MANILA Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Thursday urged the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to immediately extend economic and livelihood assistance to some 3,800 workers of bankrupt South Korean shipbuilder Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines.
In a statement, Gatchalian said affected Hanjin workers can be absorbed in government projects, particularly in the "Build, Build, Build" infrastructure program.
"I urge the Department of Labor and Employment to ensure that these affected employees will be fully compensated by Hanjin pursuant to the provisions of the Labor Code despite the company's decision to file for bankruptcy," Gatchalian, the chairman of the Senate economic affairs committee, said.
"Nararapat sigurong pag-aralan din ng DOLE kung maaari bang i-absorb ang mga empleyadong nawalan ng trabaho sa iba't ibanginfrastructure projects ng gobyerno sa ilalim ng 'Build, Build, Build' program, dahil karamihan sa kanila ay mga skilled workers (The DOLE should also study the possibility of absorbing the displaced employees in various infrastructure projects under the 'Build, Build, Build' program since most of them are skilled workers)," he added.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III earlier vowed to assist the 3,800 Hanjin workers, noting that they will get their separation pay equivalent to one-month salary per year of service.
We assure the public that DOLE is quick to respond to the needs of the Hanjin workers and that we are one with the other government agencies in the fast recovery or rehabilitation of the company, Bello said.
DOLE-3 (Central Luzon) and the Bureau of Local Employment are set to conduct profiling of workers for the provision of appropriate services and interventions necessary for their possible re-employment.
Bello said the move seeks to determine the workers' specific skills and their preferred assistance, whether employment, livelihood or training for other skills to better match them with available job opportunities.
The labor chief noted that he will meet with the departments of trade, transportation, and public works for the possible re-employment of the Hanjin workers in various projects of the government, including the Build, Build, Build program.
Hanjin revealed that it has USD1.3 billion in outstanding loans USD400 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 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. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency