Vice President Leni Robredo has warned against Chinese firms taking over the debt-ridden Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Co.-Philippines, saying this would only “legitimize” China’s moves to occupy and control the contested areas near the facility.
Given that Hanjin’s shipyard is close to Bajo de Masinloc or Scarborough Shoal, VP Leni stressed that China may take advantage of the takeover, with the possibility of its security forces continuing its activities here in the guise of using the shipbuilding company’s facility.
“Kung titingnan natin iyong mapa, napakalapit nito sa Bajo de Masinloc. Sobrang lapit niya na kapag Chinese company iyong nag-take over dito sa Hanjin na ito, magkakaroon na ng dahilan para pasukin na tayo nang pasukin noong mga Chinese na vessels na on the guise na magpapaayos, magre-refuel, magpapahinga,” she said Sunday, Jan. 20, on her weekly radio show, BISErbisyong LENI.
“Parang ni-legitimize natin iyong pagpasok sa atin. Napakadelikado nito,” she added.
VP Leni backed the Department of National Defense’s push for a government takeover of the facility, saying that the Philippine Navy may use it as a “base” to boost the country’s security efforts in the area.
Moreover, the Vice President called on the government to look into helping Filipino workers who are affected by the shipyard’s closure, which includes some 7,000 workers displaced after the company declared bankruptcy, and another 3,800 employees who would be laid off this year.
“Papaano iyong mga Pilipinong mawawalan ng trabaho? [Napakahalaga] ng mga tanong na ito, pero kailangan pag-aralan nang mabuti ang isyu dahil seguridad ng ating bansa iyong nakasalalay,” she said.