Molo village hailed as first jumper-free barangay

MORE Power Roel Castro shows to Executive Assistant Francis Cruz and Engr. Randy Pastolero, executive assistant for public utilities, the improved meter installations and the other improvements that the distribution utility had implemented making the village a jumper-free community.

By Francis Allan L. Angelo


Barangay San Pedro Molo, Iloilo City is no longer the hotbed of illegal electric connections or “jumpers.”

But on Wednesday, MORE Electric and Power Corporation president and chief operating officer Roel V. Castro himself declared San Pedro as a jumper-free model barangay after getting rid of illegal connections.

As a model barangay, San Pedro underwent makeover by the city’s distribution utility and even received an additional transformer and 17 new concrete electric poles that helped rid of “spaghetti” or dangling wires that became eyesores of the city.

MORE Power technicians also worked non-stop to transfer electric meters and arrange them neatly in new posts closer to the consumers’ homes.

Other public utility companies in the city of Iloilo—PLDT, Globe, Metro Pacific Iloilo Water, even broadband companies—also cooperated in cleaning the barangay’s utility systems.

Metro Pacific Iloilo Water, meanwhile, also helped to put in order their water supply lines in the village.

“We really took this opportunity that it would not be just us at MORE Power in this project but all other utilities like the different phone and broadband companies doing business here in the city. But again, with the cooperation of the barangay and the blessing of the city government. Ang gusto natin, malinis at ligtas ang mga barangay [What we really wanted are barangays that are not only clean but also safe],” Castro said immediately after doing the rounds of their first-ever model barangay in the city.

He said the cooperation of San Pedro barangay officials are both crucial and instrumental in successfully ridding it of illegal electric connections.

“Kung wala ‘yung cooperation ng barangay, pagpapasok kami, iba ang tingin eh parang mag-a-apprehend kami [If we don’t have the cooperation of the barangay, when we come in, they see us differently. Just like we’re doing the apprehensions], we will not get the support of the people. But with barangay officials doing the rounds with us, alam nila na mga representatives at officials ito ng barangay, wala tayong kaba [they know that we are with representatives and officials of the barangay, so we don’t feel anxious or nervous at all],” the MORE top honcho said.

Castro said that with the help of barangay officials, they “visited the households, gave out application forms, we explained things to them, and everything is a lot easier.”

“That is, to me, the realization. A model barangay is not only in the infrastructure but on how we were able to achieve this model kind of cooperation among many sectors of the society,” he added.

Executive Assistant Francis Cruz, who represented the city government to the launch in lieu of Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas, said there was always that stigma that when power utility personnel go to a certain barangay or locality, they are there to apprehend illegal connections.

“It’s high time that we change that mindset or thinking. If we can successfully do that, it would be much easier to penetrate other barangays with the same problem on illegal connections,” according to Cruz, who also heads the city’s Local Economic and Investment Promotions Office (LEIPO).

Punong Barangays Carl John Lapascua of San Pedro said that they only needed to explain to barangay folks the purpose of MORE Power’s visit to their barangay.

“Because of this, our constituents would know that we are trying our best to change how the city views our barangay. And with Mayor Treñas’ Level Up program, we all with level-up,” Lapascua said.

MORE Power put up 3 primary poles, 13 concrete poles, and 1 transformer from the terminal area going to the EcoPark (Esplanade area) of the barangay.

Along Ganzon Street, the firm also erected 5 steel poles with 29 arrays, transferred 117 clustered meters along the highway to the new poles near each customer’s houses, and transferred clustered meters along Sitio Riverside to an elevated meter pole.



When asked about the actual number of households which has been using jumpers before but are now legally connected, Castro said that of the total 714 households in San Pedro, 301 were using jumpers before.

“Ang pagkakaalam natin when we started this, almost half of the total 714 households in San Pedro are using jumpers. But right now, to tell you frankly, zero. Lahat ng mga illegally connected households, nag-apply na. And out of that more than 300 households that applied for a connection, siguro merong sampu na talagang indigent. Wala silang pang-deposit kaya hinanapan na lang natin ng paraan to help them get connected legally,” Castro said.

And why San Pedro?

“You see, in November, a fire broke out here. In December, another fire. So, I said, if this is not thoroughly cleaned to rid it of illegal connections, many fires would still take place here. You see, before this, there is already one transformer here.”

Castro said the illegal connections were the main cause of the frequent fires in the area due to the overload.

“With almost half of the total households illegally connected and with only a single transformer serving all of them, it’s no wonder nagkakaroon ng madalas na sunog sa lugar. So, kung gusto nating linisin ang lugar to make it safe, linisin natin ng tamang linis, hindi lang ‘yung simpleng maglalagay tayo ng bagong transformer and that’s it. It has to be a complete transformation and that’s what we did here,” Castro said.