MANILA — The Philippine government is determined to save bankrupt shipbuilding company Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines (HHIC-Phil) in view of the cost to the national economy should it close down for good.
Budget and Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno, in an interview by journalists Wednesday, said authorities are considering several options, such as extending loans to Hanjin’s partners should they manage to forge new tie-ups with other companies that can help keep the shipbuilder afloat.
“They can join forces and then we will help them through government banks,” he said.
Diokno said authorities see the need to help the Korean shipbuilding company since closure of its Subic Bay operations will impact employment and the economy as a whole.
“There is no complete plan yet but we will not allow it to just fold without any contingency plan…Meaning there will be a white knight who will take over with our assistance,” he said.
The Budget and Management chief pointed out that “we also need that kind of technology here rather than abroad.”
“It’s disadvantageous to lose it because the plant is good,” he said.
Asked whether economic managers have computed the possible impact of the shipbuilding yard’s closure on the domestic economy, Diokno said they have not reached that point.
An Olongapo court has put HHIC-Phil under corporate rehabilitation after the company declared bankruptcy.
It has a combined loan amounting to US412 million from five domestic banks namely state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank), Yuchengco-led Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), Ty-led Metropolitan Bank & Trust Company (Metrobank), Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) and Sy-led Banco de Oro Unibank Inc. (BDO).