17 August 2018

SBITC, Royal Cargo team up for expansion

ICTSI subsidiary Subic Bay International Terminal Corp. (SBITC) has teamed up with Royal Cargo Inc. to provide seamless movement of goods to and from North and Central Luzon (NCL) and help small and medium-sized enterprises expand their operations.

The partnership between the two firms seeks to provide the business community in NCL a world-class and highly efficient fourth party logistics combination delivering superior customer service and attractive pricing.

Unloading at SBITC's Container Terminal 1 in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone

“The joint efforts of the terminal and Royal Cargo have increased cold-storage options that will improve the quality of refrigerated cargo coming in and out of the country in a fast and efficient manner. This creates opportunities within the value chain to allow local businesses to promote their market further outside of traditional centers like Manila,” SBITC president Roberto Locsin said.

“The north hub will take us one step closer to helping companies across the country achieve growth and expand the new markets such as the Asia-Pacific region. With SBITC, we are now able to provide a direct connectivity to major Intra-Asia and global ports which makes our operations a lot easier,” Royal Cargo president Elmer Sarmiento said.

According to SBITC, Subic’s terminal handling charges are 48 percent less expensive compared to other terminals despite being the first and only on-dock warehouse in Region 3 that can connect to NCL largest cold-chain facility operated by Royal Cargo.

“Businesses that ship via Royal Cargo can now take advantage of SBITC’s perks such as its one-stop shop service facilities and 10-day free storage period while enjoying the terminal’s world class container handling services, not to mention SBMA’s deferred payment of duties and taxes,” Locsin said.

SBITC said the completion of the Plaridel Bypass Road Phase 3 in Bulacan would also allow for faster delivery service, at the same time reduces travel time going in and out of the north hub.

“The best thing about this collaboration with Royal Cargo is its sustainable shipping services we can offer to the Filipino entrepreneurs in NCL despite their increasing logistics demands. NCL is a successful, strong business hub in the making and I couldn’t be more proud knowing SBITC is going to be part of that success,” Locsin said.

SBITC is a common-user, multi-purpose terminal, providing on and off-dock marine port cargo and container handling services in Subic Freeport Area. (Richmond Mercurio, The Philippine Star)

Read more at https://www.philstar.com/business/2018/08/15/1842569/sbitc-royal-cargo-team-expansion#JZsPxS69RjXTU6vu.99

Aboitiz donates rescue boat, emergency gear to SBMA

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) received on Monday, August 13, a boat and other emergency response equipment from Aboitiz Foundation, Inc., the social development arm of the Aboitiz Group of Companies.

The donations were formally sealed with the signing of a memorandum of agreement between the Subic Enerzone Corp. (SEZ), an Aboitiz company represented by its senior vice president and COO Dante Pollescas, and SBMA chairman and administrator Wilma Eisma.

The equipment consisted of an aluminum rescue boat with engine, 10 heavy duty flashlights, two 200-meter polypropylene rope, two sets of heavy duty first aid kits, 10 life vests, 10 pieces of life ring buoy, and 10 pairs of heavy duty safety boots, with a total value of P247,000.

Eisma said the rescue equipment will augment the limited resources of the SBMA Emergency and Rescue Team, which also responds to requests for assistance during emergencies in the nearby communities of Olongapo City, Zambales, and Bataan.

She said that Enerzone and Aboitiz Foundation had always been partners in emergency response, pointing out that since 2007, Enerzone and Aboitiz Foundation have been allocating P125,000 annually for the maintenance of seven ambulances of the SBMA’s Emergency Medical Services through the “Adopt-an-Ambulance” program.

Aside from the SBMA, Pollescas said SEZ and Aboitiz Foundation had also donated disaster-preparedness and response equipment to community rescue groups in Olongapo City, including the barangays of Kalaklan, West Bajac-Bajac, Santa Rita, and Old Cabalan.

At the same time, the SBMA authorities also acknowledged the donation made by Crown Peak Estate Developers, Inc. which operates hotels and tourism and recreation facilities at the Upper Cubi Area in the Subic Bay Freeport.

Crown Peak president Anthony Trillo personally turned over the donation consisting of two motorcycles to SBMA senior deputy administrator for support services Ramon Agregado.

Also on hand to receive the donation were SBMA Law Enforcement Department (SBMA-LED) head Col. Vicente Tolentino and Maj. Jose Alquizar, head of the SBMA-LED physical security and community relations division. (Ric Sapnu, SunStar)


15 August 2018

Subic to host first Spartan Trifecta Race in Southeast Asia

Another historic first will happen here next month when Subic hosts the country’s first Trifecta Weekend for Spartan Race, the most popular obstacle course race (OCR) in the world today, at the Camayan Beach Resort on September 15-16.

Race Director Michael Reyes said in a press conference here on Wednesday that this will be the first Trifecta event in the whole of Southeast Asia where all three medals can be earned in one weekend.

