Mayor Abby calls for community action to stop theft of streetlight wires in Makati; orders police, barangays to step up patrols

September 1, 2017
Ref.: Makati ICRD, 8998938



Mayor Abby calls for community action to stop theft of streetlight wires in Makati; orders police, barangays to step up patrols



Makati Mayor Abby Binay today called for “unified and sustained community action” against the rampant theft of streetlight wires and accessories in various barangays which has cost the city government over P5.7 million since July last year.

“We as a community must take action and put a stop to the rampant stealing of wires and accessories of our street lampposts that repeatedly plunges many of our streets in darkness,” Mayor Abby said.

The mayor noted that aside from causing financial burden on the city, violators of the Anti-Pilferage of Electricity and Theft of Electric Transmission Lines/Materials Act of 1994 are also putting residents and the general public in grave danger.

“These lawbreakers have not only put to waste millions of pesos worth of taxpayers’ money, but have also seriously endangered residents and other innocent civilians passing through affected streets,” she underscored.

She urged residents and the public to promptly report such incidents to the police or notify the city government through My Makati Facebook page so the culprits could be arrested.

She also ordered the Makati police and the barangays to step up patrols especially in areas where wire theft is frequently committed.

“The consequences of this crime cannot be taken lightly. We must be vigilant and promptly report incidents of wire theft to the authorities," she said.

Criminal elements are known to prey more on pedestrians in dark, unlit streets at night, which also become accident-prone to motorists. Electrocution is another hazard resulting from wire theft and also illegal tapping of government-owned electric panel boards.

Mayor Abby has asked Makati police chief S/Supt. Gerardo Umayao to increase police visibility in areas with high incidence of wire theft based on the records of the city engineering office, directing the latter to provide the list to the Makati Police Department.

"I expect to see results in the coming weeks. It should either be more arrests, or fewer incidents of wire theft," she said.

She also urged the police to go after individuals or establishments that are buying stolen wires and accessories and arrest them for violating the Anti-Fencing Law.

In a report to the mayor, OIC-City Engineer Elmer Acuesta gave a breakdown of the financial costs incurred by the city amounting to P5,754,424, as follows: P4,426,480 for total cost of materials and P1,327,944 for labor cost.

Acuesta also reported 1,350 damaged street light poles and 54,000 meters of damaged street light wire connections resulting from wire thefts and illegal connections.

Under R.A. 7832, violation of its Section 3 on Theft of Electric Power Transmission Lines and Materials carries the penalty of reclusion temporal (12 years and 1 day to 20 years) or a fine ranging from P50,000 to P100,000, or both, at the discretion of the court.

On the other hand, illegal use of electricity cited under Section 2 of the said law which includes illegal connections and jumpers is punishable with prision mayor (6 years and 1 day to 12 years) or a fine ranging from P10,000 to P20,000, or both, at the discretion of the court.

Meanwhile, the two suspects apprehended by the police last August 11 at Makati South Cemetery for illegal tapping or pilferage have been charged before the city prosecutor's office for violation of Section 2 of R.A. 7832 and are awaiting trial. They were identified as Mark Gil Seno Gonzalez, 27, single and a resident of Barangay Olympia, and 37-year old Gerry Hondrada Demalgen, married and jobless, residing at Manila South Cemetery.



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