LAST February, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma “Amy” Eisma, a lawyer, unveiled the areas of focus of her agency, as outlined under a 10-point program.
This agenda is significant, as Subic is eyed to play an increasingly significant role in the continued growth of the economy, particularly in the northern section of the archipelago.
The SBMA has jurisdiction over the Special Economic and Freeport Zone, covering Subic and portions of the Redondo peninsula across it.
The 10-point program:
1. Policy Reforms and Good Governance
a. Intensify the campaign against corruption, smuggling, and illicit trade.
b. Support the proposed amendment to the Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), with particular regard to the following:
i. Increase of allocation to the SBMA of Gross Income Earned (GIE) from 1 percent to 5 percent;
ii. Extending the effectivity of the Certificates of Registration (CR) and Certificates of Registration and Tax Exemption (CRTE) of business in SBMA, from one year to five; and
iii. Strengthen the SBMA’s Law Enforcement Department Mandate.
c. Support the incentive package for investors through the Modernizing the Philippine Investment Regime program of the Department of Trade and Industry’s Board of Investment.
d. Support President Rodrigo Duterte’s End of Contractualization initiative.
2. Sustainable development
a. Maintain the reputation as a clean and environment-friendly business and tourist destination.
b. Address the need for alternative water sources, and sewage and septic facilities.
c. Secure ISO 14001 Certification: 2015 for Environmental Management Systems
3. Safety and security
a. Improve public safety and security
b. Acquire new security equipment to improve land, sea and forest security, and to particularly strengthen SBMA’s maritime security capability.
c. Establish the SBMA’s cyber-security protocols
d. Intensify the campaign for a drug-free freeport
e. Monitor the safety programs of locators across the Freeport
4. Community Engagement
a. Revitalize the culture of volunteerism, discipline, malasakit (concern, empathy) and kusang-loob (initiative) within the freeport community.
b. Coordinate with national and local government units to develop capacity-building programs for indigenous peoples and volunteers.
c. Seek locator assistance for a Volunteer Employment Program.
d. Revisit SBMA Policy on Educational Institutions to provide scholarship slots for deserving volunteers and dependents.
5. Locator Service Excellence
a. Cut red tape, through the creation of a One-Stop Shop, streamlining processes for locators.
6. Subic Freeport as Gateway
a. As a seaport
i. Intensify port marketing to increase container traffic and the number of ship calls.
ii. Continue promoting the ship-to-ship business model.
iii. Capitalize on Taiwan’s Southbound Policy.
b. As an airport
i. Re-establish the world-class stature of Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA).
1. Acquire landing systems.
2. Market SBIA for domestic and international flights.
7. Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)
a. For FDIs
i. Promote and attract high-technology industries.
ii. Attract premier educational institutions.
iii. Prioritize Research and Development (R&D), creative business process outsourcing (BPO) and information and communications technology (ICT) industries.
iv. Market the freeport, to Chinese and Russian locators.
v. Maintain Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and the United States as key FDI sources.
vi. Create industry clusters to next-wave manufacturing.
vii. Explore business incubator facilities to encourage start-up, technology-based investments.
b. For MSMEs
i. Work with the Department of Trade and Industry for easy loan access for MSME locators.
ii. Recognize MSME locators via the Mabuhay Business Awards.
8. Tourism Star
a. Create a Subic tourism brand, capitalizing on signature/landmark events, including the Summer Siren Festival, the Open Gate Grand Subic Sale, among others.
b. Capitalize on the visitor traffic that is expected with the start of Clark-to-China flights.
c. Market Subic as a cruise ship stop.
9. Build, Build, Build
a. Improve road infrastructure, particularly.
i. Widening of the access road to Morong
ii. Reconstruction of Magsaysay Bridge
b. Expand the P70.3 billion Naval Supply Depot facilities via a Public-Private Partnership.
c. Collaborate with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and Department of Transportation on the Luzon Cargo Railway Project.
d. Construct the SBMA Corporate Center.
e. Construct the Freeport Museum.
10. Freeport expansion
a. Identify and develop a masterplan for expansion within the limits of the bounds of the Special Economic and Freeport Zone.
b. Study the feasibility of reclamation to address limited land resources.