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Hanjin Heavy threatens to abandon Mindanao project

Hanjin Heavy threatens to abandon Mindanao project

Manila:  There was no bribery or extortion that happened between local authorities and Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Co. Ltd. on a project in Mindanao, officials claimed yesterday as the Korean shipbuilder threatened to quit its proposed $2bn facility in the southern part of the Philippines.
In a press conference, Tagoloan Mayor Paulino Y. Emano claimed there was misunderstanding during a meeting between him and Hanjin Project Manager Gok Hyun Choi in March.
"Sometime in the month of March 2008, Hanjin Project Manager Gok Hyun Choi and I had a conference in my office and there was a discussion about the extraction of aggregates for their requirement along the Tagoloan riverbed," he said in an affidavit signed on May 2 made available to media.
"[It] was in that meeting that Mr. Choi discussed with me his proposal for the diversion of the flow of water in some areas of the Tagoloan river bed... [Having] noticed my seemingly noncommittal stance at that moment, Mr. Choi may have been prompted to ask if I am not interested in the sand and gravel project considering that it would amount to P400 million," the signed affidavit noted.
Hanjin Heavy Industries has threatened to walk away from a US$2 billion shipyard project in the Philippines.
'Hanjin Mindanao's team for the shipyard project on the Phividec Industrial Estate will withdraw, effective April 29, 2008,' Hanjin's managing director Myong Goo Kwon said in a letter to state-owned Phividec Industrial Administration.
Phividec officials have since confirmed that Hanjin's Korean staff have left the site and are in Manila.
The yard, being built on 442 hectares on the northern tip of the southern Philippine island of Mindanao, would be one of the world's three biggest. The target completion date is 2017.
Hanjin is upset over an order by the local town mayor halting construction work on the yard because the Korean shipbuilder allegedly failed to secure a local building permit and environmental compliance certificate.
However, pouring cold water on the foreign investment fiasco in a press conference in presidential house Malacanang, Press Secretary Ignacio R. Bunye said Hanjin has assured that it will not leave the country despite issues with local officials of Misamis Oriental. [6/5/08]



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