NGCP, Mindanao local govts move to solve right-of-way problems

by Lenie Lectura – December 13, 2015

from Business Mirror

THE National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) has teamed up with local governments in Mindanao to stop the escalating right-of-way (ROW) violations on the island by lobbying for the passage of a provincial ordinance to criminalize the planting of trees and other activities beneath transmission lines.

The NGCP recently gave a series of presentations to government officials to show how the intentional planting of trees under transmission lines adversely affects power delivery to the provinces of Lanao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Bukidnon, North Cotabato, Maguindanao, Zamboanga City and the rest of the Mindanao grid.

Local officials were also briefed on the importance of safeguarding the NGCP’s transmission facilities and the effect of ROW violations on the already critical Mindanao power situation.

“ROW violations, along with bombing attacks, have become the significant problems for the NGCP in Mindanao. It will be very difficult for us to deliver the available power supply to distribution utilities if we continue to encounter these problems,” the NGCP said. “As it stands, the island is in the midst of a power-supply deficiency, and these disruptive acts only aggravate the suffering of the Mindanaoans,” the company added.

The NGCP hopes that its continuing information drive and coordination with local government officials will help resolve ROW issues in the region. The company has repeatedly appealed to the government and the Army for assistance in resolving the problem.

The NGCP is also appealing to the public to help monitor the safety of the towers so that transmission services remain uninterrupted.

The NGCP reported last month that Balao Pundag, a landowner, demanded P478,650 as payment in exchange for access to his property so that the NGCP can clear the trees posing a threat to the transmission lines.

Some 1,500 trees planted along the NGCP’s ROW are within Pundag’s property. These trees continue to threaten the Agus 2 Kibawe 138-kiloVolt line.

However, the NGCP’s valuation of the trees, based on Lanao del Sur local government’s own Schedule of Market Value, amounts only to P77,750. The landowner’s asking price is six times the NGCP’s valuation.

The NGCP legally holds the ROW in the areas near and around the transmission towers and posts. The assets, however, are still government-owned.

The NGCP is a privately owned corporation in charge of operating, maintaining and developing the country’s power grid.

The consortium, which holds the 25-year concession contract to operate the country’s power-transmission network, is comprised of Monte Oro Grid Resources Corp. led by Henry Sy Jr., Calaca High Power Corp. led by Robert Coyiuto Jr., and the State Grid Corp. of China as technical partner.