China Refusing Flip Mangoes, Bananas and Coconuts!!
Posted in the China Forum
#1 Oct 2, 2012
Tit for tat with China?
DEMAND AND SUPPLY By Boo Chanco (The Philippine Star) Updated October 03, 2012 12:00 AM Comments (0)
When China suddenly made it extremely difficult for our bananas to enter the country and encouraged tourists with confirmed reservations to forego the trip to the Philippines, many felt helpless and quite mad about how we are being bullied by hitting us where it hurts… economically. As if that was not enough, China demanded the payment of the North Rail loan in the middle of the controversy over the Panatag Shoal.
China wants back all $500 million of the loan even if no more than $200 million was actually drawn from the Chinese Eximbank. Because the project never got rolling (about 10 percent accomplishment in four years vs 100 percent target), the bank issued a notice of termination and collection.
This tough stance being taken by China betrays their protestations of friendship. But two can play a game. We are not that helpless because China has a big and lucrative investment in the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) and their construction companies are regular bidders in our public works projects. The profits being remitted back to China are said to be quite enormous.
Someone should point out to China that our economic relationship is a two-way street… That’s exactly what Interior Secretary Mar Roxas did when he went to China on a special mission the other week.
Secretary Roxas told a news conference that he transmitted the message to Chinese Foreign Affairs vice minister Fu Ying the Philippine government is “not comfortable” that the Chinese are in charge of our electric grid. Citing security issues, Roxas called on China to turn over control and transfer the promised technology in the country’s main power transmission company to Filipinos.
The State Grid of China (SGC) owns 40 percent of the privatized NGCP. SGC is however, responsible for the technical aspects of running this very vital “superhighway” that brings high-voltage electricity generated in various power plants in the country to Meralco and other power distributors.
Based on the contract, Roxas said the SGC is obliged to transfer its technology to the NGCP and train Filipinos on how to manage the technical aspects of “our national electric grid.” This is not happening or not happening fast enough. Actually, our engineers have what it takes to operate the grid. It shouldn’t be that difficult to take over immediately if needed. It is just that NGCP assigned the Chinese to be on top of the technical aspects.
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