THE Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has sought the endorsement of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) of six major projects costing a total of P140 billion to build new cargo terminals, roads and bridges, in anticipation of a surge in investments in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (SBFZ).
“The SBMA has already sent a memorandum to NEDA asking it to endorse the proposal to Malacañang so that we can fast-track these projects,” Martin Diño, SBMA chairman said in a statement over the weekend.
“These infrastructure projects will bring the Subic Freeport and other centers of commerce in the Luzon area closer to each other,” he said.
The proposal is for the construction of New Container Terminals (NCTs) 3 and 4 which would need a budget of P10 billion. These two terminals are to be built parallel to NCTs 1 and 2 that now handle container shipments going in and out of Subic Port.
The previous SBMA administration had also proposed this project to accommodate the expected increase in the volume of shipments at the Subic Port.
In line with the construction of NCTs 3 and 4, Diño also recommended buiding four major roads and bridges, at a cost of P126 billion, to shorten the travel time of cargo trucks and passenger vehicles traveling between Northern Luzon and Metro Manila.
“Where these roads pass, expect rapid economic growth which means more jobs created and more revenue,” he added.
Of the total budget of P140 billion, about P91 billion will be spent on a new 65-kilometer multi-modal expressway directly connecting SBFZ to Manila; P11 billion will be used o build a 17-kilometer bypass road connecting Subic’s container terminals to Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) to allow motorists to skip the free port’s busy commercial and leisure areas.
Also in the drawing board is the P22-billion Tipo-Castillejos Bypass Road, which involves the construction of seven bridges with an overall length of over 25 kilometers.
A P2-billion budget is also sought for the Tipo-SCTEX road widening project that aims to improve the capacity of Tipo Road.
Additionally, the Naval Supply Depot, which mostly serves as storage facility for bulk grains and other non-containerized cargoes, is being eyed for expansion and improvement at a P4-billion budget.
Aside from the six big-ticket projects, Diño is suggesting the expansion of SBFZ in order to offer more space to investors. He said a 3,000-hectare industrial zone in Redondo Peninsula, located behind the shipyard of South Korean-owned Hanjin Heavy Industries Corp., can be developed for this purpose.