by Maila Ager, 10 April 2015
from Philippine Daily Inquirer
A bill mandating the installation of solar panels in public elementary and high school buildings nationwide where electricity is not available has been filed at the Senate.
Senate Bill No. 2597 filed by Senator Sonny Angara mandates the Department of Education, in cooperation with the Department of Energy and the Department of Science and Technology, “to ensure that solar panels with a capacity of at least 200 watts will be installed to public school buildings not smaller than the size of three classrooms and laboratories or educational support facilities of any size located in barangays where electrical line installation is not available.”
Angara’s bill is a counterpart of a measure that Teacher Partylist Representative Julieta Cortuna initiated at the House of Representatives.
“Unfortunately, there are still public schools in remote areas of the country that are without electricity. We still have public school students who are not yet enjoying the convenience and benefits of having bright-lit classrooms and computers as tools for learning,” Angara said in a statement on Friday.
“We must address this gap to promote better learning and comprehension skills among our schoolchildren especially in far-flung areas,” the senator added.
While the National Electrification Administration has an ongoing electrification program that will eventually include all public classrooms around the country, Angara said, the solar power will serve as either the primary or alternative power source for the benefitted public classrooms.
“When electricity is not available, support technology for a quality education could not be delivered,” he said.
“Our bill aims to ensure that all schools nationwide will have power to energize basic teaching tools such as computers, printers and other laboratory equipment enabling them to deliver the same degree of quality teaching as other schools with electricity,” Angara added.