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Blast topples NGCP transmission towers
Philippines Created: 12 Oct 2015
Pikit, North Cotabato – Two powerful improvised explosive devices (IEDs) toppled two transmission towers of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) in Barangay Batulawan here Friday evening and triggered a four-hour blackout in parts of the province and the whole of Maguindanao and Cotabato City.
Senior Inspector Sindatu Karim, chief of Pikit police, said the explosions were so powerful that they were heard from the Pikit municipal station, at least nine kilometers from the blast site.
Minutes after the explosions, Pikit town experienced blackouts, which lasted until dawn Saturday, Karim said.
Karim and his men proceeded to the blast site along with operatives from Task Force Pikit and elements of the 7th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.
According to Karim, the towers were located about 300 to 400 meters away from a militia detachment along the national highway in Barangay Batulawan.
He estimated that about six to seven IEDs were planted in adjoining steel towers.
“These were very powerful bombs that it toppled the steel towers,” Karim said.
A statement from the NGCP said that power in the affected areas has been restored.
“NGCP immediately began restoration efforts as soon as the area was secured. Power transmission service to the affected areas, namely Cotabato City, North and South Cotabato, and Maguindanao, was restored on 10 Oct, 2:33 a.m,” the NGCP statement read.
“NGCP assures the public that the power grid remains intact and operational. NGCP is coordinating with law enforcement authorities to investigate the incident,” it added.
Authorities have yet to identify the group and the motive behind the blasts.
Karim said extortion could be one of the angles but they have to dig deeper their probe.
“We saw a pattern here. Every time election seasons approaches, NGCP towers are toppled down. But we have yet to investigate further,” he said.
The attack was the fourth staged this year that targeted NGCP towers in Pikit, North Cotabato and nearby Pagalungan in Maguindanao.
Previous attacks on NGCP power lines were blamed on the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) which also operates in Pikit.
On January 13 and 18 this year, suspected extortionists toppled Tower 26 and Tower 41 in Barangay Ginakit, Pagalungan, Maguindanao and Barangay Batulawan, Pikit, North Cotabato, respectively.
Like last night’s attacks, bombs were crafted from 60 mm or 81 mm mortar shells with mobile phones as triggering devices.
The January bomb attacks also sent part of North Cotabato, the whole of Maguindanao and Cotabato City in total blackout for about three hours. (with a report from Elena L. Aben)
http://www.mb.com.ph/blast-topples-ngcp-transmission-towers/
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Source: Robert Riedlinger/Agnes Ingvarsdottir

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