Landowner, escorted by cops, stops work on power transmission line in Saranggani
KORONADAL CITY – The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) said construction work along a portion of the Matanao (Davao del Sur)-to-General Santos City 138-KV transmission line in Malungon, Saranggani province, has been stalled after the lot owner stopped field workers.
Melfrance Capulong, speaking for the NGCP in Southern Mindanao, said construction works ceased a few days ago after lot owner, named Edmundo Cejar, with the help of the Malungon police, prevented NGCP field workers from continuing construction works.
Cejar insisted that the property should be evaluated first for just compensation for the damage caused by the project.
However, Capulong said Cejar has already accepted NGCP’s partial payment of almost P500,000 (in the form of a provisional deposit with the court). She said the writ of possession issued by the Regional Trial Court Branch 23 of Sarangani has allowed NGCP “to enter and place in possession and acquire an easement of right-of-way” over the property of the Cejars to construct the Matanao-General Santos 138kV line.
Capulong said the NGCP was already implementing the project, which was designed to strengthen the reliability of the Mindanao grid, when Cejar stopped the construction, with the aid of the Malungon town police.
“These developments are disheartening. Mr. Cejar already accepted NGCP’s provisional deposit, which is considered partial payment for the property,” Capulong quoted a statement from NGCP.
“By participating in the expropriation proceedings, and accepting partial payment, Mr. Cejar submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court, and its processes. The court already issued the Writ of Possession, which authorizes us to continue with the transmission project, pending the determination of just compensation,” the NGCP statement said.
“Mr. Cejar is bound by the lawful issuance of the court. He cannot obey court procedures when accepting payment, and then unilaterally change his mind and defy the court whenever it suits him,” stressed NGCP.
“As transmission concessionaire, NGCP was granted the right of eminent domain under our congressional franchise. This is in recognition of the public service nature of the transmission business,” the NGCP stressed.
“This grants the holder the right to take property while just compensation is being discussed. This is to prevent undue delays in the implementation of national development projects. Mr. Cejar, by his unlawful defiance, defeats this very purpose,” the company said.
The Matanao-General Santos 138-kiloVolt transmission project spans 72.60 kilometers and is being completed in compliance with the N-1 contingency requirement of the Philippine Grid Code. N-1 contingency is the ability of the grid to withstand the loss of a major system component with minimal disruption in the system.
NGCP is a privately owned corporation in charge of operating, maintaining and developing the country’s power grid. It transmits high-voltage electricity through “power superhighways” that include the interconnected system of transmission lines, towers, substations and related assets.
Cejar could not be reached for comment. SFM
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