Gov’t looking to takeover Hanjin shipbuilding operations

Published January 17, 2019, 2:26 PM

by Dhel Nazario, Jeffrey G. Damicog, and Rey G. Panaligan

By Genalyn Kabiling

Malacañang is inclined to study the proposed government takeover of debt-ridden Hanjin shipbuilding operations in the country.

After Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana proposed the government could take control of the Hanjin shipyard, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo recognized that the shipbuilding operations could potentially generate additional revenues for the government.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)

“When I asked Secretary Lorenzana, parang sinabi lang ni Presidente, ‘Tingnan natin. Sa madaling sabihin, it is just a proposal, [When I asked Secretary Lorenzana, the President said, Let’s see.’ It means that it is just a proposal],” he said during a Palace press briefing.

“‘Yung kanyang sagot ay ‘tingnan natin. Ibig sabihin siguro na pag-aaralan… Let’s see how it evolves [With his ‘Let’s see’ remark, it means that we will study it…Let’s see how it evolves],” he said.

Asked if Lorenzana’s proposal was a good idea, Panelo said he was personally amenable to letting the government run the shipyard operations to generate income for the government.

“Maganda siguro kung tayo magpapatakbo nun sa akin personally [For me, it is good if we run the operations],” he said.

“Kung kaya natin patakbuhin, bakit naman hindi. ‘Di ba income ‘yun? I understand (the country is) number 4 in the world ranking in shipbuilding. Eh di magandang kita ‘yun [If we can run it, why not? That’s additional income. I understand we are the number 4 in the world ranking in shipbuilding. That’s good profit],” he said.

Lorenzana earlier told the Senate that he raised to the President the proposed government takeover of Hanjin so it could build its own ships than purchase abroad. He claimed that Duterte was receptive to the idea.

Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines recently filed for rehabilitation amid ballooning debts from Philippine and Korean lenders. Some foreign entities are reportedly interested in taking over the local operations of Hanjin.