DOE appeals for public’s cooperation on tower bombings in Mindanao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 24 Jan) – The Department of Energy (DOE) appealed for the public’s cooperation after sporadic attacks on the transmission towers of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) since 2015 that contributed to the worsening of Mindanao’s power supply.

In an emailed statement on Sunday, Energy Secretary Zenaida Monsada encouraged Mindanawons to take part in resolving the spate of bombings directed at the NGCP towers perpetrated by unidentified lawless groups.

“We are calling everyone’s cooperation to immediately resolve the ongoing issues in Mindanao, affecting not only NGCP, but the families, individuals and business entities who are experiencing interrupted power supply,” she stated.

The public has been encouraged to “be vigilant and report suspicious activities in critical areas through the NGCP.”

The power situation in Cotabato City and the franchise areas of Maguindanao Electric Cooperative Inc. (MAGELCO) was restored Saturday morning after suffering from nine hours of brownout due to the burning of an NGCP transmission pole in Salimbao, Sultan Kudarat town in Maguindanao.

In a post on her Facebook on Saturday, NGCP Mindanao spokesperson Milfrance Capulong said that, based on initial findings, the burning of a transmission pole at 10:57 p.m. last Friday was due to power line sabotage.

She said that repair works were completed at 7:14 a.m. after the NGCP constructed a modified lightweight tower to immediately restore power.

“NGCP is doing all it can to ensure continued, uninterrupted power transmission services all over the country,” she said.

“However, power interruptions caused by force majeure events like sabotage and tower bombings are beyond our control,” she added.

Support from the national government, local government units, law enforcement agencies such as the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines was encouraged to help secure the transmission lines to prevent further worsening the power situation in Mindanao.

18 towers down since 2015

Last year, 16 NGCP towers were bombed.

According to Capulong, seven towers were downed last December alone: Towers 25, 19, 20, 95, 68, 168, and 153.

Two towers were bombed in a span of three days this month.

The latest was Tower 50 of Agus 2-Kibawe 138 KV line located in the municipality of Bubong, Lanao del Sur, which was bombed last January 18.

Tower 63 at Purok 4, Barangay Pagangan in Aleosan town, North Cotabato, along the Kabacan-Sultan Kudarat 138-KV line, was attacked last January 14 but restored last January 16.

“NGCP stresses that the bombings only aggravate the tenuous power situation in Mindanao. The incoming 600MW of generation capacity from new power plants will not be sufficient to relieve Mindanao of its energy problems unless the bombing of transmission facilities are stopped,” she said.

Repair works on Tower 25 in Ramain, Lanao del Norte cannot be conducted and that Agus 1 and Agus 2 have remained to be isolated from the Mindanao grid after landowners Johnny Sambitori, Intan Sambitori, and Naguib Sambitori demanded that the government pay unsettled claims for the lot where the tower stands.

At least 58 MW was lost in the Mindanao grid after the incident.