DSWD, CDO power firm expand assistance to 19K beneficiaries

By Nef Luczon

February 16, 2024, 7:14 pm

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The Department of Social Welfare and Development in Northern Mindanao (DSWD-10) and the power distribution firm here launched an expanded program for 19,013 indigent residents on Friday.

Oliver Inodeo, focal person for DSWD-10 Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), said its partnership with Cagayan de Oro Power and Light Company, Inc. (Cepalco) is part of its Lifeline Rate Power Aid Program.

"Eligible beneficiaries come from our 4Ps list, but it's also open to other [non-4Ps beneficiaries]," he said in an interview.

Inodeo noted that the Department of Energy will provide funding to subsidize the utility bills of the beneficiaries.

DSWD-10 and Cepalco's initiative follow the updated guidelines under Republic Act 11552, which extends and enhances the implementation of the Lifeline Rate, amending Section 73 of Republic Act No. 9136, also known as the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001.

The revised law identifies eligible beneficiaries as those enrolled in the cash transfer program 4Ps and living below the poverty threshold, as certified by the local social welfare development office with guidelines set by the Philippine Statistics Authority.

Previously, households or establishments consuming less than 100 kilowatts per hour automatically qualified for the subsidy.

The new guidelines aim to extend support to a broader range of eligible recipients.

As of Friday, only 300 4Ps beneficiaries and 185 non-4Ps poor households have registered as qualified marginalized end-users with Cepalco.

Kenneth Haze Lustre, 4Ps regional program coordinator, said eligible beneficiaries must apply through private distribution utilities like Cepalco and Tagoloan town in Misamis Oriental. (PNA)