‘No-el on no-el’ can mar polls, says Recto

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Sunday called on the government to act swiftly on the blackouts hitting large areas of Mindanao, saying power failures on the island of 12.5-million voters on election day could affect the results of the national polls.

"No-el due to no-el, or no elections due to no electricity will raise the political temperature there. That would be a big problem. It will make the Kidapawan incident a mere mosquito bite," Recto said.

Recto cited several reasons why such a scenario would "have frightening repercussions."

"A Mindanaoan is in the ballot for the presidency. It's a tight race. One region, one big city can make a difference on the final presidential and vice presidential vote tally, so you can just imagine the frustration of the Mindanaoans if they won't be able to vote for their bets on May 9," Recto said.

"Almost one in four voters are in Mindanao. It has twice as many voters of Metro Manila. If the blackouts are happening in Manila or Quezon City, this would be a very big issue," Recto said.

Of the 54,363,844 registered voters for the May 9 polls, 12,457,285 will vote in Mindanao's 33 cities and 422 towns.

Recto said intermittent blackouts have been plaguing major cities in Mindanao recently.

"Darkness is the best breeding ground for all sorts of conspiracy theories. Evil lurks in the dark. But if there's light, if there's electricity, all speculations, and even sabotage plans, will stop," he said.

Recto is urging the two task forces formed by MalacaAang to deliver on their task to ensure power for May elections and address the problem of rotating blackouts in Mindanao.

Energy Secretary Zenaida Monsada has announced that the two operating task forces-the Power Task Force Election and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Securing Energy Facilities-are "conducting preparatory works, maintenance, and monitoring to provide power supply come election period."

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has admitted that Mindanao residents may suffer longer power interruptions this year due to delay in repairs of electric towers earlier bombed in North Cotabato and Lanao del Sur.

Source: The Standard