The solar panels installed in Palimbang and other rural towns in Mindanao may have produced more watts to light up optimism among those who have read the news.
Availability of electricity in such economically underprivileged and conflict-ridden areas will enable improved access to information and livelihood. Residents can listen to their AM radios or watch television news programs that will keep them updated with the latest events in the country. The same news cited sari-sari stores extending their business hours and even offering cellphone battery charging services at minimal fees.
Aside from these, children can already study more comfortably with sufficient lighting in their classrooms and in their homes at night. Soon, these children will have access to the Internet and other educational media such as the Knowledge Network.
Further, we can expect more roads that will allow SMEs and large enterprises to flourish in the off-grid towns in Mindanao. At the same time, won't it be too much wishful thinking to expect that insurgencies may be lessened when children, who are supposedly brainwashed into joining rebel groups such as the Abu Sayyaf, have means to better education?
The fact that solar energy is basically free entails hope for the Filipinos in Mindanao. However, will there be any efforts to make solar panels affordable?
Solar energy ends darkness in town, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 09 Aug 2009