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Philippines
Tuesday, July 16, 2024

A threat to national security

“Since the power distribution of the country has an element of national security, it becomes imperative the government be in control”

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Newspaper headlines last week screamed “Gov’t to take control of NGCP ‘if necessary’.”

Santa Banana, government control of the National Grid Corporation is “necessary,” even imperative.

From the looks of it, the Senate inquiry traced the fault of the recent power outage and blackouts over Luzon to the power distributor in Luzon, now controlled by investors, among them Chinese businessmen.

Most importantly, since the power distribution of the country has an element of national security, it becomes imperative the government be in control.

Now Senator Raffy Tulfo and President Marcos Jr. met in Malacanang about Tulfo’s intention to investigate the NGCP.

BBM was told of the need to examine the security aspect of NGCP, particularly on who really controls the corporation.

The President agreed with Tulfo’s proposal to conduct a comprehensive study and hold Senate hearings to determine the actual situation and if it’s necessary for the government to take over the NGCP.

I believe it should be done immediately.

Tulfo cited intelligence reports that China has the capability to remotely access the country’s national grid and even “sabotage” it, Santa Banana!

It was agreed there is a need to nationalize the NGCP, adding a security audit of the entire transmission system should be conducted to determine the vulnerability of the NGCP, adding there are no Filipino technicians who know how to operate the sensitive equipment inside the NGCP because the manuals are in Chinese.

It was also agreed there were numerous violations of the franchise, including failure to follow timely development and connectivity of the other power grids.

It has been found out these concerns were enough reason for the government to take over the NGCP, and cancel its franchise.

However, it seems BBM is hesitant to do so because there are no qualified technicians who can take over the job of the Chinese.

Tulfo, chairman of the senate committee on energy, had moved to cancel the NGCP’s 50-year congressional franchise due to numerous violations and its failure to complete projects on time.

Tulfo even castigated NGCP officials for failing to improve the NGCP and instead concentrated on giving shareholders their income.

To make matters worse for the country, according to the rules and regulations of NGCP, the majority (Filipinos) group of the consortium gave the veto power to revoke the decision of the Filipinos.

To make matters worse, while the Chinese group can, as I said, overpower the Filipinos composed of Monte Oro Grid Resources Corp. of tycoon Henry Sy Jr., Calaca High Power Corp. of businessman Roberto Coyiuto and the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) that holds the 25-year concession contract and the 50-year franchise.

Records also show the SGCC is the technical group that owns 40 percent and in hold of the NGCP, with the sole power to operate the power transmission network.

My gulay, it’s bad enough that the Chinese are the technicians of the network, but they also have the power over Filipino board members.

I say, Mister President, retake control of the NGCP immediately before it’s too late. The security of the country is at stake !

***

Mafia-like smugglers

A representative from Marikina City has identified the “Onion Queen’’ who they say is responsible for hoarding and manipulating high prices of onions.

The alleged “Onion Queen ‘’ had been identified before but surprisingly, nothing was done.

But, the bigger problem of the Department of Agriculture is the continuous smuggling of agricultural products, like sugar, rice, fish and meat products.

Inside sources claim the cartel responsible for the smuggling of agricultural products operates like a well-oiled Mafia with the connivance of corrupt Customs persons where smuggled goods, instead of being seized, are stored in selected warehouses in Bulacan, Batangas and nearby provinces.

When I was Business Editor of the defunct Philippines Herald, one of my beats was the Bureau of Customs, and I was told by Customs personnel, including officials, that smugglers would not try to smuggle anything without the connivance of Customs.

I was also told – among the many secrets of Customs – when Customs was being blamed, the modus operandi of Customs was to have a small portion of the smuggled goods seized for propaganda purposes.

All media people covering Customs know this.

Santa Banana, there had been reports that agricultural groups had identified the Mafia-like operatives of smugglers supposedly led by a group of Chinese (who else) , but it seems the National Bureau of Investigation, and of course Customs are not able to apprehend them.

I hate to say it, but it seems that even the NBI is on the take.

It’s almost one year now that President Marcos Jr, has been acting secretary of agriculture and I urge him to show zero tolerance to all kinds of corruption, including smuggling.

Mister President, the danger with the continuous smuggling of agricultural products is that it would be easy for the Mafia-like smugglers to also bring in illegal drugs.

***

Belmonte does it again

Joy Belmonte, mayor of Quezon City, once again topped a survey among city mayors on leadership and governance,

She had an “unmatched” score of 94.35 percent in the “Top City Mayors in the Philippines’’ survey by the RP-Mission and Development Foundation Inc. (RPMD) from Feb 25 to March 8.

Belmonte earned the recognition as the country’s most accomplished city mayor.

The survey was part of the “rigorous and independent study” designed to assess the country’s 145 city mayors, focusing its criteria on seven vital categories : service provision, financial stewardship, economic progress, leadership and governance, environmental management, social services, and public engagement.

Following Belmonte are Eric Singson of Candon, Ilocos Sur (92.8 percent); Nacional Mercado of Maasin, Leyte (90.26 percent); Arthur Robes of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan (89.75 percent);

Jonas Cortes of Mandaue, Cebu (88.89 percent); Denver Chua of Cavite (88.85 percent); and Indy Oaminal of Ozamis, Misamis Occidental (88.78 percent).

Following the above, also with high ratings are Samsam Gullas Jr. of Talisay, Cebu (88.35 percent); Bambol Tolentino of Tagaytay (88.29 percent); Ahong Chan of Lapu-Lapu, Cebu ( 88.18 percent); Eric Africa of Lipa Batangas (88.13 percent);

Benjamin Magalong of Baguio (87.82 percent); Jay Diaz of Ilagan, Isabela (87.69 percent); Geraldine Rosal of Legazpi, Albay (87.55 percent); Sheena Tan of Santiago, Isabela (87.42 percent); Albee Benitez of Bacolod (83.77 percent); Pat Evangelista of Kidapawan (83.57 percent);

Bruce Matabalao of Cotabato (83.16 percent); Jerry Trenas of Iloilo (82.94 percent; Darel Uy of Dipolog (82.85 percent), Sitti Hataman of

Isabela (82.34 percent); Baste Duterte of Davao (82.11 percent);

Bullet Jalosjos of Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte (81.92 percent); Joe Relampagos of Panabo, Davao del Norte (81.83 percent); and Roxanne Pimentel of Tandag, Surigao del Sur (80.1 percent).

The survey had 10,000 respondents and a sampling margin of error of plus-minus 1 percent.

In the report it was stated the ultimate measure of success in leadership and good governance was based mainly “in the appraisal of their constituents, who play a crucial role in evaluating their city mayor’s performance.”

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