Marcos not keen on revoking NGCP’s franchise
PAGUDPUD, Ilocos Norte, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is not keen on revoking the franchise of the privately owned National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) after some lawmakers raised security concerns regarding the operations of the NGCP.
Speaking to reporters after leading the inauguration of the 160-megawatt wind farm here, the president said “there has to be a good reason” for the government to revoke the franchise of the NGCP.
“What I am hearing from news items is about security problem. Maybe that’s part of the discussion, but I am looking at the performance, if their performance is good, and if they are following the contract between government and the grid corporation,” he said.
Citing an intelligence report, Sen. Raffy Tulfo warned that China has the capability to remotely access the country’s national grid and “sabotage it.”
“They (Chinese) can sabotage us. We’re very vulnerable to that. There’s a threat to our national security,” Tulfo said.
According to him, a security audit of the entire transmission system should be conducted to determine the vulnerabilities of the NGCP.
Tulfo also pointed out that there were different violations of the NGCP in its franchise contract, including its failure to follow timely development and connectivity of the different power grids.
He said these concerns and lapses were enough for the government to cancel the franchise of the NGCP.
But Marcos said revoking the franchise of the NGCP might result in “gap” in management experience.
“Because if we remove the franchise, we will have to find somebody else to operate the grid,” he said.
“If we remove the franchise, if you remove all the personnel there, where will we get the replacement? Unless we will find a way to absorb the others into a new organization,” he added.
Marcos wanted that the review of the NGCP should also focus on its performance.
“It is really the performance. For example, why do we have outages in Negros and Panay Island?” he said.
“However we handle the franchise problem, if we revoke the franchise, if the government takes over, or if we give it to another corporation, whatever it is, but the delay that will be caused is the problem that we have. If we remove the franchise, who will operate it?” he added.
He also acknowledged that security risks would always be present but said the government had been looking into it.
“The security problem, the security risk, it’s there, we are studying it carefully that’s why there is a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (Nica) and the NGCP,” he said.
In March this year, the NGCP and Nica signed an MOU to prevent cyberattacks on the country’s energy infrastructure.
Senators want China investor out of NGCP
NGCP: China ownership is not a national security threat
Marcos: Gov’t to reclaim control of NGCP if necessary
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.