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DOLE: Hanjin employees are highly skilled, can be reconnected with other industries

The workers of a Subic-based shipbuilding company that filed for a voluntary rehabilitation with the Olongapo Regional Trial Court are highly skilled so they may find job opportunities in other industries, according to a Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) official.

In an interview with GMA News' Sandra Aguinaldo on her report for 24 Oras on Friday, DOLE Bureau of Local Employment director Dominique Tuyay expressed hope for Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Company Philippines and its employees.

As of Friday, DOLE said that none of Hanjin's 17 sub-contractors have informed them about retrenching their Filipino workers.

However, Tuyay said employees are reportedly working "less" hours.

"Meron pa din pong activities ang shipbuilding industry. It just so happens that Hanjin is just one of the big companies or big players under the shipping industry in Korea...Stable naman po yung kanyang capital," she said.

"Highly-skilled po 'yan kasi shipping industry yan eh so you can easily reconnect the workers affected to other related sectors. Baka po pwede nating bigyan ng oportunidad yung atin pong mga shipbuilders doon po naman sa construction industry," she added.

According to DOLE, Hanjin still has six more ships to build, but the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has expressed fears of  projects being cancelled.

The company has already removed a large chunk of its work force of over 31,000 in 2016 to only 3,812 in 2019.

SBMA Chairman Wilma Eisma had said Hanjin is set to cut its workforce to "just about 300 local workers and as few as seven Korean supervisors."

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) said Thursday that Hanjin Philippines filed on Tuesday a petition before the Regional Trial Court in Olongapo City to initiate voluntary rehabilitation under Republic Act 10142 or “An Act Providing for the Rehabilitation or Liquidation of Financially Distressed Enterprises and Individuals.”

Eisma said Korean shipbuilder is facing serious financial trouble, the company has around $400 million in outstanding loans from Philippine banks on top of another $900 million in debts owed to South Korea lenders.

Hanjin Philippines has laid off more than 7,000 workers last December and will lay off another 3,000 early this year until its workforce is reduced to just about 300 local workers and as few as seven Korean supervisors by March. — Margaret Claire Layug/BAP, GMA News