EDITORIAL - Stop the bombings
(The Philippine Star) - December 12, 2015 - 9:00am

If the government wants to bring development to Mindanao, it must do more to stop the destruction of power infrastructure on the island. Last Thursday night, several provinces in Mindanao suffered power outages that lasted up to 10 hours in some areas.

Power supply has been inadequate for some time now in Mindanao, but the latest blackout was due to the bombing of a transmission tower of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines in North Cotabato.

The NGCP reported that an explosion rocked its 138-kilovolt Kibawe-Sultan Kudarat line, at the portion in Pikit, North Cotabato. Security officials are reportedly looking at the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters as the culprits. The BIFF is supposedly a splinter group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, although the two groups joined forces against police Special Action Force members who went after two top terrorists in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25 this year.

It was the 11th NGCP transmission tower bombed this year. Only last Oct. 9, another NGCP tower along the same line was also bombed. The Mindanao power supply is unreliable enough without bandits adding to public misery.

In other areas, New People’s Army extortionists are believed responsible for staging such attacks. Whoever is responsible, electricity is a basic need whose supply must be protected by the state. In several areas, electricity powers water pumps, so blackouts also mean no potable water supply.

The erratic power supply is a major disincentive to job-generating investments in Mindanao. It hinders development and poverty alleviation efforts. Surely the government, in cooperation with the private sector and local communities, can tighten security around power transmission towers. In the age of closed-circuit television and other monitoring devices, it shouldn’t also prove impossible to pursue those responsible for the bombings.

Mindanao has enough problems without having to suffer from protracted blackouts due to violent troublemakers. Unless someone is caught and punished for this crime that causes harm to the public, impunity will reign and there will be no end to the attacks.

BANGSAMORO ISLAMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS JAN KIBAWE-SULTAN KUDARAT LAST THURSDAY MAGUINDANAO MINDANAO MORO ISLAMIC LIBERATION FRONT NATIONAL GRID CORP NEW PEOPLE NORTH COTABATO SPECIAL ACTION FORCE
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