DOE-led task force tackles ROW problem in Mindanao

by Lenie Lectura – February 6, 2016

from Business Mirror

A NEWLY created interagency task force to address the growing concern on the transmission tower bombings and right-of-way (ROW) issues in Mindanao has started tackling the problem.

The Department of Energy (DOE) heads this task force, which is formulating a swift resolution of the problem brought about by bombings of transmission facilities and ROW in Mindanao to ensure progress and peace and order in the region.

The task force was ordered to report to the President on its progress on a weekly basis.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Security of Energy Facilities (IATFSEF) is composed of subtask groups with strategic heads, which will focus on critical issues, such as National Transmission Corp. TransCo for the ROW; the National Police and Armed Forces for security matters; the Department of Justice (DOJ) for the legal aspect; National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) for the community relations; and the DOE for the information, education and communication (IEC) campaign.

For the ROW, one of the measures is to provide an inventory and identification of the lands, including the vegetation and structures involved, valuation of the properties, capability to implement expropriations or execute restoration activities or both and identification of priority areas.

On the security concerns, first and foremost nearby communities, are called upon again to help scout and secure the transmission facilities. Members of the police and the military will be involved to augment and assist them.

Energy Secretary Zenaida Monsada said that transmission and distribution facilities are critical infrastructures in delivering electricity to the end-users.

“We have to work all together, both the Mindanaoans and industry participants, as there can be no development without power or stable power fuels development,” she said.

Monsada added that the government is seeking all legal recourse following the persistent concerns compromising the country’s power facilities. In this regard, the legal subtask group will explore and exhaust all legal remedies available to ensure that any actions taken by the IATFSEF are within the bounds of the law.

The DOE and representatives from TransCo, the NGCP and Mindanao Development Authority also met with the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCCI) after the meeting to discuss the various issues related to energy in Mindanao affecting their business and operations.

It is also the objective of the DOE to include the business sector in crafting and executing plans to address power-supply situation in Mindanao, Monsada said.

“The DOE assures the public that the government is taking action to ensure reliable, sufficient, stable and secure energy in the entire country amidst the threats of El Niño and insurgencies, particularly in Mindanao,” the agency said.