China: Threat of control over Philippine power grid completely groundless
In this Nov. 27, 2019 photo, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang holds a press conference in Beijing.
China: Threat of control over Philippine power grid completely groundless
Patricia Lourdes Viray ( - November 28, 2019 - 4:07pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Chinese government has dismissed reports that it is capable of controlling the Philippines' power grid.

Allaying fears that the Philippines' national security is compromised, the Chinese Foreign Ministry clarified that China's State Grid Corporation only offers technical support to the National Grid Corporation (NGCP).

China's State Grid Corporation owns 40% of the NGCP, a privately owned consortium in charge of operating, maintaining and developing the Philippines' power grid.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said that the State Grid of China took part in the National Transmission Corp. (Transco) project as a cooperation partner that provides electricity services.

"The project is now operated, managed and maintained by the Philippine side, with the Chinese partner offering necessary technical support upon request," Geng said in a press briefing Wednesday.

"The allegation of China's control over the Philippines' power grid or threat to the country's national security is completely groundless. Besides, the Chinese business also actively fulfills its social responsibilities," he added.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman added that Manila's cooperation with Beijing should be looked at in an objective and impartial manner.

"There is no need to worry about the sky falling or imagine trouble where there is none," he added.

In a Senate hearing last week, Sens. Juan Miguel Zubiri and Risa Hontiveros raised concerns with the arrangement of the NGCP with the Chinese company.

Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said it might be possible that China can remotely shut down the Philippine power system given the current technology.

"It’s difficult to say they have the technology installed. But the technology is available. That’s why Transco is requesting to conduct a technical and financial and legal audit of NGCP," Gatchalian said.

The Department of Energy (DOE), meanwhile, assured the public that it is coordinating with Transco and other concerned government agencies to ensure that all crucial data on the matter will be reported to President Rodrigo Duterte.

The DOE welcomed the efforts of the Seate to look into the administrative, operational and procedural structures within the NGCP.

"We do not want to preempt the outcome of the Senate inquiries. In addition, we would also like to highlight that since matters of national security are involved, the proper protocol to be observed is to have our National Security Council (NSC) as the primary source of information," the DOE said in a statement.

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