05 February 2016
(Davao City) A special inter-agency task force will now address the growing concern on the transmission tower bombings and right-of-way (ROW) issues posing economic impediment in Mindanao despite the additional 770 megawatts of power capacity coming in this year in the region.
During the Principals’ Meeting of the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee (MPMC) held in Davao on 04 February 2016, Energy Secretary Zenaida Y. Monsada emphasized that transmission and distribution facilities are critical infrastructures in delivering electricity to the end-users (individuals, households, industries and businesses), in which bombings and ROW issues delay and hinder progress for the people of Mindanao. “We have to work all together, both the Mindanaoans and industry participants, as there can be no development without power or stable power fuels development,” she added.
The meeting was attended by representatives from the DOE, Mindanao Development Authority led by Secretary Luwalhati R. Antonino, the National Electrification Administration, the National Power Corp., the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management, the National Transmission Corporation (TransCo), the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), the Mindanao Electric Power Alliance and the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives.
With the recent transmission situation in the area becoming of national interest, Secretary Monsada relayed that early this week, President Benigno S. Aquino created the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Security of Energy Facilities (IATFSEF) to be spearheaded by the Department of Energy (DOE).
The IATFSEF is composed of sub-task groups with strategic heads which will focus on critical issues, such as, TransCo for the ROW, the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines for security matters, the Department of Justice (DOJ) for the legal aspect, NGCP for the community relations and DOE for the information, education and communication (IEC) campaign.
For the ROW, one of the measures is to provide the inventory and identification of the lands including the vegetation and structures involved, valuation of the properties, capability to implement expropriations and/or execute restoration activities, and identification of priority areas.
On the security concerns, first and foremost nearby communities are called upon again to help scout and secure the transmission facilities. Members of the police and the military will be involved to augment and assist them.
Secretary Monsada also underlines that the government is seeking all legal recourse following the persistent concerns compromising the country’s power facilities. In this regard, the legal sub-task group will explore and exhaust all legal remedies available to ensure that any actions taken by the IATFSEF are within the bounds of the law.
Moreover, stronger community relations through massive IEC campaigns and strengthened corporate social responsibility activities are some of the measures that will resolve the matter.
With the task force activated, the government is now determined for a swift resolution of the bombings of transmission facilities and ROW in Mindanao to ensure progress and peace and order in the region. The task force is directed to report to the President on its progress on a weekly basis.
Meanwhile, after the MPMC meeting, the DOE and representatives from TransCo, NGCP, and MinDA also met with the Davao City Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCCI) upon its invitation to discuss the various issues related to energy in Mindanao affecting their business and operations. It is also the objective of the DOE to include the business sector in crafting and executing plans to address power supply situation in Mindanao.
The DOE assures the public that the government is taking action to ensure reliable, sufficient, stable and secure energy in the entire country amidst the threats of El Nino and insurgencies, particularly in Mindanao.