“This particular Trifecta Weekend will serve as the grand finale for the Southeast Asian Championship Series and will be offering the only Spartan Beast race in the SEA Series,” Reyes said.

“We are expecting around 5,000 athletes to participate in the event since the reception we got in the last three events was phenomenal. We estimate around 7,000 finishers in the Philippines with 99.99 percent finish rate,” he added.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Wilma T. Eisma said in the same briefing that the Spartan Race would add to the already large number of prestigious sporting events being held in Subic, including the first full Ironman that was held here in July.

“Subic has been hailed last year as the best sports tourism destination in Asia, and now with the Spartan Race we’re cementing this free port’s reputation as the endurance sports capital, too,” she added.

The Spartan Race Trifecta Weekend is part of the South East Asia (SEA) Series Finale that will take place on September 15 and 16, holding three races in one epic weekend. The race will be held at the West Ilanin Forest area of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

Reyes said the Subic Trifecta Weekend will comprise all three Spartan Races: Spartan Sprint, which is a six-kilometer long, 20-obstacle course; Spartan Super, a 13-km, 25-obstacle course; and the Spartan Beast, a 21-km, 30-obstacle course.

The Spartan Beast will be held on September 15, a Saturday, while the Spartan Sprint and Super categories will be held on September 16, a Sunday.

Reyes said Spartan racers from all over Southeast Asia will be coming to Subic Bay Freeport to gain a spot in the 2018 World Championship in Lake Tahoe.

He said the top ten male and female finishers from the elite category, the top five male and female racers in the 14-17, 18-24, and 50+ age groups, and the top ten male and female entrants in the 25-29, 30-39, and 40-49 age groups will earn their spots in the 2018 Asia Pacific Championships in Johor, Malaysia on December 2018.

Meanwhile, the top three finishers in both the elite and age group categories will qualify in the Regional Championship, as well as the World Championships in Lake Tahoe at the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Ocean Adventure founder Scott Sharpe said the company plans to create a small obstacle course inside the Camayan Beach Resort here to give tourists a taste of the Spartan Race course.

The firm will also plan to create a fitness facility here based on the OCR model, he added. (JRR/MPD-SBMA)


SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma welcomes the holding of the Spartan Trifecta Race in the Subic Bay Freeport following the announcement of the event by Race Director Michael Reyes (middle) and SBMEI founder Scott Sharpe. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

Subic firm turns over P250-K donation for Ayta students

Networx Jetsports, a registered business locator in this free port, donated on Wednesday boxes of school supplies and brand new electric appliances for an Ayta community school in Barangay Cawag, Subic, Zambales.

Networx representative Manuel Sequeira said the donations were from the proceeds of the recent 2018 Jet Ski and Boat Charity Fun Run held at the Silangin Cove in San Antonio, Zambales, which drew nearly 400 foreign and local jet ski and boat enthusiasts aboard 83 jet skis and 30 boats.

Sequeira said the group was able to raise P250,000 cash and decided to donate the amount to the Ayta tribal community at Sitio San Martin in Cawag.

Assisted by community officers of the Subic Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), Networx formally turned over to the Cawag Resettlement Elementary School seven flat-screen television sets and 14 ceiling fans.

The group also gave away to the San Martin Ayta tribal leaders various school supplies for 34 kindergarten and elementary school pupils.

Meanwhile, SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma lauded Networx Jetsports for showing “malasakit” to the indigenous people in Cawag, saying it was a good example that could be emulated by other business locators in the Subic Bay Freeport.

San Martin Ayta tribal members, headed by chieftain Antonio Cabalic, expressed gratitude to the donors during the turnover.

“Nagpapasalamat po kami sa Networx Jetsports para sa school supplies na ipinagkaloob nila sa amin. Napakalaking tulong po ang mga ito sa mga mag-aaral na Ayta na karamihan ay nahihirapang makabili ng kagamitan sa eskwela (We thank the Networx Jetsports for the school supplies they gave us. This is a big help to Ayta students, most of whom cannot afford to buy school supplies,” Cabalic said.

The Ayta tribal community at Sitio San Martini is about two kilometers away from the Cawag Resettlement Elementary School. Most of the students walk all the way to the school, as a one-way tricycle ride— the only mode of public transportation in the area— costs P27.

Cabalic said the educational equipment and supplies donated by Networx would go a long way in raising the level of instruction in the Ayta community school. (MPD-SBMA)


[1] Networx representative Manuel Sequeira turns over school equipment and supplies worth P250,000 to the Cawag Resettlement Elementary School in Subic, Zambales.

[2] Ayta school children join Ayta chieftain Antonio Cabalic in receiving boxes of school supplies donated by Networx Jetsports to the Ayta community in Sitio San Martin, Cawag, Subic, Zambales.

SBMA chief refutes graft complaint

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma has refuted allegations of graft and misconduct filed before