NEA Media Release


NEA extends power to remote communities using microgrids

01-May-2019

To help rev up the government's electrification program, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) has been exploring strategies to extend electricity access to rural and remote communities, including the installation of micro-grid systems. "In the advent of challenging policy environment in the energy sector, the NEA wants to ensure that our electric cooperatives (ECs) are given enough resources and capacity to provide for the energy needs of communities in their franchise areas. This is part of the evolution of the assistance extended by the agency to ECs and remote rural communities," said NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong. The NEA chief cited in particular the recent inauguration and turnover of the Malalison Island Solar Photovoltaic Hybrid Pilot Project to the Antique Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ANTECO). Initiated in September 2016 at the request of the NEA, the solar pilot project was a private sector joint venture between ANTECO and One Renewable Energy Enterprise, Inc. (OREEI) supported by technical assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). "Through our partners in the industry and the assistance given by both private and foreign governments, we, too, have the capacity to empower our electric cooperatives in the field of new technologies and renewable energy sources," Masongsong said. Under the project, the existing diesel power plant on Malalison Island is augmented by a 50-kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) system with a storage capacity of 273-kilowatt hour and supported by a 54 kW diesel generator. The new mini-grid system provides round-the-clock electricity to 200 member-consumer-owners (MCOs) of ANTECO on the island, which is located in the Municipality of Culasi in Antique. The island previously only had access to electricity through diesel-fueled generators with a limited service of four hours daily. The total cost of the project was $500,548, of which ADB provided two $100,000 grants for the solar power system and prepaid metering, respectively. ANTECO and OREEI provided the remaining funding for the solar generation. The NEA also recently led the ceremonial switch-on of a new micro-grid system of the Biliran Electric Cooperative, Inc. (BILECO) on Higatangan Island, donated by the South Korean government and Korean firm ELT Co. Ltd. The system, consisted of 10 kW solar PV, 50 kW power control system, 50 kW diesel generator, and 20 kWh plus 16 kWh extra energy battery system, would benefit over 400 MCOs of BILECO on the island. In the past budget hearings, Administrator Masongsong admitted that the Agency would reach more unelectrified far-flung and remote communities if more government funding could be secured. The state agency received P1.817 billion in 2017 and another P1.817 billion in 2018 from the national government to bankroll the sitio electrification program (SEP). Electrifying a sitio costs at least P1.4 million on the average. Thus far, Masongsong said the agency has managed to achieve a lot despite the struggles in the implementation of the rural electrification program and limited resources at its disposal. As of February 2019, the NEA and the ECs have completed the energization of 78 provinces, 90 cities, 1,385 municipalities, 36,057 barangays and 123,339 sitios, benefiting 12.918 million consumers all over the country.###


