Hanjin options should be weighed

January 17, 2019

MALACAÑANG should constitute a Cabinet-level committee that would look into “all available options” to quickly revive the now-idle Subic shipyard of bankrupt Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines Inc.

According to a lawmaker,  “Our biggest concern now is how to rescue the shipyard’s 10,800 Filipino workers, including the 7,000 laid off in December.”

ACTS-OFW Rep. Aniceto Bertiz III said,  “many of them will surely end up looking for new employment overseas if we can’t give them back their jobs, or if they can’t find alternative gainful work here.”

At its peak, Hanjin’s ship construction and repair facilities in Subic Bay, Zambales, directly employed up to 21,000 Filipinos.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier told a Senate hearing that the Palace was “very receptive” to the idea of a possible government takeover of the Subic shipyard, reputed to be the world’s fourth largest.

“Another option is for the government to encourage a new private investor -- preferably a Filipino conglomerate -- to come in, pay off Hanjin’s bank debts and other liabilities at a discount, and then revive the shipyard’s operations initially at a smaller scale,” Bertiz said.

An Olongapo City regional trial court has already put Hanjin under receivership after the company defaulted on its debts obligations and filed for corporate rehabilitation on Jan. 8.

It was the biggest corporate bankruptcy ever in the Philippines, with $412 million (P21.5 billion) in unpaid loans owed to five banks -- Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., Land Bank of the Philippines, Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co., Bank of the Philippine Islands and BDO Unibank Inc.

The bottom line is that our leaders shoudn’t ignore the problem as it has a serious implication on the national economy.

What can be done now to address the issue should be made.

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