Neda: Hanjin woes pose not much trouble to PH merchandise exports
MANILA, Philippines – The financial woes besetting the Subic shipyard of Korean-led Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines (HHIC-Phil) pose not much trouble to the country’s exports, but the state planning agency National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) was concerned about the impact on its over 2,000 workers.
Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillion told reporters Thursday that Neda was already discussing with the Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) how they could help the employees to be displaced at HHIC-Phil.
Edillon noted that at height of the shipbuilder’s operations, it employed more than 15,000 workers but the workforce dwindled as production slowed.
She said that while HHIC-Phil churns out only one to two ordered vessels for export per year, these were “big ships, so in terms of value, that’s quite a lot.”
Edillon said that as far as the overall export sector is concerned, HHIC-Phil’s troubles were not something to be worried about.
“But we’re thinking: if we can have a foothold in that sector [shipbuilding], then that’s a big source of growth later on,” she added.
Meanwhile, Edillon said that while Neda was not yet involved in the discussions concerning the plan to take over HHIC-Phil’s facility, the government cannot be in the business of building ships.
But Edillon said the government can facilitate the eventual disposition of HHIC-Phil’s assets.
“If the government takes over, then we can actually be very strategic with respect to the disposal of assets—you don’t dispose all; then you select which assets to keep, those that you think are very crucial in the production. That’s the advantage I see,” she said.
“With regards to running it, the government can hire someone who can run it. And probably, an option is to still sell it, privatize it later on, and then just keep a board seat,” she added. /kga
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