Operations in all quake-hit electric cooperatives now back to normal—NEA

24-April-2019

Power distribution in all coverage areas of electric cooperatives (ECs) impacted by the earthquakes that hit Central Luzon and Eastern Visayas earlier this week are now back to normal, according to the National Electrification Administration (NEA). Based on the NEA monitoring report as of 12 noon Wednesday, all ECs in Central Luzon have reported normal operations including those in Pampanga, which suffered a series of power interruptions shortly after the 6.1-magnitude tremor struck Zambales on Monday (April 22). NEA Deputy Administrator for Technical Services Artis Nikki Tortola said it took a while for the Pampanga II Electric Cooperative, Inc. (PELCO-II) to fully restore power for all its customers but its distribution system was expected to normalize by Wednesday (April 24). The Guagua-based PELCO-II earlier reported it was able to switch the lights back on for 201,227 or 99.85 percent of its consumers by Tuesday afternoon (April 23). "All (ECs in Central Luzon) are under normal operations already even PELCO II, which was significantly hit. But so far, they have restored their system as of today (Wednesday),” said Tortola, who personally inspected the power situation at PELCO-II on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the Eastern Samar Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ESAMELCO) reported it has fully restored electricity service to nine municipalities (Arteche, Can-avid, Dolores, Jipadpad, Maslog, Oras, San Policarpio, Taft and Sulat) out of 23 areas affected by the 6.5-magnitude earthquake on Tuesday (April 23). Power restoration efforts continued and were completed by Wednesday for the municipalities of Balangiga, Balangkayan, Borongan City, General MacArthur, Giporlos, Guiuan, Hernani, Lawaan, Llorente, Maydolong, Mercedes, Quinapondan, Salcedo, and San Julian, where the quake’s epicenter was located. The coverage areas of Samar I Electric Cooperative, Inc. (SAMELCO I), SAMELCO II, Northern Samar Electric Cooperative, Inc. (NORSAMELCO) also experienced varying degrees of outages because of the earthquake but power has nonetheless been quickly restored. Tortola said the tremor only caused minor damage to power co-ops in Eastern Visayas. "All issues are more or less NGCP. Only minor damage to the co-ops," the NEA deputy administrator said. The National Grid Corporation Philippines (NGCP) reported Tuesday that power transmission operations in Visayas were all under normal operations after it completed the restoration of lines affected by the tremor. For this reason, the NEA sees no need to activate the Electric Cooperatives Emergency and Resiliency Fund (ECERF) just yet as power transmission and distribution operations in the affected areas are expected to remain stable. “While power interruptions did occur right away because of the earthquakes, it was common under the protocols of NGCP. Once its operations began to normalize, power has been restored immediately to the affected areas,” NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong has said. Moreover, the ECERF law cannot be implemented in and of itself because the P750-million fund it promised to rehabilitate the facilities of disaster-stricken electric cooperatives is yet to be provided under the 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA), according to the NEA chief. “We still have to find out if funding for the ECERF is included in the 2019 GAA,” Masongsong said, adding that people should be more concerned about power supply inadequacies that resulted in manual/automatic load dropping schemes or rotational brownouts by the grid operator. ###


Electric co-ops embark on infrastructure improvement

22-April-2019

Electric cooperatives (ECs) are embarking on construction and improvement of infrastructures that will help ensure better operational efficiencies and continuous delivery of electric services to their consumers. In the first quarter of this year, at least 13 power co-ops availed of loans amounting to P250 million from the National Electrification Administration (NEA) to bankroll their several capital expenditure (capEx) projects. Data from the NEA Accounts Management and Guarantee Department (AMGD) show these projects include the construction of sub-transmission and distribution lines, installation of substations, rehabilitation and upgrading of secondary lines, replacement of dilapidated poles, and purchase of other equipment and materials. Among the 13 ECs, the Zamboanga del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ZANECO) was the top grantee with P59.595 million, followed by the Central Pangasinan Electric Cooperative, Inc. (CENPELCO) with P45.651 million. The Camarines Sur I Electric Cooperative, Inc. (CASURECO I) borrowed P41.393 million to finance the construction of subtransmission lines and a substation at Panaytayan in the municipality of Ragay, Camarines Sur. Meanwhile, the Dinagat Island Electric Cooperative, Inc. (DIELCO) and the Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc. (DANECO) secured loans amounting to P22.896 million and P20.087 million, respectively. "For years, the NEA has been providing loan windows to support our electric cooperatives' funding requirements in the implementation of their various electrification projects. We hope that these loans will help our ECs further boost their bid to become operationally viable and sustainable," NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong said. Aside from the NEA, Masongsong said the ECs also avail loans from other financial institutions to fund their capEx projects towards realizing state-of-the-art, smart grid distribution system to ensure power reliability and efficiency. Loan availment by the ECs is included in the Fast-Track Lane being implemented by the NEA. The processing time is 24 working days for regular loans, and 13 days for short-term loans. ###


Power co-ops sales increase 7 percent in 2018 - NEA

16-April-2019

Electric cooperatives (ECs) across the country have reported an increase of 7 percent energy sales in 2018. The National Electrification Administration (NEA) said electricity sales of the ECs reached 21,421,471 megawatt hours (MWh) last year, compared with 19,950,097 MWh in 2017. According to the NEA Information Technology and Communication Services Department (ITCSD), this was due to 8-percent increase in consumption in Luzon and Visayas, and 6 percent in Mindanao, This follows an increase in operating revenues of the ECs in 2018 by P32.518 billion or 18 percent to P211.404 billion from the previous year's P178.886 billion. According to Engr. Roderick Padua, Manager of ITCSD, data showed Visayas registered an average increase of 22 percent in revenues, followed by Luzon and Mindanao at 17 percent. The top five ECs with the highest operating revenues were the Central Negros Electric Cooperative, Inc. (CENECO), South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative, Inc. (SOCOTECO II), Batangas II Electric Cooperative, Inc. (BATELEC II), Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ZAMCELCO) and Peninsula Electric Cooperative, Inc. (PENELCO). On the other hand, the ECs' overall system loss declined by 0.27 percent from 11.11 percent in 2017 to 10.84 percent in 2018. This translated into savings of 2,611 GWh or P25.8 billion. "While reductions were registered for Luzon at 0.50 percent and Visayas at 0.22 percent, Mindanao registered an increase of 0.14 percent," Padua said in his report. Single-digit system loss was registered in Cordillera Administrative Region, Regions III, VI, VII, VIII, X, XII and CARAGA. ###


