Huge power outage hits Philippines


A massive power outage hit the main Philippine island of Luzon, including the capital Manila, today, disrupting communications and transportation, officials and radio reports said.

It affected other plants, causing a Luzon-wide outage, Napocor President Jesus Alcordo said in a radio interview. He said his staff were checking the cause of the breakdown.

Mr Alcordo could not say when power would be restored.

Radio and television stations went off the air for several minutes when the blackout occurred shortly after 4 p.m. (8 a.m. Irish time). Traffic jams were reported in parts of Manila, a metropolis of about 10 million people.

The outage also hit the presidential palace and Manila international airport, which immediately switched to emergency generators.

"I would not read any meaning into it", presidential national security adviser Mr Roilo Golez said.

The outage occurred about three hours after President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo left for Brunei to attend a summit of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

It followed local newspaper reports that some disgruntled young army officers were plotting a coup against Arroyo.

The presidential palace has dismissed the coup rumours as idiocy and melodramatic political fantasy.