Culprits in bombing of Hedcor hydro unknown

>> Sunday, October 22, 2017

BAUKO, Mountain Province -- Police are still trying to identify culprits in the bombing of the Hedcor-Sabangan Hydro plant  here in SitioLukong, Otucan Norte on Oct. 10.
New People’s Army rebels were the early suspects but the communist group has not yet come up with a statement on the matter.
This, as provincial officials condemned the bombing that resulted to outage affecting the whole of Mountain Province; and parts of Benguet, Kalinga and Cervantes evening that day.
Gov. Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr. had directed the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to make a resolution condemning the act.
Police investigation said 10 fully-armed individuals who allegedly introduced themselves as members of the NPA disarmed and held at gun point the two security guards who were on duty at the 14-MW Sabangan Hydropower Plant Tapping Point (HPTP). 
After entering the facility, some of the armed men brought a thema sack with unidentified content to the control room of the HPTP and gained entry to the transmission facility to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines’ (NGCP) adjacent to the control room. 
Said men entered the transmission facility by bolt-cutting the interlink wire fence securing the high voltage area. Afterwards, the suspects left and reportedly held hostage the two security guards.
Minutes after the armed men fled the area, a loud single explosion came from the facility. 
The blast confirmed the suspicion of the security guards Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) have been planted by the unidentified perpetrators and were detonated by the latter when they were at a safe distance.
According to the security guards, they were disarmed after they were taken as hostages but were released after the detonation of the IEDs at the hydropower site.
The alleged perpetrators headed towards sitio Madepdepas, Data, Sabangan by foot.
Bauko police received a call from a concerned citizen at 10:37 p.m. that day  reporting fire at the tapping point.
Police coordinated with barangay officials of Otucan, Bauko to validate the information. 
This, as another call was received by the police from the barangay officials that the control room was detonated. 
According to reports, members of the community were the first to respond to the incident.
Barangay officials of Otucan led by Cadwising and Quibarte Alipit of Otucan Norte and Otucan Sur, respectively, held vigil at the tapping point with the staff of the Hydro-Electric Development Corporation (HEDCOR), Inc.
The Mountain Province Provincial Police command, after receiving reports from Bauko PNP at that same night, ordered the conduct of checkpoints in all possible exit and entry points in the province.
In the morning of October 11, the Bauko Municipal Fire Station, Bauko- PNP, Barangay Officials of Otucan Norte and other members of the community responded and investigated the crime scene.
Lacwasan, who was called by the HEDCOR’s management for assistance, was also at the site coordinated with provincial police director Senior Supt. Tellio C. Ngis-o before deployment of police in strategic areas to apprehend the perpetrators.
Ngis-o told Lacwasan that in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, additional police officers and military personnel will be detailed at the HEDCOR’s facilities as well as providing security to its personnel in the province.
Bauko Mayor Abraham B. Akilit later convened emergency meeting for briefing and status report purposes. 
Bauko police chief Luis C. Dangatan, Jr. briefed Akilit and other officials of the result of the initial investigation conducted.
HEDCOR-Sabangan management, barangay officials of Otucan Sur and Norte shared some of their findings.
As reported by HEDCOR, nobody was hurt during the incident and all of their personnel were safe and accounted for.
Present in the meeting were the company’s liaison officer Roberto D. Marrero, HEDCOR, Inc.’s assistant vice president Reynaldo Rafael, HEDCOR-Sabangan, Inc. plant manager Berny Zamoranos and other staff.
An estimated amount of P10 million worth of equipment and other properties were totally wrecked during the bombing. 
Rafael said economic impact of the incident to Hedcor’s property is still unquantifiable.
“Power has already been restored in the communities. Yet, for the company, we will not generate not until the tapping point shall have been restored.  It will take time for HEDCOR to procure the necessary equipment to replace all those that were destroyed and for the facilities to be built,” Rafael said.
Councilor Ricky B. Samidan supported Akilit’s stand in condemning the bombing and assured the body that the Sangguniang Bayan of Bauko will be passing a resolution condemning the act.
PCI John Delmas of the Crime Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) – Mountain Province appealed to Hedcor, Inc. officials’ cooperation to hasten their investigation and so that appropriate charges can be filed against those responsible for the act.

“We will continue investigating this incident so we can be filling cases against the alleged perpetrators.  That is why we are soliciting management’s cooperation. We are appealing for your support so we can address this kind of incident and so that it will not be repeated in the future,” Delmas said. 


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