Home Top News In Brgy. Lumiad, cold drinks and lighted streets are now a constant reality

In Brgy. Lumiad, cold drinks and lighted streets are now a constant reality

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The Sitio Electrification Program, which aims for 100% electrification in the Philippines, is one of the government’s priority programs for economic development and poverty reduction. Through Davao Light, an AboitizPower subsidiary and the country’s third largest private electric distribution utility, the unlit sitio of Barangay Lumiad, Paquibato in Davao City was fully energized last April. (Photo by Scott A. Woodward, courtesy of Davao Light)

Vergie Sombilon, 53, owns a sari-sari store in the far-flung town of Lumiad in the Paquibato District of Davao City. Since she began operations, she was unable to sell anything cold, much less frozen, as Lumiad had no access to electricity. That is until recently.

Due to the electrification of her barangay just last April, Vergie was able to expand the goods offered by her mom-and-pop store. She has added a chest-type freezer to sell cold drinks, ice, and frozen goods, as well as an electricity-powered Piso wifi vending machine to give her patrons access to the internet.

Electricity has transformed Vergie’s humble sari-sari store to one that has a chest-type freezer and a Piso wifi vending machine.

“Sometimes, we run out of ice and I’ve found myself packing more at night for the next day’s buyers,” she shared.

In the same town, grade 10 student Res-Ann Maravillas Baticura no longer has to study using a gas lamp, which has since been replaced by a light bulb she can turn on whenever she wants.

“There’s a huge difference between studying using a [gas] lamp and studying using a lightbulb. When you use lightbulbs, the entire room lights up, and it’s safer,” she observed.

Access to learning materials through mobile phones and other gadgets has also become easier as Res-Ann’s family can now charge at home — a far cry from when they had to ask help from their neighbors who were already connected to the electrical grid.

With the capacity to use televisions, computers and printers, education has become more conducive for Res-Ann (pictured) and the students of the recently electrified Lumiad National High School.

Moreover, with an electrified and illuminated Lumiad National High School, Res-Ann and her fellow students would no longer have face-to-face classes held in the dark. They also won’t have to go through learning in a hot and humid environment, which, at its most extreme during the El Niño, forced the school to send their students home.

“It was really hard to study in our school when we didn’t have electricity, and we couldn’t even turn on the electric fan. It was very hot,” she recalled.

Meanwhile, for Barangay Captain Celso Bughao, 64, darkness in the streets meant the local government had to exert more effort in maintaining security in Lumiad. Now, with well-lit streets, communal spaces, and homes, crime is at an all-time low.

Bughao and a team of barangay police ensure the safety of Lumiad neighborhoods with evening patrols.

Last year, the Lumiad Barangay Council created a resolution asking the City Council Committee on Energy to electrify the nine remaining sitios that’s been without electricity since the 90s. The committee is in charge of endorsing requests by communities eligible for the Sitio Electrification Program, a priority project by the Philippine national government to achieve 100% electrification in the country by connecting the remaining remote areas to the electrical grid. It is considered a tool for economic development and poverty alleviation.

The city government coordinated with Davao Light and Power Co., Inc. (Davao Light), an AboitizPower distribution utility, to finally connect Lumiad. Since then, Lumiad has furthered its transformation from a town once scarred by insurgencies into a productive and vibrant community.

“We’re very thankful to Davao Light and the city government. It’s different now, and we’re incredibly grateful for the peace,” Bughao said.

Among Davao Light’s efforts in sitio electrification in Barangay Lumiad is the installation of streetlights to help keep the community safe during the nighttime.

The local government accelerated the Sitio Electrification Program through PEACE 911, which improved road access so that Davao Light equipment and personnel can immediately work and, once the power was up, easily address concerns.

In terms of basic social services, the barangay also offers assistance to residents looking to secure home electrification permits through a barangay certification, as well as free rides to the City Engineer’s office where the permit is obtained.

As all stakeholders continue to work together to expand and sustain the town’s energy access, the citizens of Barangay Lumiad will have more sustainable small businesses, learning-conducive classrooms, comfortable homes, and safer roads and public spaces.

“This is our small effort to help bring peace, security, and a sense of community in Barangay Lumiad,” Davao Light said.

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