ZAMBOANGA CITY: Electricity supply was cut off in several areas in Sultan Kudarat and Maguindanao provinces on Friday after a transmission pole was burned down by unidentified suspects, reports said.
The privately-owned National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NCGP) which operates the transmission line said the torching of the pole late Friday affected power distribution in the provinces.
“Initial findings indicate sabotage,” the NGCP said, adding, electricity was fully restored on Saturday.
“NGCP is doing all it can to ensure continued, uninterrupted power transmission services all over the country, however, power interruptions caused by force majeure events like sabotage and tower bombings, are beyond our control,” it added.
The burning of the transmission pole occurred on the same day that suspected New People’s Army rebels swooped down at about 8 p.m., on the compound of AJ Construction Company in Barangay Edwards in T’boli town, South Cotabato and torched its heavy equipment.
About 10 to 15 armed men reportedly disarmed the guards before setting on fire a dump truck, a backhoe, and grader truck, including a road roller. The raid was allegedly triggered by a failed extortion, police said.
Meanwhile, NGCP has appealed for faster resolution of “right of way” (ROW) issues between landowners and government-run National Transmission Corporation (Transco) so that repairs of its toppled steel pylon could be done the soonest possible.
Exactly a month after unidentified men set off improvised explosive devices on a vital steel tower in Ramain, Lanao del Sur, NGCP is yet to repair toppled Tower No. 25 in Ramain town, Lanao del Sur.
Melfrance Capulong, NGCP corporate communications officer said the dilemma NGCP was facing in Ramain was compounded by another bombing incident, on January 18 of steel Tower No. 50 in Barangay Pantar, Bubong town also in Lanao Sur.
The power provider earlier issued alarm of the possible collapse of its grip with the continued delay of restoration works on its towers, compounded by the recent bombing incidents in their facility.
Capulong pictured a worse case scenario saying “zero reserves” is likely to happen if the Agus 1 power plant remained isolated from the Mindanao grid that may eventually result to longer power outages in southern Mindanao, including Davao and Gen. Santos City.
WITH ANTHONY VARGAS