Other than the on-going South East Asian Games, one issue that dominates the national news scene is the claim by no less than the Secretary of the Department of Energy (DOE) that China may have the technology to shut down the operation of the Philippines power transmission network.
We are referring to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) the lines of which transmit power to local franchise retailers of electricity. According to DOE Sec. Alfonso Cusi, China through its government-owned power transmission company controls a large percentage of the NCGP being a partner in the company.
China Grid of course denies that it can manipulate through remote control the system of the Philippine Grid claiming that while its role is to provide equipment and technical assistance, the operation of the power transmission firm is under the control of Filipinos.
It also denies that it has installed a technology that could be used in shutting down the grid’s operation when it is demanded by certain situations.
Our take on the issue is that Secretary Cusi’s assumption could be right. Let us not forget that even the United States of America, a very powerful country and a leading developer of modern technologies, has expressed fear of China getting access to their most guarded military secrets should its telecommunications giant Huawei be allowed use in American companies.
What more in the case of the NGCP system where the China firm partner has control of substantial interests in the power transmission company?
Besides, was it not only recently that we mentioned in this column a remotely controlled application installed in the engine of certain modern tricycle model which are called by its dealers as “Umbak?” The gadget installed allows the dealer to remotely “disable” the engine of the tricycle when the owner who acquires the unit on credit cannot pay its weekly amortization on due date.
If that can be done on such small machine then it is not remote that it can be used in the more sophisticated system like that of the NGCP operation.
But of course we agree with President Rodrigo Duterte when he said that China’s interest in its partnership in the operation of the Philippine power grid is purely business.
Yes, we are no threat and can never be a threat to China unless the Philippines allows itself to be used as pawn in a trade war that could develop into a shooting confrontation should the protagonist countries’ leaders refuse to listen to reason.
Again, as to the possibility that remotely shutting down NGCP’s operating system by China can be done is not a remote one. That is, if the Filipino engineers and other technical experts will just sleep on their job in securing Philippine interest in the grid operation.
In fact, on a smaller scale, and for efficient delivery of electric service, Davao Light has such technology that allows shutting down of or restoring power through remote control. It is called the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition or SCADA.
Since the assumption of the new barangay captain of Calinan we have observed a lot of improvements being introduced there at. One recipient of the new barangay chief’s cleanliness and orderliness drive is the Calinan public market and its vicinity. The areas once occupied by shanties used by vendors of different merchandise are now asphalted and converted into parking areas for vehicles of market goers. The shacks’ former occupants are now relocated to the much cleaner and well-arranged stalls in the newly opened market building. Another edifice is also rising to house the remaining vendors who have not yet been allocated their stalls.
We are however, throwing this challenge to the new barangay chief: Have the open drainage canals surrounding the market de-silted. The canals are almost full of mud with all kinds of plastic wastes in it. Thus, it is no longer surprising that when it rains strong even in just twenty to thirty minutes water will inundate the roads in Calinan’s central area.
Kapitan, your people are expecting that move within the soonest possible time.