Linemen from Mindanao electric cooperatives sent to areas ravaged by “Odette”

Residents make their way through a fallen electrical post on a major thoroughfare in Surigao City on Friday (17 December 2021), a day after Typhon “Odette” made landfall. MindaNews photo by IVY MARIE MANGADLAO

SAN FRANCISCO, Agusan del Sur (MindaNews / 22 December) – Linemen from different electric cooperatives in Mindanao will spend the holidays restoring power in areas of Caraga Region devastated by typhoon “Odette” last week.

The linemen belong to Task Force Kapatid organized by the Philippine Rural Electric Cooperatives Association Inc. to help restore power lines in these areas.

The typhoon downed power supply in Surigao del Norte including Siargao Island, and Dinagat Islands.

So far, the following electric cooperatives have deployed linemen to Caraga: Northern Davao Electric Cooperative (Nordeco), South Cotabato I Electric Cooperative, South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative, Cotabato Electric Cooperative, Sultan Kudarat Electric Cooperative, Davao Oriental Electric Cooperative and Davao del Sur Electric Cooperative.

Philreca said Task Force Kapatid has sent 18 teams to Caraga, and at least seven more electric cooperatives are expected to send in more teams in the days to come.

For its part, the Agusan del Sur Electric Cooperative (Aselco) will not be part of the first batch since their linemen are still restoring energy in the northern towns of the province which were also hit by the typhoon.

But Leah Fe Estillore, chief of Aselco’s Corporate Affairs and Communications Department and Institutional Services Department, said their main office here served as command center for relief operations for the typhoon victims.

“We could not be prouder of our warriors of light and their respective families who are willing to sacrifice their personal convenience for the benefit of others who have been affected by this calamity – this is Bayanihan at its best,” said Presley C. De Jesus, president and party-list representative of Philreca.

Gerne Ong, 39, a lineman from Nordeco in Tagum City, who was sent to Samar in the aftermath of typhoon “Ursula” in 2019 and almost died in an accident at work there, was no longer included in the team that was sent to Caraga.

While fixing some electrical wires in Basey, Samar the electric post that Ong climbed bent and he would have been thrown off had he not clung tightly to it.

Ong was also sent to areas hit by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013.

He was part of the Marawi energy rehabilitation task force in 2005 where a lineman from Bukidnon was killed after he fell from a pole and landed on a sharp iron grill.

The Nordeco linemen were told to stay in their areas of assignment in Caraga for 15 days starting December 20. (Chris V. Panganiban/MindaNews)