Friday, March 16, 2007

Another Transco Power Pylon toppled in Marawi

Cagayan de Oro City (Mike Banos/Mar 16) – Another transmission pylon of the National Transmission Corporation has been toppled near Marawi City.

Engr. Emmanuel Abellanosa, Transco assistant vice president for Mindanao operations and maintenance, confirmed that another Transco power pylon was toppled in Bgy. Sogod, Marawi City around 11:30PM Tuesday when all four legs were ripped off by an improvised explosive device.

This follows two earlier attacks Sunday evening on Tower No. 7 located in Buenavista, Upper Abaga , Balo-i, Lanao del Norte and Tower No. 39 in the hinterland barangay of Bagtik, Puga-an Iligan City which were similarly attacked with the use of improvised explosive devices, though the latter failed to topple.

Although the three attacks failed to interrupt electric power service in Mindanao, Abellanosa said power service to the Picop plant in Balo-i, Lanao del Norte and Mindanao Silicon in Manticao, Misamis Oriental have been curtailed. Up to this time, Mr. Abellanosa said no threats or demand letters of any kind have been received by Transco.

"We need more fresh troops to patrol our lines," Abellanosa said. "Kulang kayo."

The area is under the jurisdiction of the 103rd Infantry Brigade under Col. Raynard Ronnie Y. Javier, an organic unit of the Philippine Army's 1st Infantry "Tabak" Division based in Kuta Major Cesar L. Sang-an, Bgy. Pulacan, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur under the command of Maj. Gen. Raymund Ferrer.

In an earlier interview by a local ABS CBN here, PNP Region 10 Director Chief Supt. Teodorico Capuyan said the bombers may have been motivated by revenge following the pullout of the Philippine Marines from the area of the attacks.

Although there were no attacks on Transco power pylons while the Marines were assigned in Lanao, Capuyan said there were a number of incidents involving the Marines and various armed groups from the area which may have triggered the present spate of attacks.

The series of attacks recall the February 28, 2003 incident when alleged Muslim rebels bombed a power station and toppled five Transco power pylons in Balo-i, Lanao del Norte, cutting off electricity to almost all of Mindanao for several hours and costing the National Power Corporation P10-million in repairs to its 138-kilovolt Abaga-Lugait transmission line at Transco tower 5 which took almost a week to complete.

Reports from Camp Aguinaldo said the alleged rebels initially attacked a Napocor transmission tower with an IED at Tuminado, Lanao del Sur, causing the relay station in Balo-i, Lanao del Norte to trip and plunging the whole Mindanao grid into darkness.

Homemade bombs were also used earlier to topple five other transmission towers in Lanao del Norte and Maguindanao, including the only remaining power link between the northeast and southeast of the island.

The MILF subsequently denied responsibility for the bombings saying it has never been their policy to attack civilian centers or power lines. So far, the MILF has not commented on the present series of attacks.


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