The provincial government will start this week releasing the P2,500-subsidy to some 5,600 poor families who were not included in the national government’s social amelioration program (SAP) or any of the assistance from the government during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
Governor Melchor Diclas said that they initially earmarked PHP7 million from the 2019 savings of the local government which will benefit some 2,800 families from the 140 villages in the 13 municipalities.
He said their initial target is 20 families per village.
Diclas, however, said they are eyeing to increase the allocation to PHP14 million, with the additional amount coming from one centavo share for every kilowatt-hour (P0.01/kWh) generated by power plants operating in the area as prescribed under Energy Regulation 1-94 of the Department of Energy Act of 1992 and Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA).
Benguet is host to SN Aboitiz Power (SNAP) Ambuklao hydroelectric power plant in Bokod town and Binga hydroelectric power plant in Itogon town.
Diclas said that the Department of Energy (DOE) has given its go-signal for host local governments to use the amount under the regulation for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) response.
Under the regulation, the funds generated can be used by host beneficiaries for the electrification of areas or households that have no access to power, development and livelihood programs, as well as reforestation, watershed management, health, and environmental enhancement initiatives.
Diclas said Covid-19 is a health issue and it has affected the livelihood and finances of the residents.
In 2019, SNAP-Benguet remitted around PHP5.9 million worth of development and livelihood funds to Benguet province.
Benguet has targeted 71,000 SAP beneficiaries 11,000 of whom are beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). (PNA)