EDITORIAL – Power red alert
(The Philippine Star) - January 5, 2016 - 9:00am

Apart from more blackouts that in some areas also means no water because pumps aren’t running, Mindanao residents will be shouldering the cost of repairing power transmission towers that were damaged or destroyed by bomb attacks during the holiday season.

Energy officials said the government guaranteed that repair arrangement with the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, operator of the towers that have been the favorite targets of gunmen believed to be members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters. Elsewhere in the country, bomb attacks on telecommunications towers have been blamed on extortionists belonging to the communist New People’s Army.

The government cannot afford to look helpless in the face of attacks on such vital facilities. Private security guards cannot do the work alone, especially when the bombers have a record of murdering even elite police commandos using powerful rifles. The NGCP has sought government assistance in protecting the transmission towers even as the company placed the Mindanao power grid on alert for severe service disruptions.

While providing protection for the towers, the national and local governments must remind affected residents that the bombings and consequent blackouts and water disruptions are the handiwork of insurgent groups. It could help erode any public support for the troublemakers.

Power supply in Mindanao is unstable enough without the bomb attacks. The problem has been one of the biggest hindrances to attracting job-generating investments and stimulating greater economic activity in Mindanao, even in areas that are not considered to be part of the conflict zones.

A stable power supply is one of the basic requirements for development. Keeping power transmission towers safe must be a priority of any administration that wants to bring development to Mindanao.

ATTACKS BANGSAMORO ISLAMIC FREEDOM FIGHTERS BOMB EVEN GOVERNMENT MINDANAO NATIONAL GRID CORP NEW PEOPLE POWER TOWERS TRANSMISSION
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