It’s an early Christmas in Tubigon. And it comes in solar-powered lights, reputed to be the first in Asia and of course in Bohol. Three hundred households coming from the municipalities of Tubigon, Inabanga and Clarin are the recipients of a brand new Mandarin, a low cost, solar-powered Light Emitting Diode (LED) light. The turn-over ceremony of such lights was held at the Tubigon Cultural Center on October 17. Present during the ceremony were the Executive Assistant to the Governor and Deputy Governor Isabelito Tongco, Tubigon Mayor William Jao with Vice Mayor Virgilio Fortich, Clarin Mayor Allen Ray Piezas and Inabanga’s Municipal Public Relations Officer Renante Sempron representing Mayor Jose “Jono” Jumamoy who was in Manila for an official business.
There are 100 beneficiaries from each municipality. Out of the 34 barangays in Tubigon, four were chosen namely; Brgy. Pinayagan Sur, Pinayagan Norte, Tinangnan and Macaas. The field workers from PATH were in close contact and coordination with the barangay chairmen to determine those households which do not have electric access or financial means for connection. PATH Foundation’s Executive Vice President Dr. Joan Castro highlighted in her overview that the project was pioneered in Africa. Bohol is first site in Asia and the Philippines to be the recipient of such lights on a trial basis. Out of the 47 municipalities in Bohol, only five were chosen namely; Tubigon, Clarin, Inabanga, Ubay, and Bien Unido. The Mandarin light is Illumination’s brain child which is designed to meet the needs of indigent families earning less than P 42.00 per day with no access to electricity.
It produces a bright light six times stronger than an ordinary kerosene lamp with illumination strength of 48 lumens compared to a keresone lamp with only eight lumens. All the recipients would have to do are to charge the solar panel for the day and assemble it with the disk in order to use for the night. The expenses allotted to buying kerosene could now be allotted to much more important needs such as food and education for the children. Another benefit from using such lighting is lesser health hazards due to kerosene fume exposure and avoidance of fire hazard due to accidental toppling of the kerosene lamp. As an added benefit, school children won’t have any difficulty studying at night. The project named, “Illuminate and Empower Bohol” is a partnership between PATH Foundation Philippines, Illumination HQ and the selected local governments in Bohol. The beneficiaries would agree to switch from using kerosene lamps to Mandarin lights for the purpose of the study which will evaluate the economic, health, social and environmental benefits of solar LED lighting.