Terminate NGCP franchise —Senator Gatchalian

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The Senate Committee on energy, chaired by Senator Win Gatchalian, will recommend to terminate the franchise of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) if proven to have violated the Constitution.

Speaking in the Senate Committee on Energy hearing on alleged security concerns over China’s alleged control of NGCP, Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi admitted he does not know the country’s power supply exposure to sabotage.

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. admitted there are security threats to the country’s power grid but guaranteed certain measures may be adopted to address the same.

Gatchaian pressed Esperon on anydanger or threat to national security as far as the country’s transmission grid is concerned.

“This actually is a lingering question in many of the legislatures and I want to answer that basic question during the course of this hearing,” said Esperon.

“But I must that on the basic question, is there any danger or any threat in so far as the national grid is concerned? There are , there are. But I’d caution immediately against being in panic about it because there are also measures that we can adopt to allow NGCP as its doing now to continue operations,” he added.

Cusi also told the Senate panel, he said they are yet to conduct an audit of NGCP because NCGP has remained defiant and has even elevated the issue before a court.

However, NGCP President Anthony Almeda stressed they were not objecting to an audit, but insisted it should be done by the Energ Regulatory Commission and the and not the DOE and Transco.

He also guaranteed that Filipinos are in control of the power grid and China are not incapable of shutting it off.

But Almeda’s assurance that China cannot stop our power supply was strongly denied by Transco Consultant Professor Rowaldo del Mundo.

Senator Richard Gordon, on the otherhand, questioned why Chineae nationals were the signatories to some contracrs. He also inquired into the refusal of NGCP to subject the firm to an audit.

Gatchalian questioned why the NGCP Technical officer ia a Chinese. He quizzed energy and NCGP officials why the supervision and running the “intestine” of the country’s power line given to a foreigner.

It was also discovered that there were 100 cyber attacks in the NGCP in a matter of only two weeks which were not disclosed to concerned government agencies.

The committee has given the ERC until February 10 to submit its audit report. From there, Gatchalian said e committee will make a reccomendation if the NCGP franchise will be recalled.

NGCP is a consortium of three corporations— Monte Oro Grid Resources Corporation, Calaca High Power Corporation, and the State Grid Corporation of China. But the state-owned electric utility monopoly of China reportedly has a 40-percent stake in the country’s power grid./STACY ANG

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