MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said he is not keen on revoking the franchise of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) after lawmakers raised some security issues on its end.
Marcos said "there has to be a good reason to withdraw" NGCP's franchise, as the country's core grid system operator.
"Ang tinitingnan ko, ang naririnig ko sa mga news item ay tungkol sa security problem," the President told reporters in a chance interview in Ilocos Norte.
"Ako naman, siguro that's part of the discussion pero ang tinitingnan ko rin ay talaga yung performance, kung maganda ang kanilang performance, kung sumunod sila sa kontrata doon between the government and the grid corporation," he added.
When pressed by the media if the government was willing to take over the NGCP, Marcos answered in the negative, saying some problems on the franchise may persist.
Marcos also feared that there could be a "gap" in management experience.
"The problem is that we will have the replace the personnel who would operate and we still have to build... those transmission lines. Yun ang kailangan nating abutin," he said.
"However we handle the franchise problem... kunin ng gobyerno, bigay natin sa ibang korporasyon, whatever it is, but the delay that would be caused... kung basta tanggalin natin ang prangkisa, sino ang magpapatakbo?"
The security risk will always be present, he stressed, but authorities were already looking into this.
He also noted the partnership between the NGCP and the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), where the latter would monitor the safety and security of transmission assets.
In March, the two agencies signed a memorandum of agreement, where the NICA committed to supply intelligence information to NGCP regarding the protection of its power transmission assets nationwide.
For its part, NGCP would provide technical assistance to NICA on cybersecurity.
Marcos said this was enough for now but government must assess the performance of NGCP.
"Tatanggalin mo yung prangkisa, 'yung nandiyan ngayon, tanggal sila lahat. Saan natin kukunin ang kapalit? Unless we will find a way to absorb the others into a new, in other words magkakaroon tayo ng gap sa management experience," he said.
"That is something we have started to look at and to attend to. It is really the performance, bakit nagkakaroon [ng power interruption]."
The National Transmission Corporation said in a Senate hearing this week it has been preparing to handle the operations of power transmissions should NGCP's franchise get revoked.
Members of the Senate panel had also expressed concern about the 40 percent NGCP shares being controlled by the State Grid Corporation of China.
The Palace earlier said the government was willing to "take back" control of the NGCP if it is proven that there are inefficiencies in its operations, and if proven that the stake owned by a Chinese-run firm is a threat to national security.