PHILIPPINES - Total Power Failure 24 Provinces and 20 Cities, Sabotage Suspect, But Official Says 'Systems Failure' with Cause Unknown : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

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Title: Mindanao Blacked Out

April 11, 2000

By Bobby Timonera PDI Mindanao Bureau

ILIGAN CITY--The entire Mindanao and its 16 million people were left without electricity yesterday afternoon after suspected Moro rebels sabotaged a vital power transmission line in Lanao del Norte, amid ''fierce'' fighting between government troops and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

''It was likely the handiwork of rebels. We cannot discount that,'' said Pete Cheung, spokesperson of the National Power Corp.'s Mindanao Regional Center, after the power line was cut in the town of Balo-i, causing a total power failure in Mindanao's 24 provinces and 20 cities.

Power had been restored in most of Mindanao by 6:30 p.m., according to Maximo Adiong, head of Napocor's Regional Control Center.

The military's Southern Command spokesperson, Col. Hilario Atendido, said the blackout was a ''systems failure,'' adding: ''We do not know what was the cause, but we are checking reports of possible MILF involvement.''

But the separatist group's spokesperson, Mohaqer Iqbal, said that the rebels ''have no program to sabotage power lines.''

Still, he said, there has been heavy fighting since Saturday in at least three towns in the Lanao area, and ''anything can still happen.''

Gun battles between government soldiers and the MILF have been raging in some towns of Lanao del Norte since March 16. At least 278 rebels and 18 soldiers and police have been killed in clashes in the southern Philippines since last month, when hundreds of rebels briefly occupied the town hall and main road in Talayan. A number of the clashes have been near hydroelectric power plants. (Daily Inquirer, April 11)


-- (, April 10, 2000

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