NEA, JICA turn over boom trucks to Bangsamoro power co-ops

12-April-2019

CALACA, Batangas -- A total of 16 brand new units of boom trucks intended to improve the stability of power supply in the Bangsamoro region were turned over by the National Electrification Administration (NEA) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to six electric cooperatives (ECs) on Wednesday, April 10, 2019. The boom trucks were part of the 771-million yen grant aid provided by the Japanese government through JICA to the Philippine government for the "Project for Improvement of Equipment for Power Distribution in Bangsamoro Area," which was signed on March 30, 2017. Recipients of the project were the Basilan Electric Cooperative, Inc. (BASELCO), Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (LASURECO), Maguindanao Electric Cooperative, Inc. (MAGELCO), Siasi Electric Cooperative, Inc. (SIASELCO), Sulu Electric Cooperative, Inc. (SULECO), and Tawi-Tawi Electric Cooperative, Inc. (TAWELCO). These ECs were chosen as beneficiaries of the project due to their low electrification connection, high power distribution loss, frequent outages, old and dilapidated equipment and materials, which have affected their operational efficiencies and delivery of services to the consumers. Speaking on behalf of NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong, Deputy Administrator for Technical Services Artis Nikki Tortola said the new equipment will allow the Bangsamoro power co-ops to respond effectively and efficiently to the needs of their respective communities. The state-run agency also expressed its appreciation to the Japanese government and JICA for their generosity and continued support towards lasting peace and development in the Bangsamoro region. "We hope the six ECs will value and maximize the utilization (of the boom trucks). May this gesture of generosity be a mark of further improvement in the operation of your individual cooperative," Tortola, the project-in-charge, told the EC beneficiaries. He also admitted that the process of realizing the project was no easy feat as there were several issues, particularly on the delivery of the equipment, faced by the NEA that affected the project schedule. "The process has made it harder for the agency but we worked around the rules and regulations to ensure that the project is realized," the deputy administrator said. JICA consultant and project manager Noriyoshi Kondo from Oriental Consultants Global said the ECs will also receive other power distribution equipment and materials, such as transformers, utility poles, and electric wires as part of the project. "I sincerely hope that the provided boom trucks will be utilized properly for such a rehabilitation work, and this Japanese support will continue to the development, improvement, peacebuilding of the Bangsamoro," he said. In April 2018, the NEA tapped the Japanese firm Nishizawa Limited for the procurement of equipment and materials, such as boom trucks and transformers, for the improvement of the power distribution system of the six ECs in Mindanao. Together with JICA, the NEA led the symbolic ribbon cutting and turnover of the keys to six recipient ECs in a simple ceremony held at the headquarters of the Batangas I Electric Cooperative, Inc. (BATELEC I) in Calaca, Batangas. The activity was attended by the general managers and Board directors of six recipient ECs, and representatives from JICA, Oriental Consultants Global, Nishizawa Limited, Department of Foreign Affairs (Lipa Branch) and National Economic and Development Authority. ###


