MANILA - Malacañang is standing by the decision of the Department of Energy to terminate the services of 16 Chinese experts at the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines after security concerns were raised.
“We’re quite certain that the Department of Energy has arrived at this particular conclusion after a thorough study of the advantages and disadvantages of it,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said yesterday.
Valte added the DOE took into consideration the legalities surrounding the decision not to renew the Chinese experts’ visas.
She said Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla could provide more details on the matter as she refrained from answering whether the decision was related to the West Philippine Sea dispute.
“We’ve always said that we have a multifaceted relationship with our neighbor, and that as much as possible, no matter what challenges we are facing in one facet of the relationship, we always endeavor to develop the other facets of that relationship and we try not to let it spillover into the other levels of that relationship,” Valte said.
The state-owned State Grid Corp. of China has a 40 percent stake in the NGCP.
Petilla said only two Chinese would remain in their capacity as board directors while the rest would have to leave by July.
Meetings have been ongoing since last year among officials of the National Security Council, the Department of Justice, Department of Energy and the Office of the President, Petilla said.
He said the NGCP – led by its president and chief executive officer Henry Sy Jr., who attended one of the high-level meetings last year –agreed that only Filipino technical experts would run the transmission firm.
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