The Department of Energy (DOE) has strongly condemned the attack launched by the New People's Army (NPA) on a hydropower plant project in Barangay Lumbayao, Valencia City in Bukidnon last Saturday (25 February).
Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi lamented, “This attack is totally unwarranted considering that it is not a military installation but a development project that seeks to contribute to uplifting the socio-economic conditions of the people. This attack will not only stall the hydro project’s construction timeline, it will also set back efforts to improve the quality of life of the people of Bukidnon.”
“We are aiming to facilitate the development of all alternative and indigenous energy supply for the future of Mindanaoans. We have long been wanting our kababayans living there to feel the presence of progress, yet these people are stealing that chance from them," Cusi expressed.
"An Inter-Agency Task Force in Securing Energy Facilities is being activated composed of the DOE, Philippine National Police (PNP), National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), National Transmission Corporation (TransCo), National Electrification Administration (NEA) and the National Power Corporation (NPC) with the assistance of the DOE Mindanao Field Office to ensure the completion of the project despite the despicable attack, Sec. Cusi announced.
"The National Democratic Front has been urging the Duterte Administration to resume the peace talks but NPA attacks on a development project such as this do not inspire confidence that they are sincere in returning to the negotiating table, Cusi pointed out.
According to a ground report, the 10.6 megawatts Pulanai Hydroelectric Power Plant project of partners Repower Energy Development Corp. and Manila Electric Co. was attacked by 20 NPA rebels on 25 February 2017.
This run-off-river hydropower project will utilize the Pulanai River in Bukidnon. The target date of commissioning is the first half of 2019.
The plant broke ground on 9 December 2016 with no less President Rodrigo R. Duterte gracing the event.
“We assure the public that the DOE will ensure energy security, and strive to classify energy projects as projects of national significance to protect these development initiatives for the welfare of our people,” Cusi concluded.