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26 February 2009

We did best to comply with safety laws - Hanjin

The president of Korean firm Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction on Tuesday said that they did their best to comply with the Philippine’s safety laws, rules and regulations and even promised to “go the extra mile" to protect the lives of their workers."

"[Hanjin] feels that it has done in its two years of existence its best to comply with all safety laws, rules and regulations and if necessary would go the extra mile of providing what is lacking in this laws to completely protect the lives of our workers," Hanjin president Jeong Sup Shim told the Senate panel investigating the fatal accidents in the shipyard and construction site.

He added that Hanjin would continue to contribute to the economic development of the Philippines.

Based on the records of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, there were 19 work-related deaths at Hanjin.

Jeong Sup Shim thanked the Senate and other parties for the concern to the safety of their shipyard but he asked the panel to be objective in releasing its findings.

"The Senate and other parties will gather enough information to come up with a fair finding taking into account both sides of legislation with all objectivity and impartiality, " Jeong said.

"We believe that the purpose of the inquiry is in aid of legislation and to further improve the safety of the workplace and not really to find fault in our company which could easily hinder operations," he added.

Jeong said the firm will recognize the findings of the panel. "We are one with the Senate and other concerned parties that it is vital to implement health and safety programs in our shipyard," Jeong said.

Upon the questioning of Senator Pilar Juliana Cayetano, Jeong said that being the company’s president, his primary job is to concentrate in marketing and getting ship orders.

He said he is just relying on the report of his men on the ground particularly about labor matters. Mr. Jeong assumed his position only in February 2008.

Also present at the hearing were Hanjin general manager Myung Goo Kwon and deputy managing director Pyeong Jong Yu; Feliciano Salonga, chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority and representatives from the Department of Labor and Employment and Department of Health. (Amita Legaspi, GMANews.TV)

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