Marcos concerned over possible service delays if NGCP franchise revoked

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 19) — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Friday raised concerns on the impact on the country's power supply situation if the franchise of the privately owned National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) is revoked.

According to Marcos, there could be difficulty in finding a replacement for the power grid operator, possibly causing service disruptions.

"I think however we handle the franchise problem, kung tanggalin natin 'yung prangkisa, kunin ng gobyerno, ibigay natin sa ibang korporasyon [if we revoke the franchise, if the government takes control, or if we give it to another corporation], whatever it is, but the delay that will be caused is the problem that we have," Marcos told reporters.

"Tatanggalin mo 'yung prangkisa, 'yung nandyan ngayon, tanggal silang lahat. Saan natin kukunin 'yung kapalit? [If we revoke the franchise, all of NGCP personnel will be removed. Where will we find the replacement?]" he added.

Still, the president did not categorically oppose the proposed revocation, which Senate committee on energy chairman Raffy Tulfo said is possible as complaints on power outages mount. Marcos simply said there must be a "good reason for it."

He also acknowledged some lawmakers' concerns that the 40% Chinese share in NGCP may pose threats to national security. The State Grid Corporation of China has a 40% stake in the NGCP, while 60% is held by investment group Synergy Grid and Development Philippines of Henry Sy Jr. and Roberto Coyiuto Jr.

READ: NGCP: China's 40% stake not a national security threat

But if the franchise is to be reviewed, the president said he considers as more important the corporation's performance and compliance to contracts.

"It is really the performance," Marcos said. "Halimbawa, bakit nagkakaroon ng outage sa Negros at saka Panay Island [For example, why have there been outages in Negros and Panay Island]?"

"And there was very clear agreement in the contract as to what, how much investment the grid corporation will put in. Pinag-aaralan ngayon nagawa ba talaga nila lahat 'yun? Kung nagawa nila lahat 'yun, bakit kulang pa at nagkakaganito? [It is now being reviewed if NGCP was able to fulfill its contract obligations. If yes, why are there still shortcomings and why is the situation like this?] That's the issue at hand for me," he continued.