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03 June 2009

Hanjin to hire 24,000 more workers for Subic & Misamis Oriental plants

MANILA - Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Corp. will hire 24,000 more Filipino workers for its Subic and Misamis Oriental plants, the government announced on Tuesday.

At present, Hanjin Philippines Inc., the corporation´s main office in the Philippines, employs 16,000 workers.

During a meeting with Hanjin Philippines President Jong Shup Shim, President Gloria Arroyo lauded the company´s billion-dollar investment in its Subic shipyard, and the additional multi-billion investment in a new facility in Misamis Oriental, which would make the Philippines the fourth-largest shipbuilder in the world.

Jong later told reporters that starting September, Hanjin would begin local production of ship components that they normally import from South Korea for the assembly of work at Subic.

Jong estimated that the company would be able to manufacture $29-million worth of locally produced components for the first year, and he expressed confidence that this amount would increase to $57 million next year.

Jong said the company would make the ships produced at the Hanjin shipyard in Subic, entirely and proudly, Philippine-made.

Medal of Merit

As this developed, President Arroyo conferred the Presidential Medal of Merit on the former president Hanjin Philippines Inc., Jong Shup Shim, for making that firm one of the world´s largest shipbuilding conglomerates and for his contribution to the shipbuilding industry in the Philippines.

Jong was also credited for influencing Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Corp., to put up a shipbuilding facility in the Subic Freeport Zone in Zambales.

The ceremony was held on Jeju Island, South Korea, at the sidelines of the 20th Anniversary of Asean and Republic of Korea Commemorative Summit. Asean is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a regional bloc of 10 countries that includes the Philippines.

More hirings

Some 600 Filipino seamen were hired daily, despite the global economic crisis, Giovanni Lopez, vice president of the Luneta Seafarer´s Center (LSC), said also on Tuesday. He added that the demand for Filipinos seafarers even increased, and if there were layoffs, they would normally be the last to go -after other foreign workers.

On average, some 1,000 jobs were available daily at the popular seamen´s hub on Kalaw Street, Manila, where 112 manning agencies offer jobs to the thousands of Filipino seafarers who troop to the center everyday.

"Over the last two years, the global maritime industry´s choice for Filipino seafarers continues, and it will never face a bleak future if you look into the official running count of available jobs being offered to them everyday," he said.

Lopez also said the Philippines was the biggest source of maritime workers in the world, and he believed that the demand for Filipino seafarers would "not be dampened in a big way."

He added that until 2012-when more modern vessels would be set to sail-the international maritime industry would be needing ship captains, marine deck officers, chief engineers, cooks, stewards and other maritime crew.

Filipino seafarers comprise 35 percent to 40 percent of the global maritime manpower. (Angelo S. Samonte nad Bernice Camille V. Bauzon, Manila Times)

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