PH has safety measures if China shuts off power

Posted at 04/01/14 10:34 AM


MANILA - The Philippines is prepared to face sanctions from China after it filed a memorial with an international tribunal, Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras said Tuesday.

Almendras, a former energy secretary, said there are safety mechanisms in place in case China tries to shut down the country's power grid.

Forty percent of the National Grid Corporation is owned by a Chinese state company.

"Even when I was still secretary of energy, I was already aware of that problem. There are safety features to protect our interest. If they put it off, we can put it back on. China only owns 40 percent, the 60 percent is owned by Filipinos and Filipinos are very supportive of Philippine sovereignty over certain issues," Almendras said.

Former Interior and Local Government Secretary Rafael Alunan earlier warned the sanctions from China could range from sabotage to funding rebel forces to sow chaos.

Almendras, meanwhile, said local telecom companies have had third-party evaluations to make sure they are protected from potential viruses.

"There have been discussions about our telcos being very dependent on certain suppliers. They also have secondary preparations on their own," he said.

The Cabinet secretary admitted it is hard to answer if China would go to the extent of funding local rebel forces to sow chaos. "There are reports of that in Africa and other places. Everybody knows they don't like President Aquino."

He also believes the Chinese government will protect Filipinos working in China from possible backlash and that repatriation will be a last resort.

The Philippines asked a United Nations arbitral tribunal on Sunday to declare Beijing's claims over most of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) as a violation of international law, submitting nearly 4,000 pages of evidence to back its case.

The Philippines also faced harassment by Chinese ships when it attempted to replenish the supplies of Filipino soldiers stationed on the Ayungin Shoal.

The outpost was successfully restocked over the weekend after a civilian ship outmaneuvered the Chinese vessels.

Almendras said the filing of the memorial before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea is not meant to provoke China.

"We never challenged China. Who are we? Rather than continue with all these skirmishes, why don't you just bring it to a transparent process of who owns what," he said. With Agence France-Presse