Comelec seeks meeting with NGCP execs over tower bombings
Delon Porcalla, Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - January 19, 2016 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Concerned over the unabated bombing of power transmission towers, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) is seeking a dialogue with officials of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).

“The Comelec is reaching out to the NGCP… We are very concerned about the availability of power during the elections… It is better the power situation is clarified this early,” Comelec spokesman James Jimenez told a press briefing yesterday.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez had warned of a failure of elections in Mindanao if the attacks continue.

Jimenez said the poll body is concerned that elections could be “predisposed to other problems” during power outages.

“At this point, the blackouts do not worry us... because the machines are equipped with batteries and we have generator sets... It’s more on the security of the areas around (voting centers),” he said.

He said the vote counting machines have batteries that could last up to 15 hours.

“In the past…we extended the voting hours up to 7 p.m. and it gets dark if there is no other source of light. It can get really intimidating,” Jimenez said.

Jimenez said the Comelec is coordinating with the police and military to secure the voting centers during the elections.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippine are keeping a close watch on transmission towers across the country.

Coloma said President Aquino also ordered Energy Secretary Zenaida Monsada to ensure that right of way issues with landowners are resolved to repair the toppled towers.

ACIRC COMELEC ENERGY SECRETARY ZENAIDA MONSADA JAMES JIMENEZ JIMENEZ NATIONAL GRID CORP ORO REP PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE AND ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINE PRESIDENT AQUINO PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS OPERATIONS OFFICE SECRETARY HERMINIO COLOMA JR. RUFUS RODRIGUEZ
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