NEA to install solar hydropanels in Cobrador Island

01-April-2019

The National Electrification Administration (NEA), in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), will install solar-powered hydropanels in Cobrador Island, Romblon whose community has been deprived of access to safe drinking water for years. The agency will be deploying four (4) SOURCE Hydropanel units this April, which is part of its ongoing project with ADB to help families experiencing potable water supply problems in off-grid rural areas, especially in small islands. "This new technology can help address the inadequate infrastructure to deliver safe and clean drinking water in remote areas like Cobrador Island," Engr. Ernesto Silvano, Jr., acting department manager of the NEA Office of Renewable Energy and Development, said. The SOURCE Hydropanel, developed by US-based Zero Mass Water, Inc. (ZMW), extracts water vapor from the air into a proprietary absorbent material. The collected water from the hydropanels flows into a reservoir where it is mineralized with calcium and magnesium "for health and taste benefits." On average, each hydropanel unit can produce five liters of water per day. This means four SOURCE Hydropanel units can yield about 20 liters of water a day. Cobrador is under the franchise area of the Romblon Electric Cooperative, Inc. (ROMELCO). Also known as “Naguso Island,” it currently does not have a desalination plant that can turn saltwater into drinking water for the daily consumption of its community. Barangay captain Juan Dela Cruz said they only use well water or rainwater collected from their rooftop gutters for bathing and laundry, but clean drinking water is transported from the mainland, a 45-minute boat ride. "Noon, ang source namin ng inuming-tubig 'yung ulan. Buti na lang ngayon nauso na 'yung mineral water pero noon talaga kahit maalat-alat 'yung tubig, iniinom na, kasi no choice," the 65-year-old village chief said. Islanders pay P45 per four-gallon container of water used for drinking and cooking. The amount is twice the price in the Romblon mainland. Those who cannot afford a container of potable water are left with no choice but to use rainwater for drinking and cooking. Water from deep wells is unfit for consumption due to high salinity from saltwater. Engr. Rene Fajilagutan, general manager of ROMELCO, believes that the island's water woes is still solvable. "It can be solved, especially that there are technologies readily available," he said, adding that solar energy can also help solve the problem. At present, Cobrador has 30-kilowatt solar hybrid power generation system that supplies cleaner and affordable round-the-clock electricity to the community of 257 households. ROMELCO is already planning to augment its capacity. SOURCE Hydropanels were also deployed in areas covered by the Agusan del Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc., Bohol Electric Cooperative, Inc., Davao del Norte Electric Cooperative, Inc., Davao del Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc., First Bukidnon Electric Cooperative, Inc., Pangasinan I Electric Cooperative, Inc., and Samar I Electric Cooperative, Inc. ###


NEA calls for dialogue between DOE, ECs to resolve issues

05-March-2019

The National Electrification Administration (NEA) has called for dialogue between the electric cooperatives (ECs) and the Department of Energy (DOE) to find a mutually acceptable resolution to rural electrification policy issues. NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong's statement came a day after the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association, Inc. (PHILRECA), the umbrella group of 121 ECs in the country, called for the resignation of Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi over alleged "abuse of power." In a statement issued on Tuesday (March 5), Masongsong emphasized the crucial role the energy sector plays in a rapidly developing country with a growing population, workforce, and economy. "Recognizing this, the 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan states that one of the strategies to provide our people with 'matatag, maginhawa, at panatag na buhay' is accelerating infrastructure development––a key area of which is to develop the energy sector, specifically to 'encourage competition to drive down electricity costs; ensure efficient transmission of electricity various load centers and interconnect the entire grid; and prioritize provision of electricity services to the remaining unelectrified off-grid, island, remote, and last-mile communities',” he said. "It is in this context that the National Electrification Administration calls on the leaders of our electric cooperatives and the officials of the Department of Energy to engage in a dialogue and find bases of unity and work together to reconcile their respective policy positions on issues that are relevant to an industry that affects the lives of 104 million Filipinos," he added. As such, Masongsong urged both PHILRECA and DOE to resolve differences through a constructive dialogue. "Differences of opinion are part and parcel of any vibrant and dynamic democracy. But the developed democracies in the world have shown us that the path to prosperity lies in the ability of a nation's leaders to sit down and work for the collective welfare of people they have sworn to serve. It is my hope that the DOE and our ECs can do the same," the NEA chief said. Recently, PHILRECA passed a resolution declaring Secretary Cusi "persona non-grata," and calling for his immediate resignation over what they claimed "biases and pre-conceived negative notions against electric cooperatives, preference to private for-profit corporations, and abuse of power." The group likewise pointed out Secretary Cusi's "lack of genuine knowledge regarding rural electrification and cooperativism, and failure to recognize the success and gains of rural electrification and development not just because of the government through the National Electrification Administration but most especially because of electric cooperatives commissioned and considered implementing arm of the government." The resignation call follows the initial endorsement of Secretary Cusi last January 11 to the House of Representatives through Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo the cancellation of franchises of 17 ECs, but eventually withdrawn such recommendation. In expressing its opposition, PHILRECA described the move to cancel the franchises of 17 power co-ops as unjust and biased and was done without prior consultation with the concerned ECs. At the same time, the group said the recommendation has put the EC sector in a negative light. ###


