SUBIC BAY FREEPORT: The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman has clarified that the P1.47 billion subsidy from the Bureau of Treasury in February this year was given to one of its locators to assist the company in paying its power bills.
SBMA chairman Roberto Garcia said that while the agency received a huge amount of funding assistance from the national government this year, it was instead given to Hanjin Heavy Industries Corp. Philippines (HHICP).
The P1.47 billion subsidy was equivalent to 55 percent of the total state finance assistance released to government-owned and controlled corporations during the month.
Garcia explained the amount given was actually a form of power subsidy given by the national government, an electrical power concession granted to Hanjin through Executive Order No. 701 issued by then Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Under EO 701 issued by Arroyo in 2008, the National Power Corp and the National Transmission Corp. would provide discounted generation and transmission rates of P2.29 (US$0.0491) per kilowatt hour (kwh) within the first six years of operations and P2.80 (US$0.600) per kwh from the seventh year until the 10th year in its shipyards in Subic Bay and in Mindanao.
Power subsidy to Hanjin was provided with the Korean company’s commitment to create 50,000 jobs and infuse P168 billion (US$3.6-B) in investments in the country.
The taxpayers subsidizing the power bills of one of the world’s shipbuilding giants has been criticized, with a former labor leader here who refused to be named saying, “Hanjin has not fulfilled its promise to create 50,000 jobs and only outsource its skilled manpower needs.”
Currently, Hanjin has 21,000 workers in the shipyard, including 200 Romanians.
A published report said legal responsibilities for Hanjin workers are placed on some 55 subcontractors providing manpower for the shipbuilder.
“Our skilled workers are given the minimum monthly salary rate while the Romanian employees are paid P88,000 per month, and the Korean managers about P120,000 monthly,” the labor leader said.
“Hanjin is raking in hundreds of millions of dollars in profits yearly from the productivity of our workers and they even want our tax payers to help them foot their power bills,” the former shipyard worker lamented.