DOE eyes task force to end Mindanao woes

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The Department of Energy (DOE) has proposed putting up a Mindanao task force to help secure the transmission lines of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) which have been targeted by recent bombing attacks that have compromised power supply in the region.

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“We are putting up a task force, especially for the Mindanao NGCP, because of a lingering issue that needs immediate action,” Energy Secretary Zenaida Monsada told reporters on Tuesday.

The Mindanao task force will be a multi-agency body that will include public and private entities in the energy sector such as the DOE, National Power Corp. (NPC), Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management (PSALM) Corporation, National Transmission Corp. (TransCo), National Electrification Administration (NEA), NGCP, Philippine Electricity Spot Market Corp. (PESMC), while the security sector will be represented by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Philippine National Police (PNP) and Department of National Defense (DND).

Monsada said the Mindanao task force will be different from other task forces already created like the Election Task Force that has been mandated to make sure there will be enough power supply during and after the May 9, 2016 elections.

“The Election Task Force’s concern is during the time of voting and vote counting but that of the proposed Mindanao task force is before and beyond the elections,” she said.

“The situation now is not ordinary and it is not even a local issue anymore but a national issue,” she said.

The NGCP’s Sultan Kudarat Substation- Cotabato City-Datu Saudi Ampatuan 69-kV line tripped on January 22 at about 10:57p.m. after the transmission pole in Salimbao, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao was burned down by unidentified elements. Initial investigation indicated sabotage.

Earlier, the NGCP’s Tower #50 of the Agus 2-Kibawe 138kV line in Barangay Pantar, Dimayon Bubong, Lanao del Sur was bombed on the morning of January 18.

Last December 24, Tower 25 located in Ramain, Lanao del Norte was also destroyed by an explosion and is awaiting repair because property owners have refused to allow NCGP personnel entry to the facility site over right-of-way issues.

The NGCP said that the series of bombings has aggravated the tenuous power situation in Mindanao. It added that the incoming 600 megawatts of generation capacity from new power plants will not be sufficient to relieve Mindanao of its energy problems unless the bombings of transmission facilities are stopped.

Sufficient supply and strong transmission are both integral to a stable power situation, the NGCP added.

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