MANILA A Filipino company's acquisition of the shipbuilding business of the debt-ridden Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines (HHIC-Phil) will be beneficial to the ongoing modernization efforts of the Philippine Navy.
This was disclosed by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana when asked Tuesday if it is possible that HHIC-Phil can be tapped for the ongoing Self-Reliance Project of the country.
"We still lack complete information about it so I will defer any comment. Anyway, our economic managers are looking into it. (It) would be good if a local company would acquire and operate it to support our Navy modernization," Lorenzana added in a message to the Philippine News Agency.
The defense chief, however, said dealing with the matter is still up to the country's economic team.
"Yes, that was the suggestion I made to (Finance) Secretary (Sonny) Dominguez. It (is) up to them to decide but that is the ideal set up," the defense chief bared.
Lorenzana, earlier, said that the DND will monitor those who have expressed interest to invest in HHIC-Phil as it is near the Philippine Navy's major docking and anchorage area of its large naval vessels.
Hanjin revealed that it has USD1.3 billion outstanding loans USD400 million from Philippine banks and USD900 million from South Korean lenders.
According to 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 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