Senator Win Gatchalian wants to look into the operations of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to verify whether Filipinos are in charge of its day-to-day management amid national security concerns.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy also wants to scrutinize during the hearing scheduled on Monday, February 3, the compliance of the country’s power transmission line on its mandate to safeguard the grid and ensure continuous supply of electricity in the country.
There were earlier concerns over China’s 40-percent stake in the country’s lone transmission line. It can be recalled that energy officials themselves confirmed to senators during last year’s budget hearing that it is possible for China to remotely shut down the Philippines’ power supply.
“We should employ all possible safeguards to ensure that Filipinos are in control of our lone power grid; that Filipino interests are being protected; and national security concerns are covered 100 percent,” Gatchalian stressed.
“The national grid is the sole backbone for the transmission of electricity throughout the entire country and any event leading to its failure to operate will have wide-ranging effects on the economy, public safety, and national security”, added Gatchalian.
The lawmaker also pointed out that the Constitution requires the executive and managing officers of public utilities to be Filipinos.
The Energy Committee has summoned the National Security Adviser, top officials of the Department of Energy (DOE), top officials from the NGCP and the National Transmission Commission (TransCo), and independent experts on electric power as resource persons for the upcoming Senate hearing.
“The power transmission line is one of the vital facilities in our country that is why it is very important that the management in control of the transmission line are Filipinos. We don’t want a scenario wherein with just a single switch, no electricity will be transmitted to our homes, businesses, even to our military facilities”, Gatchalian ended.