By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The chairman of the House Committee on Financial Intermediaries on Saturday asked the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) , Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) , and Department of Labor (DOLE) to step into the bankruptcy situation of Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines and ensure that the interests of all stakeholders are protected.
Leyte Rep. Henry Ong said the bankruptcy case must be cautiously and methodically resolved, even as also underscored the need to look after the welfare of the Hanjin workers, who stand to lose their jobs.
“According to media reports, some banks did not have collateral protection when they gave loans to Hanjin’s Philippines unit. The pay and benefits of the 23,000 Hanjin workers must be among the priorities during the aftermath,” he said in a statement after the local shipbuilding unit of Korean conglomerate Hanjin declared bankruptcy.
“I want verification from the BSP and SEC that the banks, their shareholders, and depositors will not be adversely affected because of the Hanjin bankruptcy,” Ong said.
Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines filed for a voluntary rehabilitation after suffering from financial hemorrhage. Hanjin has to pay some $412 million in financial obligations, according to reports.
“This bankruptcy case must be handled methodically and delicately. The banking and shipping sectors must be protected from any aftershocks,” Ong said.
“If it makes business sense to continue or resume the operations of Hanjin, then the best course of action must be agreed upon by interested parties. The Hanjin workers and the government must not be left out of the decision-making process because this case is imbued with national public interest,” he said.
While a congressional probe is not yet in order, Ong vowed that the Lower Chamber will keenly monitor the case.
“I do not think a congressional probe is necessary at this time. The responsible government agencies and the banks must be given time to sort everything out, but Congress will be following this case very closely,” he said.