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PIA Press Release

Telephone exec calls for community support against copper thieves

BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya (12 October) -- A top official of a telephone company in Northern Luzon recently urged villagers to be vigilant against suspected members of a robbery syndicate preying on telephone wires for profit.

Engr. Peter Dumelod, Digital Telecommunications Company (DIGITEL) area commercial operations manager for Cagayan Valley and Cordillera regions said they have become helpless in securing their telephone lines due to regular occurrence of theft and robbery incidents in their area.

"We are soliciting the help and support of our customers, local officials and the police since we cannot guard our lines from time to time," Dumelod said.

Dumelod made the appeal after P5 million - worth of cable wires and revenue losses was traced to successive robbery incidents in the province from July to September this year, believed to be the handiwork of a syndicate which had established connections with junk shop owners in Metro Manila.

DIGITEL has filed before the provincial prosecutor's office here theft and robbery cases against a certain Eric Lopez, the alleged leader of the robbery/theft group who is suspected to have established its residence in this town and somewhere in Pangasinan province.

The telephone chief said the rampant incidents, usually occurred from 11:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. happened in the towns of Bayombong, Solano and Bagabag in Nueva Vizcaya province and Lagawe and Banaue towns in Ifugao province.

Citing police investigation, he said heavily armed men on board vans have been sighted as transporters of copper cable wires to Metro Manila.

Copper cable wires of various sizes are sold at P500.00 to P700.00 a kilo in various junkshops in Metro Manila.

After cutting the copper wires, the thieves burn their insulators before transporting them to their buyers.

"These incidents are actually the very reason why our telecommunication system have been paralyzed for a few days during the past months since we still have to acquire replacements from Pangasinan province," Dumelod said. (PIA NVizcaya) [top]

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