Senators raise security concerns over China’s 40% stake in PH power grid

Marje Pelayo

MANILA, Philippines – Several senators have expressed alarm at the possible security threats posed by the fact that China owns 40 percent of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).

Senator Ralph Recto said sooner or later the Chinese government may have complete control of the NGCP.

According to Recto, the whole of the country’s power supply is being managed by China’s state grid, given that instructions on every equipment are written in Chinese which Filipinos cannot understand and could lead to China manipulating the Filipinos.

“Hindi naiintindihan iyan ng mga tao natin (Our people cannot understand the instructions). They can turn it off remotely,” he said.

The senator revealed that part of China Telecom’s plan is to use the NGCP’s cable for their telecommunication line.

“It is all over the papers. Why can’t the national defense and security officials look at all of these holistically,” Recto added.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, in response to the issue, assured that there are security checks being laid to ensure that Recto’s concerns are addressed.

“They are doing it already. I was informed that it is being done already to make sure that the security concern you are raising now are addressed properly,”  Lacson said.

The NGCP Consortium operates the country’s power transmission system which includes several Chinese companies operating in the country such as the State Grid Corporation of China.

Recto said the country might be caught in a cyberwar between telecommunications companies if without safeguards from these treats.

Senator Recto also called for a review of several deals entered into by the Philippine government such as the CCTV deal of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the entry of China Telecom into the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Senator Francis Pangilinan, meanwhile, will conduct his own review of the circumstances that led to the entry of Dito Telecommunity Corporations into the AFP.

“Dapat maging mapagbantay. Dapat tiyakin na may necessary safeguards at dapat mabilis nating mamomonitor, (We must be vigilant. We must make sure that the necessary safeguards are present and that we can monitor then easily),” Pangilinan said.

“Kung merong hindi tama, (If something is wrong,) we should terminate the contract immediately”– MNP (With details from Nel Maribojoc)

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