Senator Win Gatchalian called on the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to fast-track the relocation of more than 57,000 electric poles in the middle of road widening projects situated in various parts of the country.
“The recurring failure to address the issue practically defeats the purpose of such road widening projects. Paulit-ulit na lang nating kinakalampag ang gobyerno sa isyung ito na posibleng magdulot ng kapahamakan sa mga motorista,” Gatchalian emphasized.
Based on records obtained from NEA, a total of 85,526 electric poles have been identified for relocation. Out of this number, only 28,431 poles have so far been relocated translating into an accomplishment rate of only 33.24%.
The balance of 57,095 poles have yet to be relocated as of end-October this year — 23,339 in Luzon, 16,067 in Visayas, and 17,689 in Mindanao.
The entire pole relocation project requires a total budget of P5.548 billion, P1.114 of which have already been released.
Gatchalian noted that the DPWH and the Department of Energy (DOE) entered into a joint circular in March 2021 providing the mechanism for the immediate relocation of electric poles within the national government’s right-of-way.
Such a joint circular provides that the DPWH national revenue allotment shall be allocated to compensate electric cooperatives for the relocation of the poles. The amount shall be transferred to NEA through an execution of a memorandum of agreement between the two parties.
To date, the MOA between NEA and DPWH has not materialized. The DPWH, though, has confirmed that the funds would be directly downloaded to the ECs instead of transferring it to NEA.
“Despite the signing of the joint circular, relocation efforts have failed to catch up and the issue continues to persist, preventing the roads involved from getting utilized efficiently,” Gatchalian said.