SAN MARCELINO, Zambales (Xinhua) – It’s a double celebration for Jaderick Castillo, 12, and some other 1,000 residents of a village of this town in Zambales.
On June 7, which marked a beloved traditional festival in China, the Dragon Boat Festival, a Chinese-funded solar project lit up Baliwet, a mountain village in this town, about 190 km northwest of Manila. Electricity supply finally arrived at this remote village.
The Chinese staff working for the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) brought children who live in Baliwet dozens of zongzi, the sticky rice dumplings served during the annual Dragon Boat Festival and they tasted traditional Chinese food for the first time.
It was a brand new experience for the children and the whole village to have electricity, produced by solar stations donated by Chinese company SGCC.
The solar project not only brightens up the remote village, but also offers a ray of hope to the poor villagers who have no access to electricity for decades and depended solely on kerosene gas lamps and batteries to power their TV sets and flashlights.
Due to its remoteness, no local power company is willing to invest in Baliwet. Villagers had to travel several kilometers to town to charge their mobile phones.
As part of the closer ties between China and the Philippines, SGCC signed in Baliwet a memorandum of agreement in January with the Philippine National Electrification Administration (NEA) and the Zambales II Electric Cooperative (Zameco II) for the solar project.
Under the deal, SGCC’s “Brighten Up” project would install a solar panel system for Zameco II, capable of delivering power to over 1,000 residents including two schools with 108 students in the village. The project, which will be officially finished at the end of June, is hoped to lift the villagers out of poverty and lead them to a bright future.
According to Liu Ming, the deputy chief representative of SGCC Philippine Office, the “Brighten Up” project is the first charitable project independently launched by a Chinese-funded enterprise in the Philippines.
“The power supply project uses solar micro-grid to provide centralized power with a power generation capacity of 76kW and a battery storage capacity of 390 kWh. It basically meets the day-to-day needs of the villagers,” he told Xinhua.
Liu said the “Brighten Up” project “is one that evolves as it does not stop at simply installing the power supply.”
“It provides long-term operation, maintenance and interactive exchanges, enabling everyone to continue to build relationships that strengthen the human spirit.”