DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 6 May) – The Tuesday night bombing on Tower 25 in Ramain, Lanao del Sur will not hamper the elections in Mindanao on May 9 as power supply has remained to be sufficient even up to three days after the polls.
In a text message on Friday, Romeo Montenegro, director for Investment Promotion, International Relations and Public Affairs for Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), said that there is no need to raise any alarm as the bombing incident did not isolate the Agus 1 and Agus 2 hydro plants.
“Supply availability in the Mindanao grid is assured at least three days before and three days after the elections,” he said.
“So far the toppling of Tower 25 has no impact on the overall power situation as other redundant lines had been previously tapped after addressing vegetation issues,” he added. Montenegro said, too, that the right-of-way issues going to the damaged tower have been resolved.
Milfrance Capulong, Mindanao spokesperson of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), said on Wednesday that only the Agus 2-Kibawe 138kV line was only affected.
She said repair works will commence after elections.
In a press conference at the Waterfront Hotel Davao on Friday, lawyer Aileen Lizada, legal liaison of the election watchdog Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting (PPCRV), said the vote-counting machines’ (VCMs) batteries can last up to 12 hours.
“Deplorable incidents like these do not serve any interest than add more burden to the public affected by power interruptions,” Montenegro added.
He added that the NGCP is working closely with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to facilitate immediately the repair works once the area is safe from threats.
“Once the area is secured and materials become available, restoration works take 20 days to complete,” he said. “But we urge vigilance as toppling of transmission assets can pose disruptions on power supply,” he added.
Tower 25 was bombed for the second time on Tuesday evening. It was also bombed Christmas eve last year. It was repaired last March 14 after the Regional Trial Court (RTC) ordered land owners Johny Sambitory, Intan Sambitory and Naguib Sambitory to allow NGCP personnel entry to facilitate repair works.
In a statement issued by DOE last April 26, the Power Task Force Election conducted a simulation drill last April 21to check if all power systems are working.
“Prior to that, the group also visited the satellite command centers to inspect the power grid facilities in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The turnout of the drill capacitated the technical staff and personnel on what needs to be secured and monitored daily while approaching the election period,” it added.