MANILA, Philippines — On Monday, the head of the House Committee on Public Accounts endorsed…
PBBM supports a ‘comprehensive’ investigation of NGCP concerns
According to a statement released by Malacanang on Wednesday, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has expressed support for the upcoming Senate inquiry into several problems plaguing the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).
On Monday, Marcos met with Senator Raffy Tulfo at Malacanang Palace in Manila to discuss the alleged underperformance of NGCP and the threat to national security posed by China’s alleged sway on the operator of the nation’s electricity grid systems.
“The Senator suggested undertaking a thorough investigation or convening hearings to ascertain the President accepted the reality. The government would regain control of the entity if necessary, according to a statement from the Presidential Communications Office (PCO).
Tulfo claimed he received Marcos’ “full support” when he mentioned his desire to look into the NGCP in a statement made public on Tuesday.
The PCO verified that Marcos had been briefed by Tulfo, chair of the Senate Committee on Energy, about his intention to hold public hearings on the potential national security threat and operational flaws at NGCP.
According to the statement, “Senator Tulfo first expressed his desire to evaluate the effectiveness of the NGCP, which has also sparked concerns among several other senators.”
“Senator Tulfo’s second goal was to examine the security aspect, specifically who controls the corporation.”
Tulfo warned against China’s alleged ability to “remotely access the country’s national grid and sabotage it,” citing an intelligence report, noting that no Filipino technicians are familiar with operating NGCP plants because all manuals and instructions regarding the use of sensitive equipment are written in Chinese characters.
The State Grid Corp. of China owns about 40% of the NGCP, while Henry Sy Jr.-led Filipino businessmen possess 60% of the remaining capital stakes.
Given the ongoing dispute between Beijing and Manila over the West Philippine Sea, Tulfo claimed that China’s control of NGCP poses a “serious” threat to national security.
He also expressed his worry about NGCP’s claimed infractions, including its purported failure to follow timely development and connection in the provinces’ major electricity grid.
In addition to Tulfo, several senators, including Grace Poe, chair of the Senate Committee on Public Services, have stated that they would be open to revisiting the NGCP’s franchise.
Under a 50-year license given by Congress, the NGCP began providing electricity transmission services in 2009.
The NGCP is required to run and maintain the grid, transmission system, and associated infrastructure at all times by industry standards under Section 3 of Republic Act 9511.
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