GRAVE NATIONAL SECURITY RISK: Chinese control the National Grid

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Marlen V. Ronquillo

Marlen V. Ronquillo

The power hearings have unraveled incompetence, tragedy and farce. But more serious is that our country’s National Grid is controlled by Chinese experts and executives. This is a grave national security risk.

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Ok, we remember these things about 9/11, that day of infamy in the US. Then President George W. Bush immediately declared a war on Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the horrific suicide attacks on the Twin Towers. But even as the declaration was made, and Osama was pointed out as the representative of evil, members of the Bin Laden family who were then in the US on a business/leisure trip were airlifted out of the US to safety. And in the midst of an air travel ban that affected almost all Americans at that.

We have a description of that particular move by the Bush the 2nd administration to make the airlift of the Bin Laden family an urgent, national priority while the rest of Americans across the globe could not travel by air. We call that a horrific tragedy mixed with a heavy dose of farce.

An e-mail I recently received suggested that something very similar to that has been happening in our country. And it unraveled at the most unlikely setting—the Supreme Court hearings on the proposed power rate increase.

This is the short version of the e-mail:

“With the tensions between the Philippines and China at an all-time high, and with China reacting aggressively on many instances, one would expect the Philippine government to keep Chinese officials from occupying strategic positions in some sensitive Philippine agencies, especially in agencies that set policies vital to the national economy and the broader society.

“It is a standard and perfectly legitimate policy. There is no quibble about that. But, sadly, this is not the case in the Philippine bureaucracy. Chinese officials involved in the power sector, would you believe, occupy some of the most strategic, policy-setting post at the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, whose function is to oversee and maintain the electric transmission lines and power substations in the country.

“The NGCP, this is the hard truth, has been the most pivotal power agency. And despite that ultra-sensitive mandate, those at its helm are not Filipinos. But Chinese power officials who are, first and foremost, citizens of a country that has ben throwing its weight across the Asian region and has been bullying defense-deficient countries such as the Philippines.

“More, the Chinese officials at the NCGP are concerned about China’s stake at the NGCP—which should not have been there in the first place. To be brutal about it, there is a zero sense altruism in them. They are not worried about things such as making sure that electricity is delivered at the cheapest cost possible.”

The e-mail identified the Chinese officials at the NGCP as Wen Bo, who is NGCP’s chief technical officer, Ma Ruoxin, who was identified as NGCP’s chief executive adviser and assistant chief technical officer for system operations, and Du Shigang, who sits as a member of the NCGP Board of Directors. Ma and Wen also sit on the Board like Du. Wen, according to the grapevine, is actually the Big Man at the NGCP on technical and operational matters.

Du represents SGCC, or the State Grid Corporation of China, which apparently has an outsized stake at the NGCP.

This arrangement is definitely not all right. Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, puzzled and perplexed by the Chinese control of NGCP, questioned the policy-setting structure of the NCGP during the SC hearings on the power rate.

The NGCP has been criticized for acting like a fortress of indifference during the critical period that started in November last year, when generation cost of power started surging. The Malaya plant remained idle during the Malampaya shutdown and the NGCP was acting as if everything were normal in the power sector.

Why was no red alert sounded? Why was the surging spot prices considered as just one of those things? As overseer of the whole transmission infrastructure, the NGCP should have taken the lead in alerting all stakeholders in the power sector about an obvious anomaly—spot prices surging even with all the assurances that supply was adequate. And it could have initiated the putting into service of Malaya during the Malampaya shutdown.

At the senate hearings, it was found out that the NCGP issued one alert, the “ yellow alert” type, which simply meant that supply was tight. This was not like raising the red flag, or the blasting of emergency sirens, or calling on every stakeholder to do something fast and urgent to rein in the surging prices and the vanishing supply.

This raised the inevitable question. Was the NCGP part of a cabal to play around with the spot market and cause the upward spiral of electricity rates? And who are the IPPs in that cabal?

