Transmission line issues, bombings may worsen power supply situation in Mindanao

Feb. 07, 2016

DAVAO CITY – Complicated issues on the right-of-way (ROW), the easement of transmission lines and the recent bombings of transmission towers, if not addressed, will worsen the power supply situation in Mindanao, top-ranking officers of the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee (MPMC) said.

“These problems are not new to us, but like a disease it can become worse and if we do not address this immediately and decisively, we will not be able to achieve the goal of having stable and reliable power supply,” said Secretary Luwalhati Antonino of Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) in a statement to the media after the meeting of the principal members of the MPMC on Thursday afternoon, February 4 here.

The MPMC meeting was also joined by Department of Energy (DOE) secretary Zenaida Monsada; National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) spokesperson Atty. Cynthia Alabanza; Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) commander Major General Rey Leonardo Guerrero; Generoso Senal of the National Transmission Corporation (NTC); and other representatives from government agencies, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the business sector.

The primary objective of the meeting was to thresh out concerns surrounding the problems of power transmission and finding out long term solutions to such woes that already affected the power supply situation in Mindanao.

Secretary Monsada said that power supply is a major concern for Mindanao and that at present the MPMC is seeing some concerns on the transmission with the recent bombings of towers and the issues on ROW, easements and vegetations that have impacts on the transmission lines.

“Transmission and distribution are part of the supply chain of power in Mindanao,” Monsada pointed out, adding that the situation is no longer for the interest of Mindanao but has already been elevated to the national level, the reason why President Benigno S. Aquino III created the inter-agency task force to ensure that energy facilities in Mindanao are secured.

The most pressing situation discussed during the meeting was the December 24, 2015 bombing of Tower 25 of the Agus 2-Kibawe 138 KV Lines situated in Barangay Didsaan, Ramain town in Lanao del Sur.

Monsada said Tower 25 is considered a strategic power line in Mindanao and that its toppling last year had isolated Agus 1 and Agus 2 that resulted to the reduction of the grid capacity.

Agus 1 and 2 supplies around 80 megawatts of hydroelectric power supply to the Mindanao grid “but since the destruction of Tower 25 in December the supply chain until today is paralyzed,” she said.

Aside from bombings, the issues on easement, vegetation and ROWs are also adding up to the problems on transmission, the MPMC added.

On the issue of right-of-way, Senal of NTC said that their office is currently holding a total of 216 cases in courts.

“These cases are now on process and we are validating all of these claims on the right-of-way, easements and vegetations,” Senal added.

He said that NTC has already deposited total amount of P195 million for payment of such claims but released of specific amounts to claimants will be facilitated after the case are decided and their claims are properly validated.

He added that some negotiations are still being facilitated especially in Tower 25 area where a single claimant whom he did not identified had already surfaced and presented pertinent papers for their claim.

The claimant, he said is asking for some P40 million for right-of-way, easement and payment for the vegetations at the said tower.

Security concerns in transmission lines and power facilities in Mindanao have been addressed as police and the Army joined forces to institute security measures, Major General Guerrero said.

He added that most of the affected areas, especially the towers bombed were under the area of operation of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom).

Secretary Antonino also emphasized that the persisting transmission problems does not bode well for the improved business climate in Mindanao.

“Investors are now seeing that it is the best time to invest in Mindanao with positive outlook in terms of power supply, but as I have said earlier, power supply is useless if it won’t be delivered through a reliable grid.”

Antonino said it is the right time now to mitigate and resolve the problems that revolve in the transmission sector in Mindanao.

Data from NGCP said that 18 towers were already bombed since last year, including the strategic tower 25 that remained out of service at present.

NGCP added that most of the ROW and easement problems are recorded in the towns of Baloi and Pantar in Lanao del Norte; and in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur. (

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