NEA to DOE, Congress: ‘Let the electric cooperatives live’

04-March-2019

At the risk of sounding like it is moving towards a different direction, the National Electrification Administration (NEA) officially called on the leaderships of both Houses of Congress and the Department of Energy (DOE) to keep the existence of electric cooperatives (ECs) in the country. NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong made the appeal in an interview aired over the weekend on People’s Television (PTV-4), where he discussed at length the crucial role of non-profit distribution utilities in the continuing implementation of the rural electrification program. “I request the government, especially the Congress and the Department of Energy to revisit their position; to give chance to the electric cooperatives because, at the end of the day, these electric cooperatives are products of a program of the government, the rural electrification program, which for the last 50 years have succeeded in energizing the country,” Masongsong said. This categorical statement comes on the heels of the controversial endorsement of DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi for the revocation of the franchises of 17 ECs to House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, which, although it was later on withdrawn, has unnecessarily put the entire rural electrification sector in a negative light. Masongsong clarified that the NEA did not submit the list for those ECs to be put on the chopping block, but only to inform the DOE—its mother agency—of their current status of operations amid recent allegations of inefficiency. “In fairness sa DOE Secretary, meron tayong sinubmit na listahan of 17 electric cooperatives on their status as electric cooperatives, status of their operations… But, for the record, I did not recommend (the revocation of their franchises),” he said. Masongsong reiterated that out of the 121 ECs currently operating in the country, only 10 are considered ‘ailing’—either they are financially bankrupt or technically incompetent—but the NEA is doing everything in its power to help turn them around. He cited as example the case of Camarines Sur III Electric Cooperative, Inc. (CASURECO-III), which used to swim in over a billion of debts, but has since improved when the NEA stepped in to initiate some reforms. “Kasama ang CASURECO-III (doon) sa 17, pero mula ‘nung tinakeover natin as early as January 2017, (it has improved). Dati may utang na P1.2-billion, ngayon P584-million na lang. Ibig sabihin, nagawa natin ang trabaho natin,” Masongsong explained. Echoing recent media reports, he said the remaining debts of the once troubled co-op has been eased through a special payment agreement with the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation. This is on top of the P624-million loan CASURECO-III secured from the Development Bank of the Philippines to help improve its services. “Nagpirmahan na ng kontrata. Ibig sabihin ngayon ang electric cooperative na ‘yan ay bankable dahil viable na siya. Dati ‘nung tinakeover namin ang revenue nasa P60-million (lang), ngayon almost P100-million a month (na),” the administrator noted. As an attached agency of the DOE, the NEA continues to abide by the direction of Cusi in the Energy Family under the current administration insofar as achieving the total electrification objective is concerned, Masongsong said. For that to happen, the national government must consciously recognize the significant contributions of the ECs and their member-consumer-owners on rural development and its impact on nation-building. Masongsong explained that when he assumed the NEA leadership, he has fashioned his 7-point electrification agenda precisely to help the Duterte administration achieve its ‘Ambisyon Natin’ 2040 policy statement. The former EC general manager and party-list representative emphasized that sustainable rural development does not happen only by lighting up the last mile of households, but by ensuring that communities in these areas no longer suffer from abject poverty due to political insurgency, among other concerns. “The rural electrification program is not over until the farthest households and villages have been energized and it won’t be because our targets are constantly moving. Rural electrification is about sustainable social and economic development. We have to keep working,” Masongsong said in a separate statement. ###


