Luzon grid on red alert again

Robie de Guzman   •   April 11, 2019   •   1519

MANILA, Philippines – The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) has again placed the Luzon grid on red alert status on Thursday due to generation deficiency.

In an advisory, NGCP said the Luzon grid will be on red alert from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.

In a separate advisory posted on its official Facebook page, the Department of Energy (DOE) said the red alert status was raised around 6:22 p.m. on Thursday.

“The NGCP reported that SCPC Limay Unit 2 went on forced outage at 1632H due to suspected boiler tube leak,” DOE said.

RED ALERT UPDATE(Update as of 7:00pm) The NGCP reported that SCPC Limay Unit 2 went on FORCED OUTAGE at 1632H due to…

Posted by Department of Energy Philippines on Thursday, 11 April 2019

A red alert means there is an existing generation deficiency or zero ancillary services.

DOE added that procedures are now being done to cool down the boiler for inspection.

The plant outage may possibly last for five days.

“Currently, the power plant’s personnel are conducting a cool down of the boiler for its inspection and possible repair, which is estimated to be out for 5 days,” it said.

A formal report on the incident is expected to be filed at the DOE.

The available capacity in Luzon grid is at 9,732 megawatts (MW) while the peak demand is at 9,689 MW.

NGCP said it may implement manual load dropping (MLD) to maintain the integrity of the power system. Its schedule may be cancelled if system condition improves, such as if actual demand falls below projections.

Earlier, the NGCP also placed the Luzon grid under red alert status from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., as well as on Wednesday (April 10) due to low power supply reserves, resulting from the outage of some several power plants. – Robie de Guzman

AFP, PNP suspends ops vs CPP-NPA as Pres. Duterte declares ceasefire

Maris Federez   •   December 23, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) have suspended their offensive operations against the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army (CPP-NPA).

This, after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed the ceasefire agreement between the national government and the communist group for the holiday season.

Read: PH gov’t, Reds declare holiday truce; eye resumption of peace talks

Department of National Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana said the military will immediately implement the Suspension of Military Operations (SOMO) in accordance with the order of the commander-in-chief despite the red alert status that the AFP has raised in line with the communist group’s celebration of its 51st anniversary on December 26.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Sec. Eduardo M. Año, on the part of the police, said: “it is the prerogative of the President, as commander-in-chief, to declare a unilateral ceasefire for the Christmas season and we abide by his decision.”

Año has also directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to comply and to issue appropriate orders to all units in the field.

“While we remain vigilant and take a strong defensive stance, this will also give an opportunity for our policemen and soldiers in the field to spend a meaningful celebration of Christmas with their families,” the DILG chief said.

On Sunday (Dec. 22) PNP officer-in-charge PLtGen. Archie Francisco Gamboa issued a memorandum on the agency’s implementation of Suspension of Police Operations (SOPO) amid their full alert status.

PNP Spokesman Police B/Gen. Bernard Banac said that with this directive, the PNP will not conduct offensive activities from December 23 to January 7.

Año hopes that the rebel group will make use of the ceasefire as an opportunity “for them to surrender, avail of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Community Integration Program (ECLIP), rejoin mainstream society, and start a new life together with their families”. — (with details from Lea Ylagan) /mbmf

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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