NGCP’s project meets opposition from 15 families

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Thursday, December 12, 2013


THE National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) will be expanding its transmission system to address overloading problems in the Cebu-Mandaue area.

However, the project, called the Colon-Cebu Transmission Line Project, will displace 15 families in Barangay Talamban, Cebu City, where NGCP plans to expropriate lots where its posts will be mounted.

In a public hearing organized yesterday by the City Council, Cheryl Chua of Talamban said the 15 families are opposing the project.

One of the reasons for their opposition is that NGCP’s offer for their property is “too low.”

Chua said that based on the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) zonal value, lots in the Talamban area are at P20,000 per square meter but NGCP is offering to buy the land at only P8,000 per square meter.

Demolition

Apart from the price, Chua and other affected landowners want NGCP to pay for structures that will be demolished when the project is implemented.

She said they also fear the health risks associated with living near high-voltage transmission lines.

Chua also questioned the change in NGCP’s plan. She said that in the initial project plan, their properties would not be affected.

NGCP legal counsel Marie Capanas said the original plan had to be changed because it would have affected 30 families.

The original plan for the project involved the installation of bigger transmission poles, which will need a right-of-way of at least 30 meters wide.

“It's really quite big. So there will be more houses that will be affected,” she said.

In the revised plan, Capanas said, NGCP will use steel towers that will need a right-of-way of only about 12 meters wide.

Health

Capanas also said NGCP is willing to negotiate with the lot owners over the price of the lots. “If they want more, we would welcome any suggestions,” she added.

Julia Echavez of the NGCP environment management division, on the other hand, assured that the United States National Academy of Sciences and other international research groups have not found any evidence that constant exposure to electromagnetic field (EMF) causes childhood leukemia and other types of cancer.

Echavez said the NGCP also got a certification from the Department of Health that EMF levels of its transmission lines conform with international standards.

Despite NGCP's explanation, the council yesterday tasked the committee on energy, headed by Councilor Nestor Archival, to have another meeting with affected residents and transmission firm officials.

The council wants the committee to come up with a win-win solution on the issue.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 12, 2013.

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