Cotabato City, Feb. 22, 2003 -- Three more National Power Corp. (Napocor) transmission towers were blown up by suspected Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) guerrillas in Lanao provinces and North Cotabato provinces.

Reports reaching the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said a Napocor tower in Kitutaan Village in Carmen town, North Cotabato, was downed by suspected MILF rebels at around 5 a.m.

The same reports said the MILF guerrillas planted improvised explosive devices on the towers.

Military spokesman Maj. Julieto Ando said the tower was the eighth Napocor tower sabotaged by the Moro rebels in the boundaries of Maguindanao and North Cotabato provinces since hostilities started last week.

Ando said four improvised explosives were planted at the bottom of the tower but only one exploded.

The military spokesman said the series of sabotage on transmission towers in the region has brought power shortage in the region for the past days.

He said provinces of the North Cotabato, Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat have been suffering at least three hours brownout daily since last week due to MILF attacks on transmission towers.

In Lanao del Norte, another Napocor transmission tower bogged down by an undetermined number of MILF rebels in Upper Tingin-Tinging village, Kauswagan town Thursday morning.

Reports reaching AFP headquarters said the tower was destroyed when a homemade bomb exploded 2 a.m., which damaged two steel posts of the tower.

In Lanao del Sur, around 10 armed Moro rebels, under a certain Commander Jaguar, destroyed the tower line of another Napocor tower in Balaon village, Bubong town, using a steel saw and acetylene.

The rebels subsequently withdrew toward Basak area onboard a red Tamaraw. Sketchy reports reaching Camp Aguinaldo revealed that five persons were reported injured when another bomb exploded at a shopping center in South Cotabato Friday afternoon.

Military reports said the latest explosion occurred around 5:25 p.m. in front of the parking area fronting the Koronadal Commercial Complex in Marbel town in South Cotabato.

Reports added those injured were passersby although their identities were not immediately available.

Initial investigation showed that the improvised bomb was placed under the muffler of one vehicle. Another bomb was found at another vehicle parked in the same area.

Investigators said that shortly before the explosion, there were several calls received by the establishment warning that Koronadal would be the next terrorist target.

For its part, Malacaņang yesterday said it would not hesitate to declare the MILF a terrorist organization if its members would pursue their terrorist activities in Mindanao.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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