China’s 40% ownership of NGCP, not threat to national security – PNP

Maris Federez   •   November 15, 2019   •   858

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) doesn’t see China’s 40% ownership of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) as having any threat to the country’s security.

PNP spokesperson PBGen Bernard Banac said that it will be very more likely to have an effect on the country’s economy.

“Sa pang araw araw nating peace and order wala tayong nakikitang ganong epekto nito dahil ang PNP at aAFP ay nariyan palagi upang magbigay ng seguridad. Araw-araw naman ay palaging nakamatyag at nakaalerto ang ating mga elemento para mapigilan ang pagtatangka ng mga masasamang loob na lumabag sa batas,” Banac said.

Banac also ensured that the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are always ready to confront anything that may happen to the country.

The AFP and the Department of National Defense (DND) have yet to comment on the issue. (with details from Lea Ylagan) /mbmf

NGCP eyes complete restoration of transmission lines in Tisoy-hit areas before Dec. 25

Robie de Guzman   •   December 5, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) is eyeing to complete before December 25 the restoration of transmission lines in areas heavily-affected by typhoon Tisoy (international name: Kammuri).

In a statement, the NGCP said it has started restoration works and aerial inspection and foot patrol on areas devastated by the storm.

“Assessment and restoration efforts began as soon as weather permitted, even while the typhoon was still within the Philippine area of responsibility,” the NGCP said.

Based on the ongoing inspection, its teams of line personnel found a total of 19 towers and 281 transmission structures damaged by the storm.

“As of 1 p.m. today, December 5, nine 230-kV lines and fourteen 69-kV lines are still de-energized,” the power grid operator said.

The NGCP said the following are the target restoration dates for the corresponding areas:

Quezon

  • Quezelco 1 – December 8

Camarines Sur

  • Casureco 1 – December  8
  • Casureco 2 – December 11
  • Casureco 3 – December 17
  • Casureco 4 – December 9

Sorsogon (Soreco 1 & 2)

  • Sorsogon City – 12 December
  • Rest of Sorsogon – December 20

Northern Samar (Norsamelco) –

  • Feeder to Catarman (Central Northern Samar) – December 7
  • Feeder Allen (Western Northern Samar) – December 8
  • Rest of Northern Samar – December 10

Albay

Apec – December 12, except Ligao City, which is set to be restored on December 15

The NGCP said it has so far restored transmission services in Batangas, Laguna, Camarines Norte, and Eastern Samar, as well as QUEZELCO 2 which serves portions of Quezon Province.

“Please note that this schedule refers only to transmission services, and not to distribution services or generating capacity,” it said.

“For complete restoration of power, all distribution and transmission facilities and sufficient generating capacity must be available,” it added.

The power grid operator said it will defer to the Department of Energy and the National Electrification Authority for information on distribution and generation restoration.

Security audit of PH power facilities sought in Senate

Robie de Guzman   •   November 27, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday called on her colleagues to investigate the country’s power transmission sector amid concerns on foreign access and control over the power grid system.

Hontiveros saidshe has filed Senate Resolution No. 223 to seek for a legislative inquiry and national security audit of operations and facilities of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) following reports that China could control and remotely shut down the country’s transmission network.

NGCP, the country’s power transmission service provider is 40% owned by the State Grid Corporation of China.

“We need to know for certain if our energy systems and infrastructure fully remain under Filipino control, and if we have implemented the technical safeguards needed to prevent foreign interference in or sabotage of our national electricity grid,” Hontiveros said in a statement.

In her resolution, Hontiveros proposed lawmakers to “review and evaluate the performance of the NGCP,” as well as investigate reports that China may control and remotely shut down the country’s power transmission system.

She pointed to information on ‘foreign executives’ connected with the NGCP who have been hiring and deploying foreign drivers and engineers, in violation of Section 11, Article XII of the 1987 Constitution – which requires executive and managing officers of public utilities like NGCP to be Filipino citizens – and the Anti-Dummy Law.

Reports also claim that only Chinese engineers have been able to troubleshoot, operate and control the NGCP’s power transmission facilities “because of the currently-installed information and communication technology for the automatic and remote monitoring and control of said facilities.”

She also noted reports claiming that only Chinese engineers have been able to troubleshoot, operate and control the NGCP’s power transmission facilities “because of the currently-installed information and communication technology for the automatic and remote monitoring and control of said facilities.”

“If these reports are true, these vulnerabilities pose a grave risk to public infrastructure, to national security, and to the daily lives of our people. We must address and correct these flaws immediately,” Hontiveros said.

The NGCP, however, dismissed Hontiveros’ apprehensions, and assured that Filipinos are in control of the country’s power transmission facilities.

The NGCP, which was created in 2009, is owned by a consortium of 3 corporations, namely, the State Grid Corporation of China, and Monte Oro Grid Resources Corporation and Calaca High Power Corporation, both from Philippines and hold the remaining 60 percent stake.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), for its part, said the matter is within the purview of the National Power Corporation, and the NGCP which is privy to the provisions and necessary safeguards in place in the contract.

However, the AFP assured it will be discussing the security aspect of the issue with concerned agencies, and participate on matters relevant to its competency.

“We submit that Congress is well within its powers to conduct an inquiry if it so desires given its oversight and legislative functions,” AFP Spokesperson Marine Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo added in a statement. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

China’s 40% ownership of NGCP is legal – Law Expert

Marje Pelayo   •   November 15, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Reports of China’s 40% ownership of the National Grid of the Philippines (NGCP) has been on the headlines recently as several senators claimed it would pose threats to national security.

But according to a legal expert, Atty. George Erwin Garcia, the Constitution actually allows foreign entities to have shares in government-owned corporations such as the NGCP.

“From the Constitutional point of view, everything is perfectly legal. So, there is nothing illegal,” Garcia, Dean of the College of Law in Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, said.

“There is nothing unconstitutional (with the) 40% Chinese ownership of the National Grid Corporation,” he added.

Senators Ralph Recto and Francis Pangilinan recently raised concerns about possible Chinese manipulation in the Philippines’ power grid given the rights China has on its shares.

Under Article 12 of the 1987 Constitution, foreign ownership is allowed provided that 60% of the company’s shares are owned by a Filipino.

Garcia noted, however, that when it comes to security, the NGCP has to make sure that China has no control of the operations and administrations of their facility.

Read: China’s 40% ownership of NGCP, not threat to national security – PNP

The law also dictates that the foreign investor only has limited rights on the company and the state, which is the Philippine government, still has the full authority of the facility’s full operation.

“Dapat siguraduhin nila, 60-40 ang arrangement (They have to make sure that indeed the arrangement is 60-40). Forty percent nga Chinese pero baka naman ang 60, nasa likod Chinese rin (It might be 40% Chinese but it could be that those behind the other 60% are Chinese as well),” Garcia said.

“Baka naman sila’y naka-front lang for the Chinese o baka naman sila ay tinatawag nating “dummies” for the Chinese. Huwag naman sanang mangyari ‘yun (They could be fronting for the Chinese or like dummies for the Chinese. It must not be that way),” he added.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy, previously stated that Chinese experts may provide technical assistance for the NGCP but only Filipinos can manage the entire facility.

In 2015, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it would no longer renew the working visas of 18 Chinese experts working then at the NGCP.

But in 2017, NGCP sent 26 engineers and technical staff for training in China to prepare them for much bigger projects.

Despite the issues, the NGCP maintained that the Chinese investors are only up for investments and business tying up with the state-run power grid. MNP (with reports from Harlene Delgado)

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