Force China out of NGCP?

By Herbert Vego

CAN we trust a power that has repeatedly harassed us through incursions in the West Philippine Sea?  We need not elaborate on bullying incidents by the China Coast Guard; these have been well-preserved in video recordings and documents.

Since “no” is the obvious answer, why do we still allow China to run the monopolistic National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP)?

The State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) – obviously owned by the Chinese government –holds a 40% stake in the NGCP while the remaining 60% is mostly owned by Chinese-Filipino titans (Chinoys in local parlance) led by Henry Sy, Jr. and Robert Coyiuto, Jr.

The “defensive” argument against public opinion is that China’s 40% stake would not permit the communist state to call the shots at NGCP.

To be literal about it, China has the guns that we are puny against.

What if the four-day blackouts that hit the entire Panay were a trial balloon or a prelude to total deactivation of the power grid?

The growing Chinese military presence in the South China Sea – including the West Philippine Sea within 200 nautical miles of our shoreline – has been tagged as a “flashpoint” that could trigger war with the United States, which has kept its Seventh Fleet on constant patrol thereat.

Unmindful of the 2016 decision of the International Permanent Court of Arbitration invalidating China’s nine-dash-line claim of the South China Sea, China has already taken control of Scarborough Shoal, which used to be a rich fishing ground for Filipino fishermen. These fishermen could no longer throw their nets there.

The failure of NGCP to prevent the outages that could have been prevented speaks louder than its denial of responsibility.

Enough harm has been done to motivate the national government to terminate the role of China in our energization program. Only then would we feel safe and comfortable.

A columnist writing for a Filipino tabloid was right: “Ang kayabangan na ipinakita ng NGCP ay tila hindi Pilipino; ang tunay na Pilipino ay umaamin sa kanilang pagkakamali at magtatrabaho upang ituwid ito.”

To quote Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas, “The multiple trippings of the power plants in Iloilo were caused by the unstable transmission lines of the NGCP coming from Negros to Panay. It should be noted that under the conditions that NGCP has agreed, these transmission lines would have been developed and improved a long time ago.”

By the mayor’s conservative estimate, the city has lost ₱1.5 billion as a direct result of power failure.

No less than Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Raphael Lotilla vowed to recommend to the Congress the separation and transfer of systems operation function from the NGCP to another company that could focus on efficiency in operating its transmission networks.

Unless such transfer is implemented through legal grounds, NGCP would have until the year 2032 to run the country’s sole power grid. It’s because it has a 25-year concession agreement with the Philippine government, inked in 2007 during the time of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

Meron ba tayo diyan?



THIS corner recently lauded fellow media man Jonathan “Jon” Cabrera for his sharp climb – taking off from the Gumayan School of Aeronautics as Aircraft Maintenance student to his current positions as founder of Aklan’s first multimedia company, Todo Media Services, and as media relations consultant of the Iloilo City-based MORE Electric and Power Corporation.

Jon, 64, is now hitting the homestretch of his online course, Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency and Accreditation Program (ETEEAP), at the La Consolacion College (LCC) in Bacolod City.

Today, there’s more on Jon Cabrera. As reported for this paper by Dolly Yasa, his Todo Media also serves as public and media relations firm of the Negros Electric and Power Corp. (NEPC).

The new NEPC – which is also headed by MORE Power President/CEO Roel Z. Castro — has emerged out of a joint venture agreement between Central Negros Cooperative (Ceneco) and Primelectric.

The shared office of NEPC and Todo Media at the ARDC Building on Galo Street, Bacolod City, has become a place where Cabrera may engage in tête-à-tête with every media man over a cup of coffee.

Pasyalan ta abi.