MANILA — If he has his way, Sen. JV Ejercito would “take back” the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines’ (NGCP) partnership with State Grid Corporation of China.
Ejercito was referring to the Chinese company's 40-percent stake in the Philippines' lone power transmission operator, which he said may be used against the Philippines by China if the relationship between the two countries turns sour.
"This is a cause of concern. Personal ko lang, pero pano yan, kung magkaroon tayo ng hindi pagkakaunawaan with China. Eh isang switch lang pwede ma-paraylize yung buo nating Pilipinas because of NGCP, so it can paralyze or cripple our economy,” Ejercito told reporters Monday.
China and the Philippines are locked in a territorial dispute over the Asian giant's sweeping claims in the South China Sea. Despite a UN-backed arbitral court's invalidating its claims over the waters, China insists that the sea is part of its territory.
Asked what should be done to prevent this scenario, Ejercito said: “If we can take it back, dapat kasi yung mga crown jewels natin, especially utilities, kapag vital or sensitive to security, national security, should be owned by the state.”
Although the law allows State Grid to own a 40-percent stake in NGCP, its concession agreement limits the firm from assigning Chinese officials to man the equipment.
The NGCP had allayed fears that its technical partner would try to shut down the Philippines' power lines, explaining that "at the end of the day, it’s a business."
In 2020, the power grid operator insisted that it complies with the Philippine Constitution and other laws, following lawmakers' claims that foreign nationals had been appointed there as executives.
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