Mindanao landowners seek payment for Transco land use

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Non-government organization Pilipinas Para sa Pilipino Inc. (PPP) has asked state-run National Transmission Corp. (Transco) to stop charging transmission fees to electricity consumers in Mindanao, until after the right-of-way issue affecting some 122 landowners has been settled.

In a letter to Transco president Rolando Bacani, PPP counsel Paterno Esmaquel also asked Transco to stop seeking funds from Congress to settle these right-of-way issues, noting that the government firm has been appropriated billions, specifically for these claims.

Esmaquel said Transco must clarify how it spent these considering that it has yet to settle the claims of hundreds of landowners in Mindanao.

Failure to account for the use of billions of pesos allocated for right-of-way claims will warrant the filing of a plunder case against the responsible Transco officers, he said.

“Our client [PPP] shall and will oppose the proposed budget of Transco for 2013 and initiate a congressional investigation on how Transco had used and spent the reported annual appropriations from Congress to settle the right-of-way claims of 122 affected landowners and the disposition of the billions of pesos of transmission fees collected from millions of electric consumers,” Esmaquel said in a statement issued over the weekend.

These right-of-way claims of the affected landowners have been long-standing since past administrations.

The 122 landowners, represented by PPP, said that Transco has yet to compensate them for the use of their lands for its transmission towers for more than 20 years.

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