Why authorities took long to rescue man who climbed Marikina electric post

November 23, 2023 - 5:31 PM
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Man in pole
A man found crossing electric wires for over 30 hours in Barangay Calumpang in Marikina City from Nov. 21 to 22, 2023 (The Philippine STAR/Walter Bollozos)

Why did it take so long for authorities to retrieve the man who climbed Marikina City‘s electric post?

Residents in the barangays of Calumpang, Barangka and San Roque had to deal with electricity loss after a 39-year-old man alias “Dencio” initially refused to go down from the power cables after climbing to it at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, November 21.

Marikina City Chief of Police Colonel Earl Castillo said the man was allegedly sleeping in the LRT-2 Santolan Station first but was asked to go away.

“Dencio” then climbed a pole, walked over the cables and then went over to a taller pole that was 150 feet tall, which authorities said was equivalent to around five stories high.

The pole was located at the corner of Pambuli Street and Old J.P. Rizal Street in Barangay Calumpang at Marikina.

The Bureau of Fire Protection negotiated with him for several hours but was not successful.

“Dencio” was also handed food and clothes for the duration, but he refused them all. They also placed a cushion bag below in case he fell.

Electricity firm Meralco had to cut off the power supply of the cables he was in to prevent him from being electrocuted.

A nearby school suspended its classes because the situation “became too hot for the students,” according to Jesus Flock Academy security guard Nonoy Pamilara.

Other nearby malls and businesses also stopped operations due to the lack of electricity.

The incident likewise caused vehicular traffic along Marcos Highway, which sees thousands of cars passing by every day.

Meralco sub-transmission services head Abet Castillo explained that the first pole that “Dencio” had climbed to “had a distribution system that was part of a sub-transmission line.”

“The distribution line was attached to transformers that provide power to our customers,” he was quoted as saying before, explaining the power shutdown.

It was estimated that over 4,000 Marikina households lost electricity as a result of “Dencio’s” stunt.

Meanwhile, he initially evaded attempts at rescue efforts by walking in another direction whenever authorities would come close to him. He would go towards the center of the cables instead.

According to News5, the man’s brother went to the scene around noon on the next day. He also said the man goes home to him in San Mateo.

Authorities hoisted him so he could convince the man to go down from the pole.

Reports said “Dencio’s” nephew also came into the scene and additionally convinced the man to climb down. The nephew said they had a hard time convincing “Dencio” since he threatened to hurt them.

“Ayaw po eh, pati daw po kami sasaktan eh. Bumaba na lang daw kami para wala daw masktan,” the nephew said.

“Dencio” also attempted to escape and cross over to a nearly electric line when rescuers finally got a hold of him.

“Nagtangkang tumakas, kumapit sa kabilang wire. Muntik na. Mabuti nahatak agad namin, tapos ‘yun, nababa na po namin,” his nephew said.

“Dencio” was finally brought down from the electric post at past 4 p.m. on Wednesday, November 22.

His siblings said he was advised to be brought to a mental facility in Mandaluyong City for further assessment.

However, they said he has no history of mental disorder, although he became addicted to illegal drugs.