Forty-eight year old boatman Redentor Bahadia has been living without electricity all his life. Not because he cannot afford to pay for it. It so happened that the entire Taal Volcano island where about 5,000 people reside remains unconnected to the national electric transmission grid.
To make matters worse, Reden has to shell out over P100 a day or more than P3,000 a month for the two liters of gasoline needed to keep his generator going for 12 hours. The amount is much higher than the electric consumption of an average household in Metro Manila.
At night, when he takes the 30-minute journey from the island to the mainland, Reden has to rely on his battery-operated flashlight to provide illumination along the lake, thus, spending a couple of pesos more for disposable batteries.
Reden is not alone in this predicament. Other residents of the volcano island who use kerosene for their lamps like 28-year old Lenie de Villa also have to spend P30 a day per bottle or P900 a month, making a huge dent in the meager income that they get. On top of it, they also pay P5 just to charge their cellular phones.
“Kailangan pa naming lumabas at bumili ng gaas para sa gasera. Ang hirap lalo na pag gumagawa ng assignment ang mga bata. Saka pag may kalamidad gaya ng bagyo o lindol tapos wala kaming ilaw (We need to go out and buy kerosene for our lamp. It’s so difficult especially when the kids are doing their homework. And it’s also difficult not to have any light when there’s a calamity like a typhoon or earthquake),” Lenie said.
Thus, it was of great relief to the people of Barangay Calawit, Balete, Batangas when Globe Telecom together with PUSOD, Inc., a non-government organization spearheading the Taal Volcano Protected Landscape project, decided to address the situation by providing solar lamps initially to 80 families of boatmen and tour guides under PUSOD.
Recipients only have to pay P250 per month for 12 months for the portable solar lamps and P310 a month for two years for those intended for home installation. The amount paid will then be used as seed money to buy additional lamps for the other196 households in the barangay. Stiftung Solarenergie Philippines provides technical support to ensure longevity of the lamps which is covered by a two-year warranty.
The solar lamps work from four hours of continuous use under maximum setting to as long as 100 hours under bedtime setting. They can also be used to charge mobile phones.
“We would like to help uplift the lives of the people of Batangas which is one of our communities of practice. With the solar lamp distribution, we are able to assist the community further by allowing them to be more productive even in the evening, generate more savings, and be free from health and environmental hazards brought about by the use of fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum,” said Fernando Esguerra, OIC, Globe Corporate Social Responsibility.
Globe is also currently doing its part in livelihood provision as well as in environmental protection and conservation of Taal Lake and its environs in partnership with PUSOD. At the same time, it also assists the barangay through the Sagot Ka ni Kap empowerment program for barangay leaders.
Press Release from Globe Telecom
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