Press Release
May 6, 2016

May 9, 10 must be 'National No Blackout Days' - Recto

Senator Ralph Recto urged government to ensure that May 9 and 10 are "National No Blackout Days" as no power in certain areas could lead to no elections that would deny people the right to vote and delay the canvassing of election returns.

Recto made the appeal as another transmission tower in Lanao del Sur was bombed and toppled on the night of May 3, the 6th incident in Mindanao this year.

Recto is worried that rolling blackouts in Mindanao, "or in any area in the country, " could be used by election saboteurs to trip power in certain areas, like where schools are, "to prevent people from voting" even if supply is adequate.

The greater danger is that this can be used as an excuse for bad people to frustrate the will of the people on election day, Recto said.

Recto urged law enforcement groups to closely guard the "whole length of the power system from grids, towers to distribution, even transformers near schools."

He called on rebel groups, like the NPA and MILF, on whose controlled territories pass transmission lines, "to guard and guarantee" that nothing bad happens to towers and all power facilities.

Recto said the work of preventing a "no-el due to no-el" on May 9 should cross party lines and ideologies..

He cited several reasons why a 'no-el caused no-el" in Mindanao would "have frightening repercussions."

"A Mindanaoan is in the ballot for the presidency. It can still be 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 is in Mindanao. It has twice as many voters as Metro Manila," he said

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

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

With elections in four days, contingency plans should have been finalized, Recto said, "including checking electrical wiring of schools and sourcing of locally-available portable generators that will power voting precincts."

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