PAGALUNGAN, Maguindanao (MindaNews / 14 Jan) – A steel tower of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) in a remote village here was toppled allegedly by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) Tuesday night, causing an almost three-hour blackout in most parts of the province and neighboring North Cotabato, the military said.
A press statement from the Army’s 6th Infantry Division said elements of the 7th Infantry Battalion and Pagalungan police, together with NGCP personnel, went to the blast site to investigate.
Three improvised explosive devices (IED) using 81mm and 60mm mortar rounds were reportedly taped on three of the four posts of Tower 26 in Barangay Galakit here.
The IEDs were detonated simultaneously at 9:10 p.m. using a cellphone, according to Capt. Jo-Ann Penglay, 6ID spokesperson.
“The attack, although did not cause loss of lives, is obviously intended to sabotage the normalcy and the peaceful situation in the area,” the 6ID press statement said. “It’s effect to the economic activity in affected areas could not be taken for granted even if power came back after almost three hours of blackout,” it added.
Maj. Gen. Edmundo R. Pangilinan, 6ID commander, gave orders to provide security to NGCP personnel who will be fixing the toppled tower.
Penglay said that there have been threats to topple NGCP’s power lines and a few have been prevented, but not this one.
According to Army soldiers and members of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) belonging to the 7th Infantry Battalion stationed not far from the tower, the explosion was so loud. Then light disappeared immediately with the blackout that followed.