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NGCP transmission projects were covered by legal orders

/ 02:29 AM March 24, 2016

This refers to two articles that appeared in Across the Nation section on March 16, 2016.

The first, “Landowners say NGCP ‘running roughshod’ over their rights,” stated in part that “a group of landowners… is crying foul over what [they] said was encroachment into their lands by a power transmission firm without due process and just compensation.”

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We would like to clarify: All transmission projects of the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) comply strictly with all legal and regulatory requirements, including the acquisition of right-of-way and the issuance of a writ of possession.

In the case of Edmundo Cejar and other landowners affected by NGCP’s Matanao-General Santos 138-kiloVolt transmission line project, writs of possession have been issued by the proper courts authorizing NGCP to enter and take possession of the subject properties.

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However, Cejar illegally stopped NGCP from continuing the project, insisting that the property should be evaluated first for just compensation and for the damages caused by the project, in contravention to the established procedure in expropriation cases.

By participating in the expropriation proceedings and accepting partial payment, Cejar had submitted himself to the jurisdiction of the court and its processes. He is therefore bound by the lawful issuances of the court. He cannot unilaterally change court proceedings.

As it stands, Cejar is already in contempt of court, and we are seriously considering filing appropriate charges against him.

The second article, “Brothers climb tower to demand land payment,” stated in part that NGCP still owed the Del Rosario family money for putting up towers on their 7.7-hectare property, that the debt dated 20 years back, and that NGCP also owed them money for mango trees cut down so the towers could be put up.

We would like to clarify: Like in the Cejar case, the acquisition of right-of-way over the Del Rosario property is pending with the proper court, and NGCP has made a provisional deposit as required by the court proceedings, and a writ of possession has been issued by the court. The Del Rosarios also are demanding amounts beyond the provisional deposit, again in contravention of the court proceedings.

Besides, the Del Rosarios have not established their claim of ownership with finality.

As to the 20-year-old debt, this is an obligation of the National Transmission Corp. (NTC). NGCP took over the management and operations of the transmission business only in 2009. All right-of-way issues and claims for payment prior to this time are for NTC to address.

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We want to emphasize that it is NGCP’s mandate under its concession and congressional franchise to maintain, operate and expand the nationwide power transmission grid. Crucial transmission projects of national relevance cannot be stymied by the acts of those who do not respect the rule of law, and who attempt to bully their way to a settlement outside lawful court proceedings. The project construction will push through as scheduled. We will not tolerate lawlessness.

We hope that this clarifies the matter.

—CYNTHIA D. PEREZ-ALABANZA, spokesperson and head of corporate communications and public affairs department, National Grid Corp. of the Philippines

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TAGS: National Grid Corp. of the Philippines, NGCP, transmission lines
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