Power grid answers land dispute issues-A A +A
Monday, October 22, 2012
NATIONAL Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) spokesperson lawyer Cynthia Alabanza said all avenues are being explored to peacefully settle a dispute over several lots in Beckel, La Trinidad, Benguet.
Alabanza said two of the disputed lots were recently identified as public lands while a third lot was reportedly paid an easement fee.
According to Alabanza, maintenance work in the area is long overdue.
“We have been asking to enter [the area] since 2010. We do not want to enter just for the sake of entering. There are safety concerns we need to address. If installations within the area are not properly maintained to the standard by which we maintain our lines, baka bumagsak o magka-aberya sa mga transmission lines na ito,” Alabanza said.
She added these lines carry 69,000 volts of electricity and fallen lines would prove catastrophic to the community.
“Also, I have come to learn that these lines serve a part of Benguet Electric Cooperative’s franchise area. This only means we truly have to stick to our commitment of properly maintaining these lines to ensure quality service to the people being served by these lines who have nothing to do with the dispute of these properties,” the lawyer said.
This is the reason why NGCP is looking for ways for a more expedient resolution to the issue even as an injunction case was already lodged in court, Alabanza said.
“We are considering holding another dialogue with landowners, especially since we want to let them know of our concerns,” she added.
Earlier, around 500 residents cried foul over electric poles in their properties that were erected despite protests and requests for compensation from NGCP. These poles were allegedly erected as early as 1977.
But Alabanza, in an earlier statement, said, “The payment for easement rights in the areas was already settled with some of the landowners even prior to 2001 by the government-owned National Power Corporation.”
According to Alabanza, leaving the lines alone, even in disputed properties all over the country, is not even a consideration.
“Even if we are a private company, it is not lost to us that we have a public service purpose,” she said.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on October 23, 2012.