Users’ Training for SOLARES Partner Electric Cooperatives on Open Data Kit (ODK)

The activity was facilitated by the EU-funded SOLARES project on July 3, at SOCOTECO II, General Santos City. Mr. Armel Adanza from SOCOTECO II delivered the welcoming and opening remarks. Mr. Adanza thanked the Mahintana team for the ODK training, and he himself saw the possible improvements as a result of adapting the software and how to accomplish Window 1, and to the whole process: from gathering data through a survey of the area for potential beneficiaries. In connection to the activity, Mr. Adanza also announced the 13 Millionth Consumer Connection on July 12, which also be attended by the President of the Republic of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte. Participants from SOCOTECO II and SUKELCO attended the training. Mr. Jobe Tubigon, SOLARES project manager first gave an overview of the SOLARES project and followed with a demonstration of the KoboCollect android application on his phone casted to the laptop and through a projection. The demonstration included filling up a sample form provided by Engr. Jomar Sevillano, PEE from SUKELCO.

The participants threw several questions regarding the content of the survey and up to the retrieval of data; possible cases or concerns they or other users might encounter. Mr. Tubigon addressed these concerns and questions as he carried on the training. Tutorials were distributed to the participants; some installed the Kobocollect app on their phones while some were in charge of preparing a sample form to be filled up later that day. Participants stepped outside the room when filling up their forms (in order to capture their current location). Towards the end of the training, Mr. Crisanto Sotelo, SOCOTECO II General Manager, delivered the closing remarks.

SOLARES Courtesy Calls to Target Barangays in Kiamba

Courtesy Call with the Barangay Secretary of Tambilil, Allan Lik

On June 10, 2019, the SOLARES Project Team went to Kiamba, Sarangani Province for a courtesy call with the MPDO regarding the status of the enumerators. According to Irish Joy Hingpit, an MPDO Staff, she was able to idenity nine enumerators and another three new enumerators wil be possibly on the team. She was uncertain of the three new enumerators as they are a new addition to the team and has no prior experience relating to conducting surverys on off-grid areas. The team also had courtesy calls with the barangay captains and/or representatives of Maligang, Gasi and Lomuyon. On the next day, June 11, the Project Team, conducted courtesy calls with Badtasan, Kapate, Nalus, Tablao, Tamadang and Tambilil.

In general, the Project Team was able to gain support from the barangays. The barangay captains and kagawads were thankful of the said opportunity as it will help their community members in the far-flung areas and they, in turn, will provide whatever assistance they can to aid the project team during implementation.

SOLARES Demonstration to Partner Micro-finance Institutions and Courtesy Calls with Lebak and Kalamansig MPDO

Engr. Jose Jerry Tayactac, explaining the electrification component of the project to the KIMEMCO Chair and Board Members

The SOLARES Project Team, together with Shunie Pearl Palacaios, PEF Area Officer headed off to Maasim, Sarangani for a meeting with Sta. Cruz MPC on May 27. Miss Palacios proceeded with her presentation, which included the background of their organization, how it began, its assets, their banner crops, their mode of support and the interest rates.

On May 28, 2019, the team attended a meeting at Lebak, Sultan Kudarat with the General Manager and Board Members of Bacbacan MPC. Ms. Palacios proceeded with her presentation of PEF and its background including the livelihood mechanism of the SOLARES Project. She also explained that PEF does not limit their support to their banner crops, 4Cs (cacao, coconut, coffee and cane sugar) and that they will support other crops given that it is the major source of income of the farmers operating with the cooperative’s area. The meeting went smoothly and it was agreed that more intricate concerns/matters will be discussed on the 31st together with other partner MFIs within SOLARES project area.

In the afternoon of the same day, the team went to Lebak MPDO to ask for updates regarding the CBMS CSV file acquisition request. The team then also went to Kalamansig MPDO for the same agenda it had with the Lebak MPDO.

On May 29, the team went to Kiamba, Sarangani for a meeting with KIMEMCO Chair and Board Members. Miss Palacios reiterated that the project will observe the 60,000 euro limit to partner MFIs as it was the only viable option as of the moment as per EU’s response. Miss Palacios’ presentation (livelihood) was followed with a presentation from Engr. Tayactac regarding the electrification component of the project. 

The team then headed off to Maitum, Sarangani for another meeting with the PAMULCO (Pangi Multi-Purpose Cooperative). The team was able to meet and discuss with PAMULCO General Manger, Ronald Briones, the electrification and livelihood components of the SOLARES Project.

SOLARES Courtesy calls to selected barangays in Maasim, Sarangani

On April 29-30, 2019, the SOLARES project team visited selected barangays with potential households beneficiaries at Maa,sim for a courtesy call; these were Kamanga, Bales, Kablacan, Amsipit, Lumatil, Nomoh, Lumasal, Kanalo, and Panang. The team gave prior notice regarding the household survey, validation, and project orientation in the different sitios or puroks of the selected areas starting on May 2, 2019.

Engr. Mohammad Alver Amanoddin presents to Mrs. Mary Jane Tabalao, Brgy. Secretary of Brgy. Nomoh

All barangays conveyed their support to the project and allowed the team along with the enumerators to conduct profiling in their respective sitios/puroks.

SOLARES takes part in Kiamba ABC Meeting

Mr. John Tindoy demos the SHS unit.

