Police hunt cable thieves in Cebu, Bohol, Bacolod



The Manila Times



CEBU: The Philippine National Police (PNP) has assured Globe Telecom it has embarked on a ‘”massive search” to apprehend the people who stole copper cables in the Visayas in the wake of Super Typhoon “Odette” last December 16. Globe Telecom said it has rehabilitated some lines toppled by the typhoon, but some of the copper cables are still being stolen at night. This has affected services to customers in the region. A statement issued by the PNP Public Information Office (PNP-PIO) said they have arrested at least 30 individuals — including third-party contractors and even the company’s field technicians — for allegedly stealing the copper cables. “The Philippine National Police assured full cooperation to Globe Telecom in a massive search against those involved in the illegal cutting and stealing of copper cable that affected the restoration of services to its franchise areas in the Visayas,” the PNP-PIO said. “Following the onslaught of Typhoon Odette last December 2021, Globe reported of the immediate rehabilitation of the facilities, but complete restoration has dragged due to this illegal activity,” it added. Last year, the PNP caught 38 individuals and chased 11 others for this illegal activity. In a statement posted on its website, Globe said that its services are expected to be fully restored as soon as possible, but this has been delayed. “Rampant cable-cutting incidents in Cebu, Bacolod and Bohol are making Globe restoration efforts in areas ravaged by Typhoon Odette more difficult to complete. The strong tropical cyclone toppled cell sites in the Visayas region, a large number of which are in Cebu. Main lines and secondary backup lines were also compromised, including those in Bacolod and Bohol,” Globe said. “Globe is in its final phase of restoration and expects to reach 100 percent before the end of summer. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous individuals have been hampering company activities by stealing copper cables used for telecom services.” PNP chief Gen. Dionardo Bernardo Carlos said that the police are working with the company to address the problem, but some of the suspects they caught were minors. “We are in constant coordination with the security team of the telco company. It’s also unfortunate that some of those apprehended were minors who might have been used to swiftly execute their modus,” Carlos said. Odette ravaged the Philippines last December, including the Caraga Region, before swiftly moving to Central and Western Visayas toward Palawan. It caused over P47 billion worth of damage to agriculture and infrastructure.