THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) has deputized additional government agencies to help ensure that there will be adequate power supply during the elections particularly in the southern Philippines.
The commission issued a resolution tapping more government agencies, including the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), in securing the nationwide transmission infrastructure and facilities amid fears that the absence of power may result in the suspension or postponement of elections in Mindanao and other areas and possible manipulation of election results.
The poll body also deputized the Departments of Energy, Environment and Natural Resources, Public Works and Highways, Interior, Defense and other law enforcement agencies of the government.
Resolution No.10067 amended Resolution No.10023, which tapped the National Electrification Administration, National Power Corp. (Napocor) and local electrification cooperatives to ensure reliable power supply.
Chairman Juan Andres Bautista said the order of the commission takes precedence over and above the orders and directives issued by any other office or agency of the government.
Energy Secretary Zenaida Monsada had earlier informed the Comelec that the power situation in Mindanao is imperiled by the spate of bombings of transmission towers and the refusal of landowners housing the damaged towers to grant access to maintenance and repair crew of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), among others.
Bautista said that the situation is a matter of national security, thus the Comelec has to use its police powers to compel private land owners to grant access to repair and maintenance personnel.
At least 18 power transmission towers have either been toppled or damaged by a spate of bombing in Mindanao.
The priority of the NGCP is the immediate clearing and restoration of Tower 25 transmission line so that the Agus 1 and Agus 2 can inject power to the Mindanao grid.
Bautista has admitted that if power outages occur, the Comelec would have no recourse but to postpone the elections in affected places.
He said the Comelec has power backups like generator sets and also plans to deploy power barges in areas that have unstable power supplies.