MANILA—The Department of Energy (DOE) has strongly condemned the attack launched by the New People’s Army (NPA) on the 10.6-megawatt Pulanai hydroelectric power plant project in Barangay Lumbayao, Valencia City in Bukidnon province last Saturday.
“This attack is totally unwarranted, considering that it is not a military installation but a development project that seeks to contribute to uplifting the socioeconomic conditions of the people,” Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said in a news release issued Tuesday.
“This attack will not only stall the hydro project’s construction timeline, it will also set back efforts to improve the quality of life of the people of Bukidnon.”
He said that in response to the attack, the department has formed an inter-agency task force that would secure energy facilities and ensure the completion of the project. The task force consists of the DOE, the national police, the armed forces, National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP), National Transmission Corp. (TransCo), National Electrification Administration (NEA), and the National Power Corp. (NPC) with the assistance of the DOE’s regional office in Mindanao.
The energy chief further noted that while the National Democratic Front has been urging the Duterte administration to resume their peace talks, “NPA attacks on a development project such as this do not inspire confidence that they are sincere in returning to the negotiating table”.
The plant broke ground last Dec. 9 with no less than President Rodrigo Duterte gracing the event. According to reports, the power plant project was attacked by 20 NPA rebels last February 25.
The hydropower project is expected to be commissioned on the first half of 2019.