By Mario Casayuran
Senator Richard J. Gordon has called on the government to fast-track taking over the Hanjin Heavy Industries Corporations-Philippines facility in Subic to ensure the protection of the country’s territory and sovereignty and to provide jobs.
Gordon’s call followed reports that gaming and ports tycoon Enrique K. Razon Jr. is drafting a master plan for his bid to acquire the shipyard facilities of the South Korean firm.
Gordon said resumption of work at the Hanjin shipyards would ensure employment to the hundreds of workers affected by the closure of the shipyards.
Gordon said the Hanjin shipyard facility could be used for the country’s security as the Philippine Naval base would be established in the area.
It could also be used for ship repair or ship building that would give us the impetus to build our own ships.
‘”Yung iba pwede nating gawing industrial park,’’ he added. (An industrial park could be placed here.)
Gordon also proposed to put up a naval engineering school or naval architecture school in the vast facility to step up Filipinos’ ship-building capacity.
“We should develop the country’s potential in the shipbuilding industry. We must involve ourselves in designing vessels. Step up our capabilities in naval architectural design. We are an archipelagic country, we must be able to build ships,” he pointed out.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said he is receptive to a government take-over of the Subic shipyard of cash-strapped South Korean shipbuilder Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines (HHIC-Phil.)
HHIC-Phil. earlier revealed that it has a total of US1.3 billion outstanding loans — US400 million from Philippine banks and US900 million from South Korean lenders.
It has asked the Philippine government for rehabilitation, because it was having cash flow problems.
The shipbuilder also sought help from the government in finding investors that can take over the operation of its shipyard as well as to help its employees, who have taken the brunt of the company’s financial woes.