Two NGCP towers bombed in North Cotabato

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/19 April) — Two towers of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) in North Cotabato were bombed on Tuesday morning.

Towers 95 and 96, located in Brgy. Kitulaan and Brgy. Aroman, Carmen in North Cotabato, were not completely destroyed, according to NGCP spokesperson for Mindanao Milfrance Capulong in her Facebook post.

But she clarified that personnel of the NGCP can only start restoring the towers if the area is already secured.

“The company stresses that the bombings only serve to increase the burden of the public, which must suffer through service interruptions when towers are bombed,” she said.

She added the NGCP “appeals to the local community and its leaders to help identify the perpetrators of the bombings to prevent longer power interruptions.”

In a text message to MindaNews, Romeo Montenegro, director for Investment Promotions, International Relations, and Public affairs of Mindanao Development Authority, said the continuous attacks on the transmission lines would only worsen the power situation in the island.

“We received report of another attempt to topple two NGCP towers in North Cotabato this morning which could have cut transmission between the Kibawe-Kabacan line. These deplorable acts only compound the already precarious power situation in Mindanao and could result to longer periods of rotating brownouts,” he said.

In January 2016, NGCP tower 63 in Aleosan, Cotabato and Tower 50 in Bubong in Lanao del Sur were bombed while a transmission pole in Salimbao, Sultan Kudarat in Maguindanao was burned. Those three attacks on NGCP transmission lines happened in a span of nine days.

Last year, 16 NGCP towers were bombed, the most controversial of which was the Christmas eve bombing on Tower 25 in Ramain, Lanao del Norte when landowners refused NGCP personnel entry to the area due to unsettled claims with the government. Tower 25 was repaired on March 14, 2016.

The bombing on Tuesday happened two months after the creation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Security of Energy Facilities to address attacks on NGCP towers and right-of-way claims in Mindanao.

Members of the task force included the Department of Energy, National Transmission Commission, NGCP, MinDA, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Department of Interior and Local Government, National Power Corporation, Department of Justice, and Land Registration Authority.

The agencies have since been re-grouped to attend to the several issues hounding the power sector of Mindanao. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)