Bloodied and mauled to a pulp

By Alex P. Vidal

“A scapegoat remains effective as long as we believe in its guilt.”—Rene Girard

IF the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) were a wrestler, it would’ve been mangled, flattened and twisted badly like a tin can.

It would never survive a mandatory count what with no less than President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and a pack of holier-than-thou politicians banging, slamming, and pinning NGCP on the canvas without letup for successive days since the power outage occurred in Panay, Guimaras, and portions of Negros from January 2-5, 2024.

Everywhere NGCP turned, it absorbed a brutal chop in the jugular.

It was a case of the wrestling commissioner, ring announcer, timekeeper, referee, and the panel of judges taking turns in pummeling NGCP into submission altogether.

Before it could fend off the mob, NGCP was torn to shreds and is now the subject of inquisition in both the Upper and Lower chambers of Congress.

Down on all four, NGCP also faces the whip and the prospect of being blown to smithereens for being the veritable villain of the season.

Not to mention the multiple raps and the multi-million pesos of fines to be imposed simultaneously by angry local chief executives led by Iloilo Governor Arthur “Toto” Defensor Jr., the Department of Energy, and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).

But wait a minute.

Have the pieces of evidence showing NGCP’s overwhelming culpability and accountability been established even on a morsel of verification?


NGCP, of course, cried foul. “Why zero in on me?” “Why single me out?” It protested the overpowering punishment it got from the carnage insisting its mandate is confined to transmission of power from producers to grid-connected areas of the country.

“As the transmission service provider, NGCP can only give an overview of the current supply and demand situation and endeavor to dispatch any and all available power. It cannot intervene on matters concerning power generation,” it said in a statement recently sent to media outlets.

“We reiterate our earlier pronouncements that there was no transmission disturbance before the tripping of the PEDC Unit 1 (83MW) at 12:06PM. After this event, NGCP was able to recover the transmission system and normalize voltage. This normal voltage situation persisted until several power plants inexplicably tripped at 2:19PM. Data from our system shows no abnormality in voltage and system stability.

“It is alarming to hear policymakers immediately make conclusions based on assumptions contrary to fact. We are firm in our position that the system prior to the 2:19PM multiple tripping was normal, and our actions were undertaken within protocols. Any contrary statement is speculative.

“We firmly refute allegations suggesting that NGCP failed in its obligation to stabilize the transmission system. We also take exception to the allegations that we were less than transparent in providing information to the public. We provide regular updates to all stakeholders, including the media and government units (LGUs), through print, radio, broadcast, social media, and text blasts.”


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(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)