DOE urged to fix electric poles obstructing road widening works

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 20 2020 12:34 PM | Updated as of Oct 20 2020 01:18 PM

Electric posts obstructing widened roads. Photo: Office of Senator Sherwin Gatchalian

MANILA - The National Electrification Administration under the Energy Department on Tuesday was ordered by lawmakers to present an "actionable plan" to address electric poles in the middle of roads which render road widening projects "useless."

Widened roads with electric poles are obstructing traffic and become parking lots or vendor areas. They can also cause accidents at night, Senators Sherwin Gatchalian and Franklin Drilon said during the budget hearing of the Department of Energy.

"It made the road widening actually useless because the poles of electric utilities are virtually in the middle of the widened road," Gatchalian said. 

Drilon lectured the National Electrification Administration for giving little attention to the problem, which he said could have been "funded" and "solved" easily when a plan is presented.

NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong said there were existing joint circulars with the Department of Public Works and Highways where the DPWH was supposed to fund the relocation of electric posts. 

The problem, Drilon said, exists nationwide with posts owned by electric cooperatives and utility distributors.

"I don’t think this is that difficult to finish (in a shorter period) but I would therefore conclude that the attention is not that sufficient in order to solve this problem at a faster rate," Drilon said.

"It is a serious concern and I would like to see a more definite program," he added.

Every road widening project has funds for electric pole relocation, however, the NEA and the DPHW lack proper coordination, Gatchalian said.

The NEA should submit their "actionable plan" within 10 days or face a possible deferment of their budget, Drilon added.

Masongsong said the agency would submit their existing plan to the Senate. 

-- with a report from Robert Mano, ABS-CBN News