Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla has confirmed that a company owned by the Chinese government has owns a 40-percent stake in the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) but assured their presence will not be a threat to national sovereignty.
Petilla made the confirmation following Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago’s statement that a “national security virus” has infected the power industry by virtue of a Chinese company’s ownership of a stake in the NGCP.
The company manages power transmission systems in the Philippines to provide electricity to millions of households.
Petilla said that a high-level meeting was held by the Department of Energy, National Security Adviser, Department of Justice (DOJ), Office of the President and NGCP last year to assess the threat of the Chinese firm’s stake in the power industry but officials found no reason to be concerned.
“During a high level meeting we asked if they are a threat, they are not; in fact they are being monitored by a composite team composed of NSA, DOE, DOJ and the OP,” he said.
But in order to allay fears that the Chinese might sabotage the power industry, Petilla said he has instructed the Chinese technicians at the firm to turn over their technology and expertise to their Filipino counterparts.
However, two Chinese will be allowed to stay on NGCP’s board although they will have no participation in running and managing the grid, he said.