Vice President Jejomar Binay and Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Monday slammed the Aquino administration for its supposed failure to address the power crisis in Mindanao.
Binay, campaigning in Misamis Oriental with running mate Sen. Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan and the Senate bets of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA), said the people in Mindanao have been neglected.
“Tama lang na kayo ay magalit. Tama lamang na kayo ay magtampo. Tama lang na kayo ay magngitngit sa pamahalaang ito [You are right to be angry. You are right to feel resentment. You are right to gnash your teeth under this government],” Binay said during a sortie in Lugait town.
“Itong pamahalaang ito, 2010 kayo ho ay nagba-brownout na, hanggang ngayon hindi pa natutugunan ang problema. Anong klaseng lider itong administrasyong ito [You have been experiencing brownouts since 2010, until now the problem has not been addressed. What kind of administration is this?]” he asked.
Marcos, meanwhile, condemned the bombing of the transmission lines in Mindanao and Ilocos Norte, saying these may have something to do with the coming elections.
“I don’t want to speculate but I could not help but suspect because no less than the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) had raised the alarm over the escalation of incidents and its relation to the upcoming elections. So I am extremely worried,” the senator said.
Last week, two transmission towers in Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte operated by wind farm developer UPC Renewables were bombed. Before that, at least two towers were bombed in Cotabato and Lanao Del Sur.
Cynthia Alabanza, spokesperson of the NGCP, was earlier quoted to have said that there has been an escalation of bombings targeting power lines.
“We are honestly worried about the elections. It’s very difficult to conduct elections in darkness or by candlelight. How can people exercise their right to vote? It’s a presidential election, so we are very concerned,” she was quoted as saying.
Marcos said the Inter-Agency Task Force created to secure transmission towers should make a periodical report on what its members have been doing to stop the bombings and the status of the repairs made on the damaged towers.
“We need swift and determined action on this very serious problem because it will affect the credibility of the elections. We might have more serious problems later on,” the senator said.
“What is the status of the investigations done? Have we made arrests? We have to show people that we are doing something to prosecute those behind it because otherwise it will just embolden those responsible to attack more towers,” he added.
“Our power situation is already problematic especially in Mindanao which is already in a power crisis that has hindered its growth for the past many years. These bombing incidents have put ordinary citizens, the small businessmen at a disadvantage.”
The NGCP had warmed of a possible grid collapse after several transmission towers were toppled in Mindanao. In 2015, 16 towers were bombed in the provinces of Maguindanao, North Cotabato and Lanao del Sur.