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Comelec to coordinate with AFP, PNP in securing power towers for 2016 polls  


The Commission on Elections will seek the help of the military and the police to ensure that there will be no blackouts during the May 2016 automated elections.

"Makikipag-ugnayan kami sa AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) at sa PNP (Philippine National Police) para ma-secure 'yung ating mga tower. Napakahalaga rin niyan," Comelec chair Andres Bautista said.

He added that concerns of blackout in urban areas may be addressed, "though on a smaller scale," by the use of private establishments with generators, particularly malls.

"Dito, although in a smaller scale, 'yung mga establishments like malls and other private [ones], may 100-percent power back-up. Malaking bagay rin 'yan," he said.

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has warned that a widespread blackout may be seen in Mindanao during the May elections after consecutive bombings of its towers.

A radio report quoted NGCP spokesperson Cynthia Alabanza as saying that up to 15 towers were bombed by armed groups last year.

Because of this, reserved supply cannot be transmitted because power lines are cut.

On Wednesday, the NGCP released a statement saying it has put Mindanao under red alert again, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., with possible grid collapse there since "only one line" is available to deliver power from the Agus Hydro Complex.

"If the said line is in any way compromised, no power will flow from the remaining Agus hydro facilities to south of Mindanao where the bulk of power demand is located. The resulting imbalance between the North and South portions of Mindanao may cause the system to collapse. Both Davao City and General Santos City are located in the south, and are in real danger of being completely cut off from the bulk supply coming from the hydro facilities," the statement read.

It also appealed to the public, local and national government, and the PNP and the AFP "to help monitor the safety of the towers."

"The company also appeals to local community leaders to help identify the perpetrators of the bombing, and to negotiate with uncooperative landowers, to prevent longer power interruptions," it said.

The NGCP also said it has "yet to restore" Tower #25 along Agus-2 Kibawe 138kV line in Ramain, Lanao del Sur, which was bombed "by unidentified lawless elements during the holiday season, "due to uncooperative landowners."

It added that the owners refused the them entry in the property, saying the government "failed to pay their claims long ago." — RSJ, GMA News

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