‘Business as usual’ following takeover at Ocean Adventure

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SUBIC BAY FREEPORT: Officials of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) trooped to Ocean Adventure on Thursday with Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Martin Diño, on allegations 70 armed men took over the marine park to pave the way for a new management.

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It was all for naught as the incident took place on February 13. The inspecting team found the popular marine park and its adjacent Camayan Beach Resort full of tourists and operating normally.

Police said they found no tension at the marine park. DOLE officials led by Undersecretary Bernard Olalia and Regional Director Ana Dione and SBMA officials led by Diño met with Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium, Inc. officials and workers led by its new president and chief executive officer (CEO) Scott Sharpe, to determine if the allegations of labor violations were true.

Employees who spoke to the inspecting team said it was business as usual in the theme park and resort and that they were unmindful of a rift between management executives.

“Those complaining to the media were the employees who left the company along with the ousted former president and CEO Arthur Tai,” Belen Figuerras, a supervisor, said.

Diño, who said in an earlier interview that employees had been barred from entering the facility and that the SBMA could take over Ocean Adventure if trouble broke out, appeared to have been appeased.

SBMA Administrator Wilma Eisma issued a statement clarifying reports that 70 armed men stormed Ocean Adventure to let the new management of Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium take over.

“The incident in question happened late evening of February 13, 2017. It was a result of an intra-corporate dispute that was not directly resolved by the RTC (regional trial court) of Olongapo,” Eisma said.

“Nevertheless, the SBMA informed the parties concerned that the Agency will not tolerate such acts and will strictly enforce all lawful security procedures in the Freeport,” she added.

Eisma said the security agency that provided the guards involved in the incident had been ordered to vacate Ocean Adventure and cease any operations within the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

She said the actions taken by the new management led by Sharpe in the evening of February 13 was an irregular situation and that the sudden takeover of a new security agency to man Ocean Adventure with the presence of the PNP did not have prior coordination with the SBMA.

The SBMA Law Enforcement Department will secure the perimeter of Ocean Adventure to ensure peace and order, she added.

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