Vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. today called for more resolute actions to address the spate of bombing incidents of power transmission lines saying he could not help but suspect that they may have something to do with the coming elections.
Marcos made the statement in the light of the series of bombing of transmission lines in Mindanao and just recently two transmission towers of wind farms in Ilocos Norte.
“I don’t want to speculate but I could not help but suspect because no less than the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines had raised the alarm over the escalation of incidents and its relation to the upcoming elections. So I am extremely worried,” Marcos stressed.
Cynthia Alabanza, spokesperson of the NGCP was earlier quoted on the spate of bombings as saying "(w)e have observed an escalation, and we are honestly worried about the elections… It's very difficult to conduct elections in darkness or by candlelight. How can people exercise their right to vote? It's a presidential election pa, so we are very concerned.
He said the Inter-Agency Task Force created to secure the transmission towers should make a periodical report on what its members have been doing to stop the bombings and the status of the repairs made on the damaged towers.
He said because of its possible impact on the elections, the incidents should be acted upon more resolutely by the government. “We need swift and determined action on this very serious problem because it will affect the credibility of the elections. We might have more serious problems later on,” he pointed out.
As a start, Marcos pointed out, those responsible for the bombings must be arrested and charged in court. “What is the status of the investigations done? Have we made arrests? We have to show people that we are doing something to prosecute those behind it because otherwise it will just embolden those responsible to attack more towers,” he stressed.
He added that a round-the –clock security mechanism should be put in place to guard the towers. “There has to be a way to guard our towers 24/7. We can tap our police force, our military, barangay security officers and other mechanisms to ensure they are guarded accordingly,” Marcos said.
Early this year, the NGCP warmed of a possible grid collapse after several transmission towers were toppled in Mindanao. In 2015, a total of 16 towers were bombed in the provinces of Maguindanao, North Cotabato and Lanao del Sur.
This year, at least two towers were bombed in Cotabato and Lanao Del Sur. Last week, two transmission towers in Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte operated by wind farm developer UPC Renewables were also bombed by still unidentified attackers.
Marcos also said the bombings also worsen the already problematic power situation in Mindanao. He said such incidents put ordinary people and small businessmen at a disadvantage. “Our power situation is already problematic especially in Mindanao which is already in a power crisis that has hindered its growth for the past many years. These bombing incidents have put ordinary citizens, the small businessmen at a disadvantage,” he said.
Marcos added that a more decisive action should be instituted by the national government before the situation gets worse. “Our leaders should assuage the fears of our people and treat this as a grave problem by taking more decisive and concerted actions,” he stressed.