April 24, 2024 Camille P. Balagtas 96 views

MERE coincidence or sabotage?”

This was the question raised by Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito Estrada, who in a press conference admitted he is doubtful that the recent power outages happening under the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., as he expressed his strong stand to fight for the West Philippine Sea with China.

According to Ejercito, many promises were given but “90% of the profits were declared as dividends. And not reinvested to improve infrastructure for the sake of the Filipino people.

In a press conference, Senator Ejercito suggested the need for the government to take back the operations of the country’s power grid as he explained that this kind of power outage damages the climate for investments and hurt consumers who rely heavily on electricity specially during summer.

“We need a stable power supply. We need to re-acquire our National Grid,” Ejercito stressed.

According to Ejercito, there is this so-called “Audit Performance” which the government can invoke.

“Kesa naman Lutong Macao na lang nangyayari sa atin. Pwedeng ipasok ito sa ating Maharlika project and funding. May sure profit ang bansa.” Ejercito said insisting that the arrangement with China’s State Grid which has 40% stake in the National Grid Corporation of the Phils (NGCP) who run the country’s sole power transmission operator with other investors is not benefitting the country.

“Kung may nagawa man silang pagbabago ay kakaunti. Can you imagine na sabay sabay na pagpalya ng mga power plant? Ano ito? sinadya or nagkataun lang? he asked.

Ejercito also blamed the Epira (Electric Power Industry Reform Act) Law which was approved during the time of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2001, otherwise known as Rep. Act 9136, which privatizes the generation, transmission, distribution and supply of the power sector.

“Itong EPIRA law na ito ay PINERA lang,” Ejercito said as he explained that the NGCP declared 90% profit as dividends and only 10% reinvested into new infrastructure.

“Which is not the intention of our EPIRA Law. It is supposed to accelerate investment in infrastructure. Kaya dapat lang ma audit ang performance ng mga ito. ” Ejercito insisted.

The NGCP is a privately owned corporation that was established through RA 9511 and a consortium of three corporations. It is in charge of operating, maintaining and developing the country’s state-owned power grid, an inteconnected system that transmits gigawatts of power at thousands of volts from where it is made to where it is needed.

Ejercito said, with the recent problem between the Philippines and China, one cannot discount the fact that the power outage is somehow connected with these controversies on the West Philippine Sea.

“20 generating plants simultaneously? Papaano tayo makaka pag invite ng mga foreign investors? The administration must focus on power plants to ensure that we can accommodate the needs of our people. I am open to Nuclear Energy Development pero dapat prepared and may discipline tayo. Samahan din natin ng renewable and based load power plant.” he said.

Earlier, Senator Raffy Tulfo suggested to President Marcos Jr. to take back the operations of the transmission grid to the government-owned and controlled National Transmission Corporation (TransCo), while its maintenance is left to the privately-owned National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).

Both Ejercito and Tulfo expressed belief that the Chinese stake in the NGCP poses a serious national security threat to the country, considering the tensions between China and the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea.

Citing an intelligence report, Tulfo earlier claimed that China has the ability to access the country’s national grid and sabotage it.