Senator Win Gatchalian is calling on the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to activate the Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Fund (ECERF) to provide aid to electric coops and power consumers adversely affected by the onslaught of Typhoon Ompong (international name: Typhoon Mangkhut).
Ompong, considered by weather officials as the strongest typhoon to hit the country so far this year, is expected to make landfall in Cagayan on Saturday morning and is poised to bring extreme winds and rainfall to Northern and Central Luzon over the weekend.
Citing the newly signed Republic Act 11039, or the Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Fund Act, the senator called on NEA to prepare in advance for the quick disbursement of funds from the ECERF to empower electric coops to undertake immediate restoration and rehabilitation works on power lines and other power infrastructure that may be damaged during the storm.
Ompong is the first powerful storm to hit the Philippines since President Rodrigo Duterte signed RA 11039 into law on June 29, 2018. The law, principally authored and sponsored by Gatchalian, aims to strengthen resiliency among electric cooperatives by institutionalizing government support and financial assistance during times of disaster.
P750 million has been appropriated for the initial implementation of the law, to be taken out of the P7 billion budget of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Fund (NDRRMF). The funds are to be coursed through NEA’s Quick Response Fund for smooth distribution to qualified electric coops.
“I expect much of Northern and Central Luzon to be affected by widespread brownouts in the aftermath of Typhoon Ompong. NEA must work hand-in-hand with electric cooperatives to ensure the speedy restoration of electricity in these areas,” said Gatchalian, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy.
“This is the first big test for the ECERF Law. The government and electric cooperatives must put it to good use. Ayaw nating madagdagan pa ang pasanin ng ating mga kababayan na maaapektuhan ng Bagyong Ompong,” he added.