Personal and professional lives are changed in Malabog thanks to electricity

AboitizPower and Davao Light’s Sitio Electrification Program Update

Thanks to electricity access, Cresel is now able to sell frozen goods at her sari-sari store and offer her neighbors access to a videoke machine. (Photos by Mark Perandos)

Cresel Hapay, a 44-year-old barangay health worker in Barangay Malabog, used to have a hard time charging her mobile device. Back then, her community, Sitio Quarry, had no access to a reliable power supply.

“Ning-abot pa tong time nga ipadala nako akong cellphone sa sentro sa Malabog aron ma-charge. Ipadala nako sa estudyante gikan sa amo,” Cresel recalled.

(There was a time when I had to ask my student neighbors to bring my phone to the barangay center to charge it.)

Aside from incurring charging costs billed by the barangay, this inconvenient situation limited her phone use, even when her work required her to have an open line for communication, especially during emergencies.

Cresel can now charge her phone anytime and work on her reports in the nighttime after her home was connected to the grid through Davao Light’s contribution to the Sitio Electrification Program. (Photos by Mark Perandos)

“Depende sa baterya kung unsa ka kadugay ma-low-batt. Maong i-off dayon nako human og gamit para makatipid sa baterya. Unya usahay kung matimingan nga naay emergency, sa silingan na lang namo sila mu-contact kung lowbatt o naka-off akong cellphone,” she explained.

(The duration of my phone battery’s life depends on its capacity. To conserve my phone battery’s life, I turn it off immediately after use. In emergencies, if my phone is low on battery or turned off, they contact me through my neighbors.)

For 24 years, Cresel and her family also had to rely on either a lamparilla (gas lamp) or solar lamps provided by the barangay for lighting their house at night. While the latter extended their illuminated hours in the evenings, its capabilities remained limited, having to rely on whether the day had good weather for it to charge sufficiently.

Cresel can now charge her phone anytime and work on her reports in the nighttime after her home was connected to the grid through Davao Light’s contribution to the Sitio Electrification Program. (Photos by Mark Perandos)

As a result, her three children had limited time to study after dark and Cresel and her husband could only manage a few evening chores. For the family, the simple pleasures of radio, television, and karaoke were luxuries they could not enjoy at home.

Without electricity, Cresel also had to make her work reports using their unreliable lamps.
“Kasagaran gyud ginauli nako ang trabaho sa pagbuhat og report sa balay. Kay kung didto sa center, naa may mga pasyente nga atimanun. Unya naga-area pud ko. Galibot ko sa assigned nako nga mga purok,” Cresel said.

(I usually bring home my work of making reports because I cannot do it at the center where there are patients to take care of, and I also have scheduled area visits in the zones I am assigned to.)
Reports are crucial in monitoring the community’s health status. Cresel’s field surveys and barangay health center activities constitute a vital part of her work as a barangay health worker.

Thanks to electricity access, Cresel is now able to sell frozen goods at her sari-sari store and offer her neighbors access to a videoke machine. (Photos by Mark Perandos)

“Katong wala pay kuryente maglisod ko og buhat og reports [sa gabii]. Kung muhangin mapalong ang suga sa lamparilla. Sa solar pud, kung walay adlaw, hinay pud ang charge sa baterya unya kadali ra ang siga sa suga. Maong lahi ra gyud kung naay kuryente kay permanente na ang hayag,” Cresel shared.

(Before we had electricity, it was difficult for me to make my reports at night. When the wind blew, the lamp would go out. Without sunlight, the solar battery hardly charged, and our solar light could only stay on for a short time. Having electricity now makes a significant difference because we always have light.)

With the Davao Light Power Company Inc.’s recent electrification projects in the area, Cresel has been able to serve her family and community better. The electrification of her home last year, facilitated by the Sitio Electrification Program (SEP), has significantly eased her difficulties.

The SEP is a project of the Department of Energy in partnership with the National Electrification Administration. It is one of the government’s priority programs for economic development and poverty reduction, aiming for 100% electrification in the Philippines. In places like Malabog in Davao City and Panabo, Davao del Norte, the SEP is effectively implemented by Davao Light, an Aboitiz Power Corporation (AboitizPower) subsidiary.

Davao Light, the country’s third-largest electric distribution utility, holds the franchise for supplying power to the cities of Davao and Panabo, as well as the municipalities of Carmen, Dujali, and Sto. Tomas in Davao del Norte.

Malabog resident Cresel Hapay fully appreciates the benefits of having electricity, especially when she exercises her roles as a barangay health worker, a small business owner, and a mother. (Photo by Mark Perandos)

With Davao Light connecting Cresel’s house to the power grid, she expects her life, as well as the community’s, to be much easier.

“Dako gyud kaayong tabang ang kuryente labo na sa communication nako [isip usa ka BHW] . Sa una, maglimit ko sa time pagmagtawag para dili dayon malow-batt. Karon kung nay mga emergency, makacontact dayon ko kay permanente man full ang baterya sa akong cellphone,” Cresel said.

(Having electricity has greatly helped me, particularly in my communication needs as a barangay health worker. I used to limit my time with calls so my phone wouldn’t drain its battery fast. Now, I can easily make calls, especially during emergencies, since my phone is always fully charged.)

Assured that the power supply is available, Cresel also purchased a freezer to sell ice packs, iced candies, and other frozen goods in her sari-sari store. Additionally, with a business partner, she also bought a coin-operated videoke machine to serve as another source of income.

Thanks to electricity access, Cresel is now able to sell frozen goods at her sari-sari store and offer her neighbors access to a videoke machine. (Photos by Mark Perandos)

“Thank you kaayo sa AboitizPower ug sa Davao Light sa paghatag diri og kuryente. Dakong tabang sa amo. Maski mukusog pa ang hangin, dili na mi mapalungan og suga, ‘di pareho sa lamparilla. Nakahatag pud og kalipay sa among komunidad kay kung naa miy mga activities, makapatugtog mi gamit ang among sound system ug makapasuga mi kay naa na may kuryente,” Cresel said.

(Thank you very much AboitizPower and Davao Light for providing us with electricity. It is such a huge help to us. Unlike gas lamps, our electric lights will not blow out in the wind. Having electricity has brought joy to the community. We can host activities with music from our sound systems and conduct community events at night with electric lights.)

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