Transco to tackle land issues in Mindanao

by Riza T. Olchondra – 02:05 AM February 6th, 2016

from Philippine Daily Inquirer

The National Transmission Corp. (Transco) will make an inventory of land along transmission lines in Mindanao as part of efforts to resolve right of way issues that hamper energy security in the power-starved island, the Department of Energy (DOE) said Friday.

A multisectoral group called the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Security of Energy Facilities (IATFSEF) was created to address transmission security and right-of-way (ROW) issues in Mindanao and TransCo was part of that group.

Transco was assigned to tackle ROW issues, DOE said.

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

Other agencies were tasked as follows: the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines for security matters, the Department of Justice (DOJ) to study legal issues, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) for the community relations and DOE for the information, education, and communication (IEC) campaign.

On security concerns, 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, DOE Secretary Zenaida Y. Monsada said in a statement.

Monsada also underlines that the government is seeking all legal recourse following the persistent concerns compromising the country’s expensive power facilities.

In this regard, the legal sub-task 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.

Moreover, stronger community relations through massive IEC campaigns and strengthened corporate social responsibility activities are some of the measures that will help resolve the matter.

With the task force activated, the government is determined to have a swift resolution of the bombings of transmission facilities and ROW in Mindanao to ensure progress and peace and order in the region.

The task force is directed to report to the President on its progress every week.

The task force formally convened for the first time following the Principals’ Meeting of the Mindanao Power Monitoring Committee (MPMC) held in Davao City on Feb. 4.

The meeting was attended by representatives from the DOE, Mindanao Development Authority led by Secretary Luwalhati R. Antonino, the National Electrification Administration, the National Power Corp., the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management, TransCo, NGCP, the Mindanao Electric Power Alliance and the Association of Mindanao Rural Electric Cooperatives.

With the recent transmission situation in the area becoming of national interest, Secretary Monsada relayed that early this week, President Aquino created the IATFSEF with the DOE as the lead agency.