Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Arroyo Inspects Asia's Biggest Shipbuilding Facility in Subic

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo inspected Wednesday the ongoing construction in Subic Bay, Zambales - the biggest shipbuilding facility in Asia that is expected to contribute considerably to the local economy, apart from providing thousands of jobs to Filipino workers.

The President arrived at 10 a.m. and inspected the construction works at the Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Company (HHIC) (KSE:003480) shipyard located in Agusuhin, Redondo Peninsula, some 45 minutes by ferry from the Subic Bay Freeport.

Among those who welcomed the President were HHIC chairman Cho Nam Ho, HHIC president Jeong Sup Shim, Zambales Governor Vic Magsaysay, Bataan Governor Enrique Garcia, Pampanga Governor Mark Lapid, Olongapo City Mayor James Gordon Jr., Subic Mayor Jeffrey Khonghun, and Korean Ambassador Jong Ki Hong.

With the President were Finance Secretary Margarito Teves, Public Works Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane, Trade Secretary Peter Favila, Presidential Chief of Staff Mike Defensor, and Presidential Management Staff (PMS) Chief Arthur Yap.

South Korea's HHIC, one of the world's largest shipbuilders, signed last March a US$1 billion lease agreement with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) for the construction of a 480 hectare shipyard at the Redondo Peninsula.

The President said Hanjin is the biggest investor in the country in the first quarter of this year, putting in some US$250 million of their US$1 billion total investment upon completion of their world-class facility by 2011. ADVERTISEMENT

"Construction is in full swing as we can see, a sure marker of both growing trust and confidence in the Philippine economy. I am totally focused on the economy because only a strong economy will lift our people out of poverty," the President said.

To further improve the prevailing conducive atmosphere in the Subic Bay Freeport, the President said government would continue its anti-graft campaign to reduce red tape which is indispensable to a strong and competitive economy.

"We are doing our best to create the most conducive and profitable environment for our investors. We expect more world-class companies like Hanjin to come and use the growing possibilities in our country to give more jobs to the great Filipino worker," she added.

President Arroyo noted that Hanjin has filled up 2,400 jobs for Filipino workers such as engineers, welders, pipe fitters, foremen and crane operators and is expected to generate up to 30,000 direct and indirect employment when it becomes fully operational.

She said Hanjin has pre-orders of 12 container ships costing US$60 million each and will begin producing in March next year.

The President said the facility has an annual projected production of 60 ships or five ships per month that would translate to some US$1 billion in exports per year.

"Subic is bound to become one of the four largest shipbuilding facilities in the world," she stressed.

To make the Freeport more conducive to investments, the President said complementing the Hanjin project is the P6.9 billion (US$137.5 million) Subic Bay Port Development Project and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway project that would both be finished by next year.



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