Talks about the Philippines becoming a province of China gave Filipinos a mini panic attack when President Rodrigo Duterte nonchalantly joked about such a move in front of Chinese diplomats back in 2018.
Now, a supposition saying that China can take over our country’s power systems has reportedly been “leaked” — but should we be worried?
According to a report given to CNN by an anonymous source, “full control” over the Philippines’ power grid is currently in the hands of the Chinese government due to a 40 percent share in the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) that China’s State Grid Corporation owns.
NGCP is a private association that has been running the Philippines’ power lines for 10 years. Worries formed when it agreed to give China 40 percent of shares back in 2009, seeing that such an arrangement could easily let China interfere with the Philippines’ power system.
Such is the concern when lawmakers were told that Chinese engineers are the only ones with access to the main parts of the system.
This, in theory, could give China the capability to remotely pull the plug on the Philippines’ power systems in a falling-out.
It sounds like something you’d only witness happen in a movie, and it is definitely a cause for concern. But before we start panicking, it is important to take into account that these are all just speculations of what could happen.
Further, no proof has been presented along with the report to actually confirm the threat, nor does China have a track record of commanding such an attack.
Geng Shuang, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, spoke on the matter in a press briefing that took place in Beijing on November 27.
“The allegation of China’s control over the Philippines’ power grid or threat to the country’s national security is completely groundless. We hope certain individuals in the Philippines will look at cooperation with China in an open, objective and impartial manner. There is no need to worry about the sky falling or imagine trouble where there is none.”
NGCP also disproved the claims of the report saying that its system operations facility is manned by Chinese personnel in a live stream report by ONE News.
The association also said that a takeover is not likely to happen as its systems are not connected to the internet.
“No, it cannot be done. We’re not physically connected… Kasi wala naman internet,” an NGCP representative said.
So, before we start telling our neighbors that China is about to instigate a national blackout in the Philippines, let’s remind ourselves that these are all currently just claims and suppositions.
While worrying about our country’s present relationship with the third most powerful country in the world isn’t exactly inevitable, it is still important to know the facts first before jumping to the conclusion that our country is doomed for good.