Landowner’s prohibitive demand holds Mindanao grid ‘hostage to blackouts’

by Myrna Velasco – November 29, 2015

from Manila Bulletin

Mindanao is still relentlessly threatened with blackouts because the prohibitive demand of one landowner continually holds vital transmission lines hostage which could consequently trigger power interruptions.

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), in a statement to the media, has noted that “despite months of amicably negotiating” with landowner Balao Pundag, he still refused NGCP’s entry to his property.

Settlement process with the specified landowner could have resolved right-of-way (ROW) issues that have been preventing the transmission firm from clearing operations and maintenance at its facilities.

The landowner has been demanding unconscionable settlement for his planted trees – reportedly, it has been six times the valuation drawn up by the transmission company

“NGCP’s valuation of the trees, based on the Local Government Code of Lanao del Sur’s own schedule of market value amounts to P77,750,” the company has noted.

It qualified though that “the landowner demands P478,650.00 as payment for the trees, six times NGCP’s valuation.”

The company noted that they have been in talks with the uncompromising property owner for about 16 months just to settle the ROW dilemmas, but to no avail.

NGCP said the lingering negotiations involved proposed clearing of 1,500 trees planted along the paths of its transmission facilities. It explained that these trees “continue to threaten (the) Agus 2-Kibawe 138 kilovolt line.”

The transmission company asserted that “the landowner’s demanded payment is exorbitant,” while stressing that “we will only pay the fair amount based on standard valuation.”

NGCP added “we have to stick to a standard valuation of property, which is based on verifiable sources such as the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue), private assessors and government financial institutions.”

It averred further that “we cannot just give in to every whimsical demand,” while the company emphasizes prudence in the resolution of such concerns.