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Renewed Calls to Revoke NGCP’s Franchise Following Island-wide Blackout in Panay

Revoke NGCP's Franchise
Revoke NGCP's Franchise

In the wake of a widespread power outage that darkened Panay Island from January 2 to January 5, Camarines Sur Representative Lray Villafuerte has reignited calls among his fellow lawmakers to review the franchise of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP). The incident, which affected the lives and businesses of countless individuals, has prompted a critical reassessment of the NGCP’s operational responsibility and accountability.

According to Rep. Villafuerte, the NGCP’s persistent denial of accountability for the incident is a substantial reason to reconsider its franchise rights. He expressed concern over the potential recurrence of similar power crises if urgent and corrective measures aren’t implemented. Villafuerte emphasized that the NGCP’s apparent reluctance to acknowledge its role in the blackout and undertake preventative steps is a glaring issue that consumers and regulators should not overlook.

The lawmaker is advocating for a potential modification or cancellation of the NGCP’s franchise as a decisive action against its alleged negligence. This sentiment is supported by accusations from President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and energy regulators, who have attributed the blackout to the NGCP’s failure to act promptly when several power facilities tripped.

Further complicating the issue is the NGCP’s incomplete critical projects, including the Panay-Negros-Cebu grid project, Mindanao-Visayas Interconnection Project, and Hermosa-San Jose transmission line, as pointed out by Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla. Villafuerte is also considering a review of the NGCP’s special tax privileges, suggesting that its financial benefits, such as paying only a 3% franchise tax and being exempt from other national and local taxes, should be reevaluated in light of its service performance. This call for scrutiny and potential revocation of NGCP’s franchise reflects a broader concern for infrastructure reliability and accountability in the country’s power sector.


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