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Romualdez proposes use of Maharlika funds in NGCP amid Panay power outage

Maharlika Investment Corporation (MIC) should consider investing in the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) amid the massive power outage gripping Panay Island, Speaker Martin Romualdez said Friday.

MIC is the government-owned firm tasked to mobilize the country's first sovereign wealth fund.

In a statement, Romualdez said MIC's "strategic investment could provide essential capital for infrastructure upgrades and help in lowering the cost of electricity for consumers."

Romualdez explained that MIC's involvement could "be a significant step" toward improved efficiency, economic growth, enhanced energy security, support for renewable energy integration, and increased accountability in NGCP's operations.

MIC conducted its first board meeting on January 3 where it discussed the Maharlika Investment Fund’s (MIF) capitalization and potential sectors for investment.

During the meeting, the state-owned firm's Board of Director approved the presented company’s capitalization scheme amounting to P125 billion, according to the Department of Finance (DOF). 

'Strong concerns'

According to Romualdez, Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas has expressed "strong concerns" over the alleged inaction of the privately-owned NGCP on the persistent blackouts affecting several localities in Western Visayas.

"Despite earlier identified solutions, the recurrence of power outages indicates a failure in implementation. The incomplete construction of transmission lines for the Cebu, Negros, and Panay grid is particularly concerning," the House leader said.
Romualdez urged the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) and the NGCP to launch a thorough investigation into the cause of the power outage to prevent future disruptions and to ensure a stable power supply.

He also stressed the need for decisive action and effective collaboration among relevant agencies, including the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) as power outages are still reported in more than half of the affected areas.

Iloilo City Representative Julienne “Jam-Jam” Baronda earlier called for a congressional probe into the widespread power outages in Western Visayas provinces.

Power outage

Earlier this week, Panay Island was hit by a massive power outage due to a multiple tripping of power plants on the island. 

The ERC previously said that the power shortage was caused by the unplanned outages of a Panay sub-grid on Tuesday, January 2. 

On Thursday, the NGCP said power supply in Panay Island remains unstable despite more than half of the island already being served by working power plants.

The power outage in the island province of Panay is expected to last until Friday.  —KBK, GMA Integrated News