A simple calculation presented during the Senate hearings raised this suspicion. Had Malaya been in operation during the Malampay shutdown, WESM prices could have been much, much lower.

What was made clear at the SC and the Senate hearings was this: the NGCP bungled mightily in carrying out its vital mandate as a grid operator. The blame could be one of the two: systemic incompetence at the NGCP or placing the vital grid agency under the management of people who have no stake in the present and future of the country. Or both.

Whatever the reason is, this question is still worth asking. Why is the agency at the back, front and center of power scheduling and transmission run by people who would not even lose a night’s sleep even if the country were to descend into hellish, nightmarish outages?

mvronq@yahoo.com

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12 Comments

  1. The Chinese investors in the Philippines wants to make a killing (huge profit) irregardless of moral implication. They treat their investment strictly as business, but they would not hesitate to engage in price fixing. To them profeteering is a normal tool to make a huge profit even if the engage in unfair business practice. And this is one reason the CHA-CHA economic aspect is highly dangerous because it will open our nation to a greater threat by Chinese takeover on our business and land. We literally surrender our national sovereignty. Speaker Belmonte Jr. is committing an act of treason.

  2. Why our government allow Chinese nationals lead to work here in the Philippines? There were so many Filipinos more qualified with their work why we allow other nationality to work in our government?

  3. Kenneth Castillo on

    Let us look to other vital services that we have, water services, suppliers to the gov’t, infra, security (military) and safety that would one day pose a problem to the Filipinos. Let us also start at corrupt immigration and customs officials who take bribes to let illegal Chinese in the country, let us deport this Chinese they are a competitor to our countrymen who lost their opportunity to work.

    Sad to say that the supporters of these politician are Chinese nationals in the country.

  4. ahhhh Bravo! Finally i thought i was alone thinking about these sort of things! i mean at least we can voice it out. its is true that we are indeed invaded discreetly because of the fall of these radical chinese. Even at the time of the Filipino-American war, well i think it all started at that time.

  5. Dear Mr. Ronquillo, Thank you for your article. I also wrote The M Times about Mr. Juan Gatbonton, who wrote an article that came out on Tuesday. Chinese control of our National Grid will become more urgent to more Filipinos who know what Mr. Gatbonton has pointed out in his article.
    This what I wrote to Mr. Gatbonton:
    Thank you for your article, Mr. Gatbonton. Filipinos should have the points you wrote about so clearly in your article in their minds. I mean not only President Aquno, the DFA people and the big Filipino businessmen (including Henry Sy, Lucio Tan, the Gokongweis who let us pray are loyal to the Philippines and not to their ancestral country) but all Filipinos. Unfortunately our schoolteachers, our government employees, and even our media people, especially the most popular ones, are so consumed by their own personal problems and ambitions.
    In today’s issue, Mr. Ronquillo’s column is about Chinese citizens, these are engineers and government corporation executives, who are in control of the National Grid. They are the ones who are carrying out the work of supervising and maintaining the power distribution of our entire country. Thanks to the SM corporation, such a vital national-interest facility is in the hands of the people of a country that has actually taken over our sea territories.

    What a pity that Filipinos, except for a few like you and Mr. Ronquillo and the editors and writers of the Manila Times, are doing something to keep us Filipinos awake to what is good for our own nation, state and Republic.

    Oh, yes. I read that Mr. Bas has been replaced as Editor-in-Chief. Is that because his reasonable, Christian-oriented nationalism and support for the kind of writers The Manila Times has is unacceptable to the Aquino government? I remember what happened to The Manila Times during the Erap era. The editor Ms. Mangahas and her team displeased Erap and the Gokongwei owners kowtowed to Erap. I hope that is not about to happen to The Manila Times because of articles like those of yours, Mr. Gatbonton, and those of Mr. Makabenta, Mr. Tiglao, Atty. Dulay, Mr. Saludo, Mr. Danao, Mr. Ronquillo and the others, including your pro-life voice, Mr. Rene Bas.
    .

    The other papers and the entertainers who are most popular in radio and TV are so busy making money.

