MANILASenator Panfilo Lacson on Wednesday recommended using the PHP75-billion "insertion" that was deleted in the proposed 2019 public works budget to fund the potential Philippine government takeover of the Subic facility of the bankrupt Korean shipbuilder Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines.
Lacson made the proposal during the plenary deliberations on the proposed 2019 budget of the Department of National Defense (DND).
He said the deleted funds can be used to purchase a new facility for the Philippine Navy.
"What if the Philippine government will just take over Hanjin and bid out to possible partners, private entities? This will mean potential income for the government," Lacson said.
He also noted that the appropriate agencies can hold consultations with the National Economic and Development Authority regarding partnerships between the government and a private entity for this endeavor.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, meanwhile, said President Rodrigo Duterte is "very receptive" to a government takeover of the Hanjin shipyard.
"We are excited with this development because we see the possibility of having our own shipbuilding capacity in the Philippines," Lorenzana said.
Hanjin revealed that it has USD1.3 billion outstanding loansUSD400 million from Philippine banks and USD900 million from South Korean lenders.
According to the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, HHIC-Phil filed a petition Tuesday last week at the Regional Trial Court in Olongapo City "to initiate voluntary rehabilitation under Republic Act No. 10142, otherwise known as "An Act Providing for the Rehabilitation or Liquidation of Financially Distressed Enterprises and Individuals".
With this, Hanjin has sought help from the government to find investors that can take over the operation of its shipyard in Subic, as well as to help its employees, who have taken the brunt of the company's financial woes.
In December 2018, the company laid off more than 7,000 workers. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency