President Rodrigo Duterte answers queries from the members of the media after leading the awarding ceremony for the 2019 Model Overseas Filipino Worker Family of the Year Award at the Malacañan Palace on Nov. 28, 2019.
Presidential Photo/Valerie Escalera
No order to look into Chinese firm's stake in NGCP — Panelo
Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - December 1, 2019 - 5:16pm

MANILA, Philippines — There is currently no order to investigate China's 40-percent stake in the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), the Palace said Sunday. 

Asked if the president had issued any directive ordering a probe into State Grid Corp. of China's stake in NGCP, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said, "Wala."

"Ang narinig ko kay Presidente, iyung mga sinasabing baka mag-shut down, parang malayo naman 'yata 'yun," he explained.

(What I did hear from the President is that it doesn't look like there's much of a chance that China would shut down our power grid.)

Senate lawmakers found the move concerning, with Sen. Risa Hontiveros even filing a resolution for the Joint Congressional Power Commission to investigate the Chinese ownership. 

"Winewelcome natin ang foreign investment pero importante na tignan natin na hindi ito makakaapekto sa ating national security dahil interest ito ng bawat Pilipino," Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said for his part in an ambush interview. 

(We welcome foreign investment, but it's important for us to make sure that this doesn't affect our national security, because this is the interest of every Filipino.) 

Amid fears that China would have the ability to paralyze the Philippine power infrastructure, the NCGP itself said that this should not be cause for concern as their capacity within the NGCP was limited. 

China: Nothing to be alarmed about

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang, too, said the notion that Beijing would shut down the country's power was "completely groundless." 

“There is nothing to be alarmed about the stake by the State Grid Corporation of China in NGCP as its investment is limited only to being a technical adviser,” NGCP president and chief executive officer Anthony Almeda said in a November 26 press release.

"Unang-una, negosyo 'yun. Bakit naman nila gagawin 'yun? Ano naman ang reason para mag-shut down o patayin nila ang connection?" Panelo added.

(First and foremost, it's a business. Why would they do that? What is their reason to shut down our power connection)

Panelo said the executive branch would let the Department of National Defense and the National Security Council decide whether or not the issue was a "pressing national concern."

In an interview with CNN Philippines, President Duterte assured the public that he would not tolerate any such misdeeds on the part of China.

"Sasabihin ko sa China, ‘Look China, we're friends, we're doing business. You want money. We want money. It produces money for both of us. Now do you intend to cut it and for what reason? You answer me,’” he said.

“Why would you take control out of a thing that you would offer? I will not allow that. You know China, if you do that, there will be a quarrel. I may not overcome you but you will receive from me a mouthful."

The remaining 60 percent of NGCP is owned by Filipino companies. 

CHINA POWER GRID
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