NGCP to blame for interconnection project woes, says IGCC | Inquirer News

NGCP to blame for interconnection project woes, says IGCC

/ 03:04 PM December 04, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — The Iloilo Grain Complex Corp. (IGCC) has said the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) was actually to blame for the delay in the transmission firm’s proposed 138-kiloVolt (kV) Panay-Guimaras Interconnection Project.

“Records will show that from the start, it has been NGCP that caused the delay in its own project,” IGCC said in a statement issued on Saturday, Dec. 2.

“It has not secured the required permit from the ERC. It has not made a genuine offer to buy the property from IGCC for an amount equivalent to just compensation. It has not shown that the choice of the subject property owned by IGCC is the least burdensome to the latter. It has not acted on the proposal of IGCC to consider an alternative property that is vacant and is not the subject of future expansion plans of the company to increase food production and lastly, it has not addressed IGCC’s repeated assertion that the taking of the subject property is not necessary for the public purpose it claims to serve,” IGCC stated.


“In other words, there has been a denial of IGCC’s right to procedural and substantive due process. No hearing was set for the purpose of resolving these issues as a condition as pre-requisite for the issuance of Writ of Possession,” the company stressed.


The company added that these were the reasons why the Supreme Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order and later on to resolve the main case on the merits, setting aside the Writ of Possession and requiring the trial court to first receive evidence on the issues raised by IGCC, and resolve the same before it proceeds to the issuance of the Writ of Possession, if the same will still be necessary.

In issuing the TRO, the Supreme Court ruled that “the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it issued the writ of possession without first determining whether NGCP has in fact complied with the requirements of the law for a valid exercise of its delegated power to expropriate, among them, the existence of a genuine necessity for the taking of the subject property, compliance with the required ERC approval for the project, and compliance with the requirement that the expropriation and the manner by which it is sought to be implemented is least burdensome to the landowner.”

Facts of the case

To recall, NGCP secured an expropriation order and writ of possession from the Iloilo Regional Trial Court Branch 33 in September 2022 to build two tower sites inside IGCC’s property that will link its transmission lines to a submarine cable connecting Iloilo and Guimaras island.

However, IGCC questioned the RTC’s ruling and secured a TRO from the Supreme Court in April 2023 which barred NGCP from taking possession of the food company’s property.

NGCP said the high court’s decision to issue a TRO was “disheartening” as it hinders it from fulfilling its commitment to the residents of Panay and Guimaras, including fast-developing Iloilo City.

RELATED STORY: NGCP laments TRO on Panay-Guimaras project


IGCC also belied NGCP’s claims that it reached out to IGCC for settlement. The company said the parties have submitted all their arguments and counter-arguments to the Supreme Court.

“The highest court of the land has spoken and all parties need to respect and abide by the Supreme Court ruling,” it stressed.

IGCC said it proposed a more economically viable option for the project. It proposed that NGCP’s existing 69kV line can share posts, structures and Right of Way (ROW) since it can be “underbuilt” under the proposed 138kV transmission line.

Underbuilt lines are a common practice in distribution systems in the country as well as transmission systems built by NGCP’s state-owned predecessor, the National Transmission Co., IGCC explained.

“IGCC believes that our company’s proposed route for the Project is not only technically feasible but is also more economically viable (following a direct route) than the proposed NGCP route (which follows a less direct, longer route). Under our proposed route, the existing 69kV line can share posts/structures and Right of Way (ROW) since it can be “underbuilt” under the proposed 138kV transmission line,” the company stressed.

Underbuilt overhead transmission systems are typically resorted to when there are constraints or limitations in the ROW, which result in much lesser costs due to lesser ROW acquisition requirements and the sharing of posts or structures between two transmission or distribution lines, IGCC explained.

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A few examples of these are the underbuilt transmission systems used in the La Trinidad-Loakan 69 kV line in Benguet, the Bacolod-San Enrique and Bacolod-Alijis 69kV transmission line in Negros, and NGCP’s Ormoc-Maasin 138kV transmission line and 69kV in Leyte.


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