President Rodrigo Duterte is sure China won’t dare to take control of the country’s power grid with its 40 percent stake in the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).
Duterte gave the assurance amid fears raised by senators and former Justice Antonio Carpio that the Philippines’ power lines were vulnerable to China’s control.
“My answer to that is very simple. But I would also ask a question. It’s a business. So why would China cut it? Why? I cannot answer the question because tanungin ko. China bakit mo putulin? Ayaw mo ng negosyo?” said Duterte in an interview with CNN Philippines’ Ina Andolong.
“And China has talked to us through me. [It asks], ‘Kulang ba ang Pilipino ng trust (Do the Filipinos have lack of trust in us)?’ But I trust them. I take their word for it,” he added.
When asked if China has a power to control the grid, Duterte said: “Of course not.”
Duterte said China was “a million miles away” and it would not “take control out of a thing that you offered us.”
Duterte said: “Tanungin ko siya, may panahon ba putulin mo? Sabihin mo. Sasagot ang China, bakit namin putulin? Pera yan. Sabihin ko, what would be the reason na putulin mo? Magsagot naman ang China, hindi namin putulin.”
He said it was China which offered to buy into NGCP hen it was privatized because other foreign countries were not interested. “Kasi gusto rin niya (China) na may kakampi sila kasi puro kakampi ng Amerikano eh. So they’re trying to help everybody na makinig sa kanila. Ang atin, kulang tayo, America is not available for all our needs,” said Duterte.
Duterte said he would not allow China to take control of NGCP or he would raise a quarrel.
“I may not overcome you, but as I said you will receive from me a mouthful. Then I go to other places and look for help. America? Walang maitulong yan,” he said.
Transco or the National Transmission Corp, a state-owned firm, owns the grid or the transmission lines that connect power plants to power distribution utilities. Meantime, NGCP manages and operates the grid. China’s State Grid Corp. owns 40 percent of the NGCP.
On Wednesday, the NGCP said State Grid Corp.’s 40-percent stake in the NGCP is limited to being a “technical adviser”.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang also allayed Filipinos’ fears, saying that it is “completely groundless” to claim that China has control over the Philippines’ power infrastructure.