NGCP tower in Lanao Sur bombed

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 23 Sep) – An explosion occurred at one of the 138-KV transmission towers of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) in Buadiposo-Buntong town in Lanao del Sur Tuesday morning, injuring seven soldiers and two linemen.

NGCP transmission towers. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

Brig. Gen. Jose Maria Cuerpo, commanding general of the Marawi-based 103rd Infantry Brigade, said two helicopters from the Philippine Air Force base in Lumbia, Cagayan de Oro and another chopper from NGCP were deployed to extricate the wounded soldiers and linemen.

He said the transmission tower was not toppled.

The NGCP said in a statement that the explosion occurred 7 a.m. in a forested area in Buadiposo-Buntong.

NGCP said their personnel and military escorts were conducting an inspection of the Agus 2-Kibawe 138KV lines 1 and 2, which tripped last September 22 and 3, respectively. The Agus 2 hydro plant is situated in Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur while Kibawe is a municipality in Bukidnon.

“The company stresses that any incident meant to interrupt the delivery of power transmission services, only serve to increase the burden of the public, which must suffer through power interruptions when lines or towers are affected. Any attempt to hinder line clearing activities is a violation of the provisions under Republic Act 11361 or the Anti-Obstruction of Power Lines Act, and is punishable by up to 12 years imprisonment or fines up to P200,000, or both,” NGCP warned.

Cuerpo said the NGCP linemen, escorted by a security detail of seven Army soldiers, walked for two days to the 138-KV transmission tower in the mountains in Buadiposo-Buntong town.

“It was a regular checkup of the tower and usually the linemen have a squad of soldiers to accompany them for their security,” Cuerpo said.

Cuerpo said the initial report they received was that one of the soldiers stepped on a pressure-activated landmine planted on the base of the transmission tower.

He said they are conducting an investigation on who is responsible for the landmine.

Cuerpo discounted the possibility that communist rebels or members of the Dawlah Islamiya Maute terror group were responsible.

“Usually the bomb is attached to the tower and exploded to topple it down. This is different,” he said.

Cuerpo said NGCP transmission towers are always the subject of numerous attacks in the past and those responsible were mostly disgruntled landowners.

NGCP, in its statement, expressed “its appeal to the local and national government, local community leaders, and the public, to help identify the perpetrators, and to negotiate with uncooperative landowners, to prevent longer power interruptions. The public may report suspicious activities in the vicinity of its transmission lines and facilities to the NGCP Tip Hotline at 0917-8476427 or 0918-8476427.” (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)