It’s not about China, its simply about money

January 18, 2019

WITH the ‘collapse’ of ‘Hanjin Philippines’ due to its heavy debt burden, this erstwhile, “strictly business” problem has, not surprisingly, also become a political and national security “problem.”

The latter, in turn, was fueled by speculations and reports that China is “interested” in “buying” the beleaguered company located in Subic, the former second largest military base of ‘Uncle Sam’ outside the US mainland.

It is not surprising that the ‘jingoist’ among us, those in the ‘Yellow Opposition,’ especially, are the first to register their opposition against such “deal” with China (still imaginary at this point) or even to the reported “plan” by the government to take over Hanjin, due to various considerations.

Such considerations involved “socio-economic” (the displacement of thousands of mostly skilled workers would also negatively impact on the economic growth of the affected local communities, the SBMA and beyond them, the national economy thru a reduced GDP growth in Central Luzon).

There is also the “national interest” vis-à-vis China’s feared plan of buying Hanjin.

As some self-proclaimed and self-pontificating patriots have pointed out, Subic is just several nautical miles away from the much-contested West Philippine Sea.

The Philippines is an archipelago and DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is in his right mind in pointing out that the government’s takeover of Hanjin would result in our capability to build warships of all sorts needed to protect our territorial integrity.

In terms of strengthening our national security position, the DND chief’s appreciation deserves consideration.

The only ‘fly-in-the-ointment’ so to speak, is “where” to get the money.

And this is where the real problem boils down to: where to get the money? Does the government have the money?

Are those vehement in their opposition to any “deal” involving China and very much noisy in bewailing the collapse of Hanjin, like Sen. Antonio Trillanes, also ventured to say where to get the money?

They too are also silent on this point and by being so, they are not actually contributing to any worthwhile discussion of this issue. It is always easy to shout ‘the national security interest!’ but where to get the dough to “protect” this national security interest is a totally different matter.

Some quarters in the foreign media are also raising their assortment of fears of China taking over Hanjin.

But like their local attack dogs, they too are not saying they are “interested” in taking over Hanjin, if only to prevent their fears from happening.

Hindi puwedeng pulos batikos lang, hindi ba mga kabayan? Dapat “mag-alok” din sila ng “solusyon.”

Translation? The critics and the naysayers should put their money where their mouth is.

Our local banks, “burned” to the tune of over $412 million (about P18.5 billion) in debt owed to them by Hanjin, is clearly out of the picture too. I mean, they don’t want to get “scalped” again for the same deal for the second time around, do they?

What they want now is a workable “rehabilitation plan” for Hanjin so they can collect -- regardless of who the “new owners” of Hanjin are -- the government, China, Russia, nay, even North Korea.

In short order, the issue is not about China, the issue is about M-O-N-E-Y -- and where to get it at the soonest possible time.