STATE-RUN National Transmission Corp. (TransCo), owner of the country’s power transmission assets, wants a seat on the board of grid operator National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).
“In two years’ time, they have to go for an IPO. That is what the EPIRA law is saying. In that IPO we can participate so we can claim shares,” TransCo President and CEO Melvin A. Matibag said.
Republic Act 9136 or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA) requires NGCP to go public via an initial public offering (IPO).
Matibag is also pushing for Congress to legislate a permanent government representative under the NGCP franchise.
“There is none. They are not monitoring the bidding process. Out of this, we have a lot of actions. But there is not prohibition so to speak. TransCo is given the mandate to audit. That is specific. It is like we are just putting the same standards based on the concession agreement,” he said.
“I’m just hoping that change is really here. And we say no to corruption, not only in the government but also in the private sector,” he added.
The NGCP holds a 25-year franchise since it won the contract to maintain and operate the power grid in a bidding in 2007. The contract was awarded in 2009.
“They were not able to immediately perform their operation and maintenance under the concession because they had to secure a franchise,” Matibag said.
NGCP spokesperson Cynthia D. Perez-Alabanza said that NGCP is not delaying the IPO since the company is required to go public within 10 years from 2009.
“We would make sure that we are in compliance with these provisions. It’s a requirement of the franchise,” Alabanza said.
“Let me just clarify this. In government corporations, there are positions on the board that are ex-officio. Or by virtue of your position in government, you get a seat on the board. For example, the TransCo board, the ex-officio chairman is the secretary of the Department of Finance,” she said.
“It doesn’t matter if the secretary is an expert in energy as long as he is the secretary of the Department of Finance, he automatically gets a seat on the board of TransCo and chairmanship,” she added.
Alabanza noted the NGCP is not a government-controlled corporation. It’s a completely private corporation and the laws of corporation apply.
NGCP is a privately owned company led by Henry Sy Jr.’s Monte Oro Grid Resources Corp. and Robert Coyiuto Jr. Calaca High Power Corp., with a 30 percent stake each in the company. The State Grid Corporation of China holds a 40 percent stake in NGCP.
“What are the laws of a corporation? Meaning, that whoever that has stock holdings gets a board seat. That is the makeup of our board, and we are not obliged by the concession agreement nor EPIRA and in the franchise agreement to have government representation in NGCP because we are a private company,” Alabanza noted.
As far as the NGCP is concerned, it’s business as usual, she said
“We don’t need to do anything. There are no remedial works that are necessary because we have conducted our business above board. So wala kaming kaillangang ayusin. Tuloy lang ang trabaho namin. Tuloy lang in the same fashion that we’ve been conducting in the past eight years because we have ensured that our business dealings in relation to the franchise and the transmission business are all in accordance with the applicable laws, rules, regulations,” she added.