Expected to lure in more tourists, investments

NAVAL, Biliran – One of the tourist island destinations of this town will now have a 24- hour power supply which is projected to result in more tourists coming to the area.
The Higatangan Micro Grid was formally opened on March 8 that will provide electricity to the entire island which has become one of this town’s top tourist draws.
Edgardo Masongsong, administrator of the National Electrification Administration (NEA), who led the inauguration, said that its full operation would mean more opportunities for the people of the island.
“Few investors are putting up businesses in this island because on the problem on power supply. But now that electricity is here, we expect more businessmen to come in and invest in the island particularly in tourism related establishments to cater local and foreign tourist,” Masongsong said.
Higatangan Microgrid is a P15.21 million worth electrification project through the donation of South Korean government and ELT Co. Ltd that includes equipment: 10-KW power solar panel photovoltaic, 50-KW power control system, 50-KV diesel generator, and 20-KWH plus 16-KWH extra energy storage system.
The Biliran Electric Cooperative (Bileco), as a counterpart, purchased the lot where the micro-grid was erected.
The island, famous for its ‘shifting’ sand bar, has two villages, Mabini and Legaspi whose residents welcome the operation of its own power supply.
Legaspi village chairman Milluh Roble said that the microgrid is an answer to their prayer to have a reliable supply of electricity.
“As the leader of the village, let me say thank you in behalf of the constituents for this project that will give us a wonderful opportunity,” Roble said.
Rosita Salazar, caretaker of Higatangan Island Beach Resort, said that the full energization on the island would result to more tourist bookings to their resort.
“We have a website where tourists can book online. But since there is no electricity on the island, the booking is checked online by the owner who resides in Canada then she will call or send a message in mobile phone if there are reservation,” she said.
Masongsong said that improving the life of every Filipino is among the main goals of the present administration under its Ambisyon Natin 2040 that represents the collective long-term vision and aspirations of the Filipino people for themselves and for the country in the next 25 years.
This goal of the national government is in line with the target of electric cooperative that is rural electrification to spur rural development.
Although the ceremonial switch-on was already done by the NEA officials and the management of Bileco headed by its general manager Gerardo Oledan, the island will continue to have a 5-hour power supply everyday due to technical problem on the micro-grid equipment but the Korean technicians will arrive next month correct the problem for the island residents to finally experience the 24-hour power supply.