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Wider power shortage in Mindanao feared

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(Photo from Philippine Star)


CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY — A senior House of Representatives leader alerted the public that electric power supply may not be enough for Mindanao during the scheduled May 9 presidential election.


At the House Energy committee hearing, Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez cited the recent bombing of 18 transmission towers of National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) in Mindanao, which resulted in rolling blackouts in the area.


"We are facing the May 9 elections. What will happen if we do not have [power] supply. . .classrooms and voting precincts will be dark. How can we have election that will be credible," said Rodriguez in an interview with reporters at the sidelines of the hearing chaired by Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali,


He said parts of Mindanao was presently experiencing rotational brownouts ranging from 4 to 8 hours daily.


"We might have a failure of elections in Mindanao comprising of 22 million people with 11 million votes or more than 20 percent of our voting population," he added.


Rodriguez also said the NGCP had continuously issued the “yellow alert,” which means that Mindanao’s electric supply is below the required reserve.


"The lack of supply will mean rotating brownouts will be suffered by the people. I am afraid that there will be failure of elections on May 9, 2016 if there will be massive brownouts in Mindanao," he pointed out.


Rodriguez appealed to President Aquino to convene a national security meeting to address the power situation in Mindanano.


Energy Undersecretary Mylene Capongcol said the government was already addressing the series of bombings of the NGCP towers.


She told the committee that the government was set to create a special task force to solve the problem. The group will be composed of Department of the Interior and Local Government, Department of Energy, NGCP, Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines.


Rodriguez, meanwhile, directed the House energy panel to invite Gen. Ricardo Marquez of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Gen. Hernando Irriberi of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to explain "why these bombings have been continuing ever since January 2015 and the PNP and the AFP have not arrested a single suspect and no one has been charged in court. They have not discovered the masterminds of the bombings."


"It is responsibility of the AFP and the PNP, specifically their intelligence services to prevent these bombings from happening. Both the AFP and PNP have yet to capture those responsible for the bombings despite a long period of time having passes since the latest bombings and worse, it seems that they have not elaborated yet the motive of the bombings," the lawmaker said.


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