MANILA -- Allowing the military to build its own ships will be a "major decision" that needs further discussion, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said Thursday, after the Navy chief suggested taking over debt-saddled Hanjin.
The government's role is to secure the nation and "not do the direct production of whatever they use," Diokno said.
"Can you imagine the military producing their own ships? That is a major decision. We have to discuss it," Diokno said.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday said he "brought up" with President Rodrigo Duterte a suggestion from Navy Flag Officer-in-Command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad to "take over" the Hanjin shipyard in Subic Bay.
Duterte was "open to the idea," Lorenzana said.
Hanjin filed a petition for rehabilitation before an Olongapo City court last week and its 5 Filipino creditors, BDO Unibank, Bank of the Philippine Islands, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp, Metrobank and LandBank of the Philippines are taking collective action to cover $412 million in debt.
Senator Richard Gordon, who once headed the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority where Hanjin is located, said government should seek Korean partners should the takeover push through.
The military will save money if the Navy were to build its own boats, he said. Hanjin also established the Philippines among the world's largest shipbuilding sites.
"Dapat i-take over yan kung kinakailangan," he said in a statement.
(If necessary, there should be a takeover.)