Government must take back control of NGCP

Government must take back control of NGCP

IF THE PBBM ADMINISTRATION doesn’t do something right now to nip in the bud the issue on who’s really controlling the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), we might wake up one day to total darkness.

In its corporate profile, the NGCP describes itself as “a privately owned corporation in charge of operating, maintaining, and developing the country’s state-owned power grid, an interconnected system that transmits gigawatts of power at thousands of volts from where it is made to where it is needed.”

Senator Raffy “Idol” Tulfo earlier called the attention of the President to the apparent Chinese control of NGCP, saying that it poses serious national security threat to the country, considering the tensions between China and the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea.

To recall, during the term of then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo the government-owned and controlled National Transmission Corporation (TransCo) operated the power grid from March 2003 until January 2009, when operations and maintenance of it were transferred to the NGCP, 40% of which is owned by the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), while the remaining 60% is owned by a group of Filipino businessmen led by tycoons Henry Sy Jr. and Robert Coyiuto Jr.

I agree with the feisty journalist-turned-lawmaker that even if the SGCC only owns 40% of the NGCP, the shareholder’s agreement gives it the power to veto board resolutions of majority shareholders.

“Idol” also told PBBM about the different alleged violations of the NGCP in its franchise contract, like its failure to follow timely development and connectivity in the main grid in various provinces.

He suggested to return the operation of the transmission grid to the government-owned and controlled National Transmission Corporation (TransCo), while its maintenance is left to the privately-owned National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).

Senators JV Ejercito and Risa Hontiveros echoed Tulfo’s concerns, including the move that the government take back control of the grid.

According to the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) headed by Secretary Cheloy Garafil, the President agreed with Tulfo’s proposal to assess the performance of the NGCP.

PBBM also expressed that the government will take control of the agency if needed.

I think this is the most practical solution.

As an old adage goes, “prevention is better than cure.”


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