House Senior Deputy Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte First District Rep. Ferdinand Alexander “Sandro” A. Marcos has filed House Resolution (HR) No. 1534 to investigate the abrupt and massive blackout in Western Visayas on January 2.
“There is a compelling need for Congress to conduct an investigation with the end in view of revisiting and reviewing the franchise of the NGCP (National Grid Corp. of the Philippines),” Marcos said in his two-page resolution filed on January 5, 2024.
The Senior House Deputy Majority Leader explained that the inquiry is aimed at ensuring the “timely expansion of the transmission system in line with the development needs of our people and for its effective and efficient operation.”
“The review should include the possible separation and transfer of the systems operation function from the NGCP to another entity which could carry out such function more efficiently,” the eldest son of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. who is on his first term as congressman, suggested.
According to him, this “streamlining will enable the NGCP to focus on the construction and operation of the transmission grid,” hinting at the same time about the “need to review the imposition of the special tax on the NGCP, as power concessionaire, in lieu of all other national and local taxes.”
“In pursuit of the common good and in line with its constitutional mandate to conduct investigations in aid of legislation, it behooves Congress to put in place energy security to ensure our country’s development,” Marcos emphasized.
At the same time, the House probe should also “further explore the feasibility of authorizing the Energy Regulatory Commission to impose administrative penalties on the transmission concessionaire of P2 million per day of violation or non-compliance with regulatory rules.”
If monetized, Marcos said violations committed should at least be “one percent of the cost of the delayed project based on the ERC-approved project cost, whichever is higher.”
The widespread power disturbance in Western Visayas covered the entire Panay Island, including hundreds of schools in Panay, Guimaras and Negros where they were forced to suspend face-to-face classes, and businesses suffered millions in losses after they were forced to shut down.
Both public and private hospitals were also severely affected with their critical medical equipment which could spell the difference between life and death, not to mention that the tourism industry “incurred inestimable reverses.”