March 30, 2023
The local government units (LGU) of Borongan City and Municipality of Dolores have committed to promote renewable energy (RE) and create a more sustainable future for their communities.
The pledge was made during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Oxfam Pilipinas and ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability Southeast Asia Secretariat (ICLEI SEAS) on Tuesday, March 28.
Borongan City Mayor Jose Ivan Agda, and Dolores Sangguniang Bayan Member Randy Pomida representing Mayor Rodrigo Rivera signed the MoU as part of the RE-Start Campaign of Oxfam Pilipinas.
The RE-Start Campaign is part of Oxfam Pilipinas’ just energy transition (JET) programme to promote a democratized energy governance system in the Philippines and support local actors to establish enabling policy and program environment for accelerated RE transformation.
Oxfam Pilipinas Executive Director Erika Geronimo stressed that, “this partnership means increasing people’s access to sustainable energy and opportunities to scale-up RE technologies.”
Agda expressed Borongan LGU’s optimism for the success of the RE-Start Campaign. “When people question what RE is and why it’s important, we will inform them that it can provide cheaper electricity that our communities can benefit from.” Agda added that this project can help continue their campaign on environmental protection.
“Campaigns to protect our trees, our forests, and ensure that no illegal logging takes place will carry on. Through this, the continuous stream of clean water for our hydropower energy plants is guaranteed. The LGU of Borongan will cooperate in this project because we aim to be self-sufficient when it comes to energy sources.”
On the other hand, Pomida expressed that the project will be helpful to off-grid communities in Dolores saying, “we hope to work with Oxfam Pilipinas to ensure that we help communities in Dolores especially those who are in off-grid barangays.”
The Provincial LGU of Eastern Samar was represented by Governor Ben Evardone’s Executive Assistant Raymond Campo during the MoU signing. Campo expressed that the provincial LGU is supportive of these efforts on RE.
“Governor Evardone has been vocal in wanting to address the rising prices of electricity in Eastern Samar and how the region is abundant in terms of RE sources. We are looking forward to continued partnerships with different organizations and LGUs to implement RE projects.”
Partnerships towards a Just Energy Transition
Department of Energy (DOE) Visayas Field Office Energy Resources Development and Utilization Division Chief Lourdes Arciaga reiterated the important role of LGUs in transitioning to RE, citing that the DILG-DOE Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2020-01 known as the LGU Energy Code, mandates LGUs to incorporate energy planning in their Local Development Plans (LDPs).
Asked about how DOE supports LGUs in their transition towards RE, Arciaga shared that, “the DOE can provide the LGUs energy policy advisory and technical assistance services in formulating and implementing renewable energy projects in their locality. One adoptable RE mechanism for LGUs is the DOE’s Enhanced Net-metering Program which can help them save on electricity cost thru the installation of solar PV Systems. This can also encourage consumers and more people from the communities to adopt renewable energy for their electricity needs”.
Net-metering allows customers of Distribution Utilities (DUs) to install an on-site RE facility not exceeding 100 kilowatts (kW) in capacity so they can generate electricity for their own use. Excess energy produced can be sold back to the grid for rebates, providing financial incentives to the RE facility owner and helping contribute to a more stable energy supply.
ICLEI SEAS Low Emission Development Strategies Manager Pam Cabacungan said that the burden to lead the just energy transition does not lie with the government alone.
“In ICLEI, we call on LGUs to promote and uphold energy democratization and engage local stakeholders to address energy injustices. We also want to be part of the solution by providing our organization’s assistance to address our partner LGUs’ needs. We are grateful for the opportunity to be working with the provincial government of Eastern Samar, Borongan City, Municipality of Dolores, and Oxfam Pilipinas to realize this through the RE-StartCampaign,” Cabacungan said.
Geronimo shared Cabacungan’s sentiment, saying that “Oxfam Pilipinas is with Eastern Samar LGUs in the advocacy against the worsening climate crisis.”
“We are confident that with this partnership with Borongan and Dolores, our LGU leaders will be inspired to respond to the disproportional negative impacts of the climate emergency on women and vulnerable groups and will put their efforts towards a just energy transition,” Geronimo added.
Oxfam Pilipinas and Sentro para sa Ikauunlad ng Katutubong Agham at Teknolohiya, Inc. (SIKAT) previously supported the installation of solar-powered microgrid systems in the off-grid small island communities of Brgy. Tikling and Hilabaan in Dolores, Eastern Samar.
Ma. Paz “Pats” Oliva
Senior Officer for Media and Digital Influencing