MANILA, Philippines – Opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Thursday, January 17, warned against letting a Chinese company take over Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines’ shipyard in Subic Bay, citing its serious implications on Philippine national security.
Trillanes made the statement in a Senate media forum, while responding to questions about a possible government takeover of Hanjin shipyard located in Subic Bay in Zambales, a former US naval base.
He said the public should be vigilant about developments related to the Hanjin shipyard because of its strategic location.
“Definitely kailangan nating bantayan ang aspeto na ‘yan. ‘Pag napunta ‘yan sa mga Chinese companies, ang problem ngayon, meron talagang highly active initiative ang China to expand their influence in Southeast Asia,” he said.
(Definitely, we have to keep a close watch over that aspect. If that lands in the hands of Chinese companies, the problem now is that China really has a highly active initiative to expand its influence in Southeast Asia.)
“At ‘yang area na ‘yan, maraming implications diyan kasi may submarine bay diyan at malaki ‘yang complex na ‘yan. Let’s just say strategic defense location so ‘yun ‘yun,” the senator added.
(And that area has a lot of implications because there’s a submarine bay there and that’s a huge complex. Let’s just say it’s a strategic defense location, so that’s it.)
President Rodrigo Duterte is said to be “receptive” to a government takeover of the Hanjin shipyard, but Trillanes said it’s best to let the concerned banks resolve the matter first before considering the proposal.
“‘Wag muna tayong makialam (Let’s not get involved first)…. Let’s leave it to professionals first,” the senator said.
Trillanes expressed concern that once the Duterte administration enters the picture, it would again “favor a company” associated with the “Davao Group,” or Davao-based businessmen, as it has reportedly done in the case of other industries, which would bring in a Chinese partner.
He cited the government choice for the third telecommunications player in the country, referring to Mislatel, the consortium of Dennis Uy’s Udenna Corporation and China Telecom.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer earlier reported that two yet unnamed Chinese shipbuilders expressed interest in the Subic shipyard, one a state-owned firm.
Hanjin earlier filed for voluntary rehabilitation due to $1.3 billion in outstanding loans – $400 million from local banks Land Bank of the Philippines, Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation, Metrobank, Bank of the Philippine Islands, and BDO Unibank.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas had downplayed fears that it would result in a systemic problem in the banking industry. – Rappler.com
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