P187.8 billion payout to NGCP shareholders unconscionable – Senator Hontiveros

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Getting control of the country’s “crown jewel” was like crashing into a gold mine.

This, according to Senator Risa Hontiveros, exactly was the fortune shareholders of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) got when they divided among themselves a total of P187.8 billion in corporate dividends in just ten years of their 25-year contract of running the country’s power transmission system.

The NGCP consortium is made up of the Monte De Oro Resources, Calaca High Power, and the state-owned State Grid Corporation of China.

“It’s unconscionable to think that while consumers are burdened with expensive power bills, Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) is still saddled with so much debt from stranded contracts and the government losing some P93 billion in revenue from unrealized taxes, here are the owners of NGCP enjoying billions in dividends courtesy of this onerous contract,” lamented Hontiveros.

Hontiveros also pointed out that this ten-year total of P187.8 billion payout for NGCP shareholders has already exceeded the P168.9 billion total amount of concession fees the government should realize until 2034.

This private wealth, the senator said, could have been used for the benefit of the public had the transmission business remained in government hands.

“Hindi pa natin nakukuha ang buong kabayaran sa P168.9 billion na kontrata pero sila ay kumabig na ng P187.9 billion na kita at may 15 taon pa silang natitira. Hindi sapat ang kasabihang ‘ginigisa sa sariling mantika’ para ilarawan ang kamaliang ito,” explained Hontiveros.

The Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA), Hontiveros said, promised us least cost power for consumers, energy security, and delivery from debt on the side of government. “This NGCP story seems like the frustration of all of those objectives.”

Hontiveros vowed to surface more details on this issue in the next committee hearing./Stacy Ang

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