By NITZ ARANCON
and NORA SORIÑO
GSD-Iligan bureau chief .
CAMP Alagar over the weekend said it decided to increase the number of police officers it would deploy to various polling precincts throughout Region 10 from some six thousand to 8,206.
Lt. Col. Surki Sereñas, Camp Alagar spokesman, the decision came even before Brig. Gen. Timoteo Pacleb was replaced Friday.
Sereñas said the new police director for northern Mindanao, Brig. Gen. Rafael Santiago, has opted to stick to the plan and just oversee the execution of Camp Alagar’s plan, including the deployment of troops.
Camp Alagar, he said, has disapproved all applications for leaves of absences of officers because they are needed in today’s elections. Those who are confined in hospitals are exempted though.
“Bisan kadtong mga police trainees, gi-recall to sila ipa-duty,” Sereñas said.
The police officers who would secure the polling precincts across Region 10 would be backed up by Armyy soldiers.
“Naa poy atong nga sundalo sa 4th ID nga gi-deploy sa mga polling precinct uban sa atong mga police silbing augmentation force gikan sa Camp Evangelista,” the official said.
Northern Mindanao and the rest of Mindanao have been placed under a “Category Red” status of grave concern by the Commission on Elections.
But even before the Comelec declaration, said Sereñas, five cities in the region were already under category red because of intense political rivalry, the presence of private armies, and because of their record of election-related violence.
Meanwhile in Iligan City, contingency plans of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines are already in place to monitor and quickly address any power grid trouble in today’s elections and in the coming days.
Beth Ladaga, NGCP communications lead specialist, said NGCP’s critical units, such as systems operations and prerations and maintenance units remain fully staffed and operational.
Line crews, engineers, pilots maintenance and other technical personnel are also strategistically positioned in NGCP’s substations to quickly respond to power trippings should they occur.
NGCP’s Integrated Disaster Action Plan has prescribed action and other measures. With its security and other requirements already set, NGCP can assure reliable power transmission services, before, during and after the elections.
The Iligan Light and Power Inc., the city’s sole power distributer, said it is equally ready for any eventuality that might occur during today’s elections.
On its Facebook page then, Ilpi said that it is readying its “island mode” operations. The procedure, to note, relates to isolation from the national grid or local electricity distribution networks. Generators connected to electricity grid goes into parallel mode which can generate power transmission independently. This is in case of power failure.
Meanwhile, the National Power Corp. ordered the release of water from Lake Lanao to fill the impounding plants of the cascading Agus Complex to ensure sufficient power supply in Mindanao during the midterm elections, Undersecretary Romeo Montenegro, deputy executive director of the Mindanao Development Authority said.
Montenegro said the release of water was necessary to make sure “there is enough level of the reserve should there be a need to kick in their capacities.”
“Some of the operating units of Agus Complex are on economic shut down or adjusted economic flow, that’s being reserved in time for the need to kick in during the elections,” he said.
Majority of the hydropower sources of the island come from the state-run Agus and Pulangui hydroelectric power complexes, comprising seven plants namely, Agus 1, Agus 2, Agus 4, Agus 5, Agus 6 and Agus 7 in the Lanao provinces and Pulangui 4 in Bukidnon.
Collectively, the plants have a total installed capacity of 982.1 mw.
Although Mindanao has an excess power supply, Montenegro said “we can never predict 100 percent that there’s not going to be power interruptions or power supply problem on the Election Day itself not just in Barmm but all other areas in Mindanao.”
“We cannot predict the future because there are a number of triggers for a possible interruption to our supply situation all across Mindanao,” he said.
Nilo Geroche, chief of energy industry management division of the Department of Energy, said the Energy Task Force Election, established by Department Circular 2018-05-0014, had been tasked to ensure “adequate and reliable energy supply before, during, and after elections.”
He said sufficient power supply is necessary so that the integrity of the results of the elections would not be questioned.
The task force comprises Napocor, DOE, National Electrification Administration, National Transmission Corp., Philippine National Oil Co., Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp., National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, and Manila Electric Company as the members of the core group.
The task force has eight members – National Electrification Administration, Napocor, National Transmission Corp., Philippine National Oil Company, Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp., Philippine Electricity Market Corp., National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, and the Manila Electric Company. There are six other supporting organizations that are also onboard.
It will work closely with the national security group composed of the National Security Council, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, Bureau of Fire Protection and the Philippine Coast Guard.
Geroche said electric cooperatives and distribution utilities had already created contingency plans for the upcoming elections to ensure a successful conduct of the midterm polls. (with Antonio L. Colina IV of Mindanews)