind of prosperity that we aspire— one that leaves no one behind, one that secures a bright future for generations to come.

We are happy that the Philippines’ economic growth in recent years has been inclusive. Based on the first semester data from 2018, the overall incidence of poverty has declined substantially by about 6 percentage since 2015. Similarly, subsistence incidence or the proportion of poor Filipino individuals who could not afford to meet their basic food requirements posted strong declines during the period, down by about 4 percentage points. These encouraging figures motivate us to work double-time to reach our poverty reduction targets and our goal to be an upper-middle-income country by 2020.

Part of our development goals is to achieve 100 percent electrification of unserved and underserved areas of the country by 2022. This is espoused in the Total Electrification Masterplan. The masterplan is consistent with both the Department of Energy’s Philippine Energy Plan 2017- 2040 and the Power Development Plan 2016-2040, and in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 7— which is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all by 2030.

As of December 2017, about 20. 9 million households out of the 23.7 million potential households in the country have access to electricity. This puts the country at an 88.3 percent household electrification level.

In this modern day and age, it is hardly acceptable that there are still communities living in areas without access to electricity. It is in these areas where we want development to happen, where we want to attract businesses and create new jobs.

Powering off-grid areas is a crucial part of the government’s thrusts to boost infrastructure development and spread growth to the rest of the regions. The Department of Energy or DOE and the National Electrification Administration have been carrying out strategies and programs that will ensure the success of the country’s long-term electrification goal. One of these is the Sitio Electrification Program or SEP, which involves the provision of electricity to sitios within the barangays. In 2016, it provided electricity to 32, 441 sitios, surpassing the target laid out in the SEP Roadmap. The DOE is also intensifying its Household Electrification Program using renewable energy systems. Under this program, electricity had been provided to households through renewable energy technologies such as phovoltaic solar home systems, streetlights and micro-hydrosystems.

The EU-supported Access to Sustainable Energy Programme or ASEP is bringing the Philippines closer to its rural electrification targets by tapping renewable energy and promoting energy efficiency.  With a grant amounting to Php3 billion, the government is working to provide electricity access to off-grid communities by installing solar home systems, each with 50-watt peak capacity. In the Bangsamoro region, more than 100, 000 households are expected to benefit from this project.

NEDA recommends the continuation of these projects to ensure that there will be electricity for everyone while ensuring that our natural resources remain healthy. As we move forward, we must establish an efficient monitoring system, such as a household electrification information system that will address duplication of beneficiaries and a nationwide off-grid database that will contain baselines and targets for  all off-grid electrification program of the government. We must also conduct periodic reviews and revision, if necessary, of the overall electrification goal and strategy, keeping efficiency and sustainability in mind.

Let me emphasize that while the government is persevering in its overall efforts to achieve the country’s electrification goal, it welcomes the active participation of non-government organizations, foundations, and corporate social responsibility arms in providing basic electricity in depressed areas in the country.

We are certainly glad that the European Union has been with us not just in this electrification effort but in pursuing the country’s development agenda over the long term.

Friends, many Filipinos’ aspirations are simple and many Filipinos work hard. Let us strive to provide them the most basic services like electricity that most of us take for granted. I am confident that given more and better opportunities, Filipinos can realize their potentials and will be empowered to live the life they want.

Thank you and may this day be insightful and productive to all of us.