The Philippines’ National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr admitted on Monday that there are security threats to the country’s power grid but assured that certain measures may be adopted to address the same.
Esperon made this admission at the hearing of the Senate Committee on Energy amid lingering security concerns raised over China’s alleged control of the National Grid Corp of the Philippines (NGCP).
Immediately after opening the hearing, committee chairman Senator Sherwin Gatchalian asked Esperon point blank if there is any danger or threat to national security as far as the country’s transmission grid is concerned.
Esperon said he is prepared to brief the committee but requested that the same be made in an executive session.
“I’d say it [the briefing] would be better appreciated if we will do it in an executive session if that will be approved by the committee chair and the members because there are technical matters that we can’t as yet tell the – not really to the public – but to some parties that may be so interested in the workings of the NGCP, both hostile as well as friendly.
“Is there any danger [or] any threat in so far as the national grid is concerned? There are, there are. But I’d caution immediately against being in panic about it because there are also measures that we can adopt to allow NGCP as its doing now to continue operations,” Esperon said.
He said they would discuss said measures in a closed-door briefing with the committee.
NGCP is a consortium of three corporations – Monte Oro Grid Resources Corporation, Calaca High Power Corporation and the State Grid Corporation of China.
But the state-owned electric utility monopoly of China reportedly has a 40 per cent stake in the country’s power grid.
Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros earlier claimed that with just “the flick of a switch, China could plunge the whole Philippines into darkness”.
PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ANN