MARAWI CITY — In this war-torn city striving to get back on its feet, having a stable supply of electricity brings families like that of 34-year-old Riza Lagumbay a step closer to having a normal life again.
“I was so thankful that there was already electricity when we first came to Sarimanok,” Lagumbay said when she learned that she and her children will be temporarily housed at the Sarimanok Tent City.
Lagumbay was one of the 200,000 residents affected by five months of fighting between the government and the Daesh-inspired Maute gunmen in 2017. Her house and their neighborhood were within the main battle area in Marawi and were destroyed at the height of the firefight.
Lagumbay escaped along with many other Marawi residents who, for the next few months, lived in evacuation centers in the nearby city of Iligan.
In April this year, the government transferred the evacuees to the Sarimanok Tent City in Marawi as they awaited the completion of the reconstruction of their homes.
“I was nervous at first because I thought the temporary shelter will not have electricity,” Lagumbay said.
To her surprise, she found that Sarimanok Tent City has a stable supply of electricity.
Lagumbay said normalcy was restored in their lives, albeit not completely. She was able to open a small store inside the tent city where she sells candies and other goods. Nights have become a little more comfortable with an electric fan. A small laptop loaded with fun videos and games also helps them forget their present problems.
On cold nights, a small light bulb hanging above their small wooden bed provides warmth to the whole family.
“The electricity provides our lives with some comfort,” Lagumbay said, adding how thankful she is to LASURECO for meeting their energy needs.
LASURECO chief of operations Abdul Aziz Datu said Lagumbay should be thankful to AboitizPower subsidiaries, Davao Light and Power Company, Inc. and Cotabato Light and Power Company, not to LASURECO..
Datu said this would not have been possible without the intervention of AboitizPower. LASURECO had nothing until AboitizPower donated distribution transformers, poles, and electrical supplies to them on February 12, 2018.
He said they were able to provide electricity to 42 barangays and temporary shelters like the Sarimanok Tent City using the transformers, poles, and electrical equipment donated by the Aboitiz group.
Datu said the fighting left the entire Marawi City with damaged electric poles and all their transformers stolen.
“LASURECO was down until Davao Light came along with the donation. We are now slowly able to get back [up],” Datu added.
LASURECO collected about PhP 11.6 million last October, soon after they were able to stabilize the supply of electricity.
The Aboitiz Group commits to donate to LASURECO a total of PhP 5.6 million worth of transformers, electric poles, wirings and supplies in two tranches to help the city restore its power supply. The first delivery worth PhP 3.7 million was made last Feb. 12, 2018.
No less than Aboitiz Equity Ventures (AEV) chief operating officer Sabin Aboitiz led the ceremonial turnover of the documents for the second batch of equipment and supplies amounting to PhP 1.9 million last Nov 8.
“The Aboitiz Group is committed to always lend a helping hand to our fellow Filipinos who are in need of prompt assistance. At the heart of the support we give and driven by the value of responsibility, we make sure that our programs are the kind of assistance that would make a significant impact on the lives of displaced Maranaos,” Aboitiz said.
Task Force Bangon Marawi Chief Eduardo del Rosario, who was there to witness the turn-over of new equipment to LASURECO, said the donation is timely.
“Electricity always brings back a sense of normalcy,” Del Rosario said.