Armed Forces open to discuss security implications on power grid issue

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is more than willing to discuss the security issues concerning reports that China is capable of controlling the country’s power grids.

AFP spokesperson, Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, however, said the matter is within the purview of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) and also with the National Power Corporation (NPC).

“NGCP is privy to the contract, the provisions therein, and the necessary safeguards in place. Hence, they are in the best position to answer that at this time,” Arevalo said in a statement late Wednesday.

He, however, said this does not mean that the AFP will not discuss the security aspects of the issue with concerned agencies, he added.

” We will participate in matters relevant to our competency,” the AFP spokesperson said.

Arevalo added that it is well within the power of Congress to conduct an inquiry if it so desires given its oversight and legislative functions.

Earlier, Senator Risa Hontiveros filed a resolution urging Congress to conduct a national security audit on the operations and facilities of the NGCP amid recent revelations of foreign access and control over the country’s power transmission system.

In proposed Senate Resolution No. 223, which Hontiveros filed Monday night, the senator also called on the Senate to look into the national security implications of said foreign access to NGCP’s power transmission facilities.

NGCP, which is in charge of operating, maintaining, and developing the Philippines’ state-owned power grid, is a consortium of three corporations — Monte Oro Grid Resources Corporation, Calaca High Power Corporation, and the State Grid Corporation of China.

The Chinese state-owned company owns 40 percent of NGCP.

During the audit of the Joint Congressional Energy Commission, Hontiveros said, lawmakers will “review and evaluate the performance of the NGCP,” as well as investigate reports alleging that China may control and remotely shut down the country’s power transmission system.

“We need to know for certain if our energy systems and infrastructure fully remain under Filipino control, and if we have implemented the technical safeguards needed to prevent foreign interference in, or sabotage, of our national electricity grid,” Hontiveros said in a statement Tuesday. PNA.GOV.PH