SOLARES project staff, led by SOLARES Project Manager, Mr. Jobe Tubigon along with SOCOTECOII SBU representative, Mr. John Tindoy, joined the ABC meeting in Kiamba attended by barangay captains of Kiamba, Sarangani Province.

After the presentation of the SOLARES Project to the ABC committee, Mr. Tindoy demonstrated and explained the basic operation of the Solar Home System (SHS) unit to the barangay captains which includes the charging, capacity, loading system and the maintenance of the SHS unit. He also added that the project beneficiaries will automatically become members of SOCOTECO II and are entitled to all the benefits provided by the electronic cooperative.

One of the barangay captains, Capt. Melanie Balanag raised a concern if the households along the coastal areas can also avail of the SHS unit due to the on-grid electrification prohibited by SOCOTECO II along that area. Mr. Tindoy explained the concerns of an on-grid electrification along the coast which includes soil quality and the risks of electrocution. He will be raising the said issue at their own staff meeting.

Barangay captains of Kiamba, Sarangani Province gave a positive response in the SHS Project. They will provide assistance to help in project implementation.

In the afternoon, the team headed to Maasim, Sarangani Province. The project was briefly introduced and demonstrated to ABC President, Alladin Tambingag and to Maasim Mayor, Uttoh Salem Cutan.

Mayor Cutan was very positive about the project especially on the project’s livelihood component. He discussed how far-flung barangays in Maasim would greatly benefit, Maasim farmers have to haul and process their products within the municipality proper  because of the lack of processing equipment and electricity on the remote barangays.

SOLARES Courtesy Calls: MLGUs Kiamba & Maitum, PAMULCO

On March 22, 2019, the SOLARES project staff visited Kiamba, Sarangani to meet and discuss with MLGU Kiamba. The SOLARES team introduced the project including the project framework and the target beneficiaries, 10 barangays and tentatively 680 target households within Kiamba.

Councilor Jeric Santillana mentioned that a previous project with SOCOTECOII and the government, failed to continue due to issues in land permit and right of way. Unfortunately, households in Datu Dani already paid for the said service. Posts, cables, and all other necessary materials were procured but the project was put to a halt.

Mr. Antonio Yasana mentioned that most barangays in Kiamba are already energized; he provided a list of possible beneficiaries including households in Nalus, Green Valley, Badtasan, Banate and Salakit. Mr. Yasana also invited the team to the Kiamba ABC meeting on April 1, 2019 to further introduce SOLARES to the barangay captains and gauge their interests on the project.

SB Secretary and KIMEMCO Chairperson, Ms. Jane Rojas expressed interest in the project and was pleased that Kiamba was chosen as one of the beneficiaries. Due to her interest in Tableau, which is a software for interactive data visualizations, it was agreed that Mahintana would introduce Tableau to the cooperative, in return, they would share their CBMS file which will aid the project in determining viable beneficiaries.

On the afternoon of the same day, the team headed off to Maitum, Sarangani to meet with the LGUs and discuss/introduce the project to them.

At Maitum on the same day, Maitum MLGOO Mr. Rodolfo Jerez mentioned that the project will be helpful in the remote areas of Maitum, especially in Batian and Zion. It could improve the quality of life in the areas. He expressed his willingness to help Mahintana Foundation, Inc. in any way he can.

Maitum Municipal Administrator Mr. Ruben Balanag was also pleased that Maitum was one of the beneficiaries of the project, reaching about 890 households. He welcomed Mahintana to Maitum and added that he can offer police assistance to Mahintana when conducting site visits.

SOLARES Courtesy Calls: MLGUs Kalamansig and Lebak

SOLARES project officers headed to Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat at 3:00 A.M. on March 19, 2019 to meet and discuss with Kalamansig mayor Hon. Ronan Eugene Garcia at 10:00 A.M. Meeting agenda was the introduction of the SOLARES Project to Hon. Garcia including the project framework and the target beneficiaries, which included three barangays and tentatively 1020 target households within Kalamansig.

Hon. Garcia raised his concerns with the project’s specific recipients. There are GIDAs or Geographically Isolated and Disadvantaged Areas in Kalamansig. These communities do not use any lighting at all during nighttime. Furthermore, these communities may not be capable of paying the monthly fee. The team clarified that the payment was for the project’s sustainability and maintenance. There will also be an initial ODK profiling, to identify eligible recipients. It was agreed that the team will return along with a representative from SUKELCO to further discuss the viable target areas.

Brgy. Capt. Albaladeso asked if it would be possible for the barangay halls and schools to be SHS recipients as this would seem atypical for households being energized while barangays are not. Apparently, this shall be clarified with SUKELCO first since the intention of SOLARES is to become a part of the electrification program of  the electric cooperative.

Hon. Ronan Eugene Garcia, Kalamansig Mayor; Ms. Ma. Alma Engcong, MLGOO Kalamansig; Mr. Victor Albaladeso, LIGA President, and SOLARES project officers discuss the SOLARES project.

In the afternoon, the team was scheduled to meet with LGU Lebak. with Lebak Administrative Officer Mr. Rusty Vilo. Mr. Vilo conveyed his support to the project and expressed his gratitude that Lebak was chosen as one of the target municipalities. He also shared about a previous solar-related project which awarded SHS units to certain communities after a one-time payment was uninformed the status of said project.