    God help us!

  6. Asuncion Camacho Bana on

    Thanks for disclosing this important alarming issue , for all to know with what is happening in our country (NGCP) our national grid corporation , Chinese nationals are given the authority to run our state power grid .which by no means could care less of the grief of all Filipinos especially the poor facing Meralco’s electric rate increase,Lets hope and pray that our final arbiter , the Supreme Court would be independent from the executive branch influence in its decision on behalf of the people of Republic of the Philippines.

  7. I’ve waited 40 years off my life to hear or read from a person to say that the Chinese are a treat to our sovereignty. Kudos to you Mr. Ronquillo! Chinese who lives or was born in and raised the Philippines, are still loyal to China, they won’t call themselves as Filipinos but Chinese. That’s is why we call them Intsik! BRAVO!

  8. Sir Marlene you should have added as your last sentence in this column- Ano ba yan Pres. Noy at Mar wala na bang katapusan ang Incompetence? By the way Sir Marlene this will be my last comment on any Newspaper coz On line Libel is now a Law says the Politically appointed Justices. Bye for now.

  9. Why are the Chinese nationals holding high positions in the NGCP? Who appointed them? Are they in the Philippines and why was there no BIG OPPOSITION for their presence here and in the NGCP?

    How INCOMPETENT are our government officials and the Aquino Administration?
    They STINK TO HIGH HEAVENS!!!

    • Manuel C. Diaz on

      Why are we complaining now our transmission lines were sold to the cronies of Mike Arroyo, the Razon group and the Henry Sy group. The backers of the these two groups is the Communist Chinese grid company. 50% of the National Grid is owned by these foreign Chinese who provided the cronies of GMA and Mike Arroyo the money to buy it from the Philippine Government. The group of Razon and ,Ongpin sold their shares to the group of Henry Sy. So the ownership of National Grid is owned by 50% by the local Chinoy headed by Henry Sy and the other 50% by the communist Chinese.The Filipinos are really cooked.The remedy is to re-nationalize the electric transmission infrastructure. GMA administration sold us down the river in the name of privatization.

    • TransCo turned over the operational rights of our nation’s transmission system to NGCP on 2009. NGCP is operated by State Grid of China due to their 40% stake at NGCP. It was during the time of ex-president GMA that this happened. It was a bad idea from the start. But no one really cared.

  10. Marlen: In many posts on fb, I tried to alert everyone I knew on the extent of control and influence of MVP in many sectors of PH economy: He spent his Wharton years with the son of the patriach of the Salim Group of Companies of Indonesia, the 11th largest conglomerate, worth about $20 billion. The elder Salim had adopted the name Sudono to get into the favors of the ruling powers during the time of Suharto.; died in 2012 but he was actually an “Orang Asing” not a Bumi, as his real name name was Liem Sioe Liong, Chinese of Hockia origin. MVP parlayed and cultivated his friendship with bright Anthoni Salim using their HK based First Metro Pacific to win the old army Fort McKinley when PH government divested under the BCDA for something like PhP 38 billion which is now Bonifacio Global City. Since then, this man they revere as an “industrialist” have gone into telcoms, toll operations, oil and energy exploration, mining, sports foundation, etc etc. He is behind the moving spirit on Forum Energy and is believed to be behind the 16 trips made by Trillanes to China to engage in “back room ” deals on the stand-off that erupted in the area when the CN wanted to do a seismic survey in the Recto Bank where Forum has a Service Contract to explore and drill. No less than JPE got into a verbal tussle with this maverick senator who claimed he had the backing of BSA 3 on his trips and even went on to detail how his trips were funded by Lucio Tan of PAL. During most of those trips, Lucio Tan had divested himself of his holdings on PAL and had sold to the Ang group who took over ownership and management of PAL operations. To further safeguard the security interests of the country and coupled with your expose of Chinese presence in the power distribution arena of the energy sector, MVP and this Trillanes must immediately be held in detention for acts inimical to the country.