NEA Power Task Force Election 2019 formed

28-February-2019

The National Electrification Administration (NEA) has created a task force that will ensure the adequate and reliable power supply in areas covered by electric cooperatives (ECs) before, during and after the May 13, 2019 National and Local Elections. NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong recently issued Office Order No. 2019-033, establishing the "NEA Power Task Force Election 2019." This is in compliance to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Resolution No.10471 deputizing, among others, the NEA in connection with the conduct of the May 13 National and Local Elections. As provided for in the resolution, the NEA is commissioned to "provide and maintain stable and continuous nationwide electric power requirements from the start of voting, until the termination or conclusion of the canvassing of votes and the proclamation of the winning candidates." In a statement, Administrator Masongsong emphasized the critical value of electricity service in the conduct of elections. "The upcoming elections will utilize power-dependent technologies and requires reliable delivery of electricity service. The NEA, as Comelec's partner agency, will ensure that the conduct of the polls and post-election activities are smooth, unhampered and secure," the NEA chief said. The NEA Power Task Force Election 2019 is composed of the Engineering Department, Disaster Risk Reduction Management Department (DRRMD), Corporate Communications and Social Marketing Office (CCSMO), Information Technology and Communication Services Department (ITCSD), and Human Resources and Administration Department (HRAD). It will be overseen by Deputy Administrator for Technical Services Engr. Artis Nikki Tortola. Meanwhile, Engineering Department manager Engr. Ferdinand Villareal and DRRM acting department manager Engr. Federico Villar, Jr. are assigned as the overall team leader and assistant overall team leader, respectively. The task force shall render 24-hour operation to help ensure that the electric cooperatives will provide adequate and reliable electric power in their respective coverage areas before, during, and immediately after the May 13 National and Local Elections. ###


NEA, DICT urge power co-ops, cable operators, and telcos to collaborate to expedite NBP rollout

17-February-2019

Electric cooperatives (ECs) are urged to form partnerships with cable television service providers and telecommunication companies to advance the government's National Broadband Plan (NBP), which aims to "significantly" improve the internet service in the country. Speaking at the NBP forum at the Grand Meng Seng Hotel in Davao City on February 15, Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio, Jr. of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said the collaboration would not only advance the program, but would also "benefit all parties and stakeholders." Rio pushed for the "convergence" of all industry stakeholders specifically the local cable television operators, electric cooperatives and telecommunication companies, not only to settle existing concerns among themselves, but to create more opportunities to help the government realize the goal of "inclusivity in the access to interconnectivity." "With the NBP, we hope to create a new class of OFWs, not the kind who need to leave the country for jobs abroad. Soon, as online trade and businesses flourish along with English language teachers for our Asian neighbors, Online Filipino Workers will rise and contribute more to the economy," the DICT chief said. Cognizant of the prevailing issues among co-ops and cable tv operators indirectly affecting the implementation of the NBP in the rural areas, NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong urged all parties to "approach the issues with eyes opened to the opportunities the NBP offers, and with the good of the greater number in mind." "Interconnectivity will open doors of opportunity for our people. You should not allow the issues between you to drag the NBP down. The good of the greater number is bigger than what besets you," the NEA Chief told those in attendance. Masongsong also echoed the call of DICT for convergence among stakeholders as "the EPIRA Law allows for more elbow room for electric cooperatives to enter into partnerships and collaborative engagements with other industry participants." The NBP forum organized by the NEA was attended by Mindanao-based co-ops, cable operators, and representatives from DC Tech and other local technology providers for the remote metering, billing and teleconferencing needs of electric cooperatives in Mindanao and some parts of Luzon. It was aimed to provide a platform for ECs to discuss and address issues related to the implementation of the "last mile" of the program. Also present during the forum were NEA Deputy Administrator Nikki Artis Tortola, Engr. Roderick Padua, manager of the NEA Information Technology and Communication Services Department (ITCSD), DICT Assistant Secretaries Ivin Ronald Alzona and Alan Silor, and Project Manager Alona Isidro. Rhett Roswell Mislang of the Energy Regulatory Commission was also there to provide valuable insights on the emerging developments on the NBP and their implications on the regulatory environment. On August 17, 2018, DICT, NEA and the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association, Inc. (PHILRECA) entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) "to realize the objectives of the NBP, including but not limited to the co-use of fiber optic cables." Under the agreement, the NEA and PHILRECA will coordinate with the ECs regarding the NBP project. The DICT, on the other hand, will be allowed to access the ECs' existing nodes so that it may link with other government agencies. On June 8, 2018, the DICT, in its tripartite agreement with the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and the National Transmission Corp. (TransCo), was given the right to use their dark fiber network. ###