FAST-TRACK HANJIN TAKE-OVER, GORDON URGES
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.
"Mas maganda kung magawa na natin ang Hanjin para makapasok dito ng trabaho. Dapat gamitin natin iyan para sa seguridad ng bayan, lagyan natin ng Philippine Navy base diyan. Hindi lang Philippine Navy, dapat lagyan natin ng ship repair o ship building para magkaroon na tayo ng pagkakataong makagawa ng sarili nating barko. Yung iba pwede nating gawing industrial park. Ganon ang gagawin natin diyan para maayos, kumpleto na 'yan kaya madaling ayusin," he said.
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 has 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. earlier revealed that it has a total of USD1.3 billion outstanding loans -- USD400 million from Philippine banks and USD900 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 well as to help its employees, who have taken the brunt of the company's financial woes.