$20-MILLION FOR RP RURAL ELECTRIFICATION PROGRAM

Manila, May 20, 2003 -- The World Bank and the Global Environment Facility 
have agreed to provide $10 million each in financing package for the 
Philippines' rural electrification program.

This is one of the highlights of President Arroyo's state visit to the 
United States, the Department of Energy said.

DOE secretary Vince Perez said the World Bank would provide a $10 million 
loan to the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), which DBP in turn 
will lend to electric cooperatives and other agencies to help improve rural 
electrification.

The DoE, on the other hand, would facilitate the implementation of the 
activities funded by the $10 million GEF grant. GEF helps developing 
countries fund projects and programs that protect the global environment.

The Philippine Rural Power Project consists of two major components, 
namely: rural electrification and capacity building.

The rural electrification component will cover both the main grid and 
off-grid areas. Electric cooperatives could avail of the funding to upgrade 
and rehabilitate their existing systems or install stand-alone renewable 
energy systems and small-scale energy generation for off-grid areas.

The capacity building component, on the other hand, will include the 
development and implementation of rationalized policies on subsidies, 
tariffs, regulation and integration of renewable energy technologies into 
the Missionary Electrification Development Plan (MEDP).

The energy chief also noted that milestones have been achieved in the rural 
electrification program as electrification level by end of April 2003 
reached 88 percent, bringing the number of barangays without electricity to 
only 5,033 of the total 41, 999 barangays.

The Philippine O-Ilaw project aims to provide electricity to all barangays 
nationwide by 2006.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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