Gordon cites benefits of Hanjin takeover

Hanjin shipyard in Subic, Zambales. (HHIC Phils.)

A government takeover of the debt-saddled Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines Inc. may save the jobs of some 3,800 workers and make the country a world leader in shipbuilding, according to Sen. Richard Gordon.

“We should take that over if necessary. What is important is that the Philippines can build ships for the Philippine Navy, it will be a huge savings for us, or ships for our business. We are fourth worldwide in building ships,” said Gordon during a budget hearing on Wednesday.

The senator added that Hanjin’s shipyard is a very important human, logistical and engineering resource that the country should continue.

Gordon proposed that the government enter into a partnership with local taipans and Korean investors and take over the company. He said the government should come up with investment packages to entice investors so that it could continue the shipyard’s operations and comply with its commitments.

In the same budget hearing, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana revealed that President Duterte is “very receptive” of the idea of the government taking over the Korean company after it filed last week a petition before the Regional Trial Court in Olongapo City for voluntary rehabilitation under Republic Act 10142 or the law providing for the rehabilitation or liquidation of financially distressed enterprises and individuals.

Hanjin Philippines officials revealed to the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority that the company has around $400 million in outstanding loans from Philippine banks on top of $900 million in debts from South Korea lenders. Mario J. Mallari