On June 16, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator for Asia Michael Schiffer awarded more than Php65 million ($1.16 million) in grants to support energy security and conservation in the provinces of Cagayan and Isabela as part of his visit to the Philippines from June 15 to 18.
Recipient organizations are USAID’s Filipino partners Tri-Sky Inc. and the Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation.
Provided under USAID’s Php1.6 billion ($34 million) Energy Secure Philippines program, the grants will support local energy planning and the installation of renewable energy technologies, such as solar roofing and nano generators in the province. With greater energy access, Cagayan and Isabela’s remote communities can better prepare for and recover from natural disasters. Communities surrounding the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement sites in Lallo and Santa Ana will also benefit from the grants.
“USAID understands that energy is the foundation for systems such as banking, telecommunications, digital platforms, health, education, and transport, among other services,” Assistant Administrator Schiffer said. “We look forward to partnering with the Philippines to provide greater access to sustainable energy in remote communities, increasing prosperity for families across the country.”
In partnership with the Mabuwaya Foundation and the Agta Indigenous Peoples community at Sitio Golden Valley in Barangay San Mariano, Assistant Administrator Schiffer also launched the “From Ridge to River” project. Through this project, USAID will work with local communities, partners, and government officials to conserve forests in northern Sierra Madre.
“This launch is an important step toward preserving the natural beauty and ecological balance of the region, and we are proud to be part of it,” said Assistant Administrator Schiffer.
During his time in the Philippines, Assistant Administrator Schiffer also spoke at the Asian Development Bank’s annual Asia Clean Energy Forum in Manila and visited a USAID-supported drug rehabilitation program in Mandaluyong City.
Additionally, he traveled to Palawan, where he toured the Puerto Princesa Subter-ranean River National Park; visited a waste collection and sorting site; sat with civil society organizations to discuss concerns over illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone; and visited the BRP Teresa Magbanua to learn about the Philippine Coast Guard’s protection of marine resources in Philippine waters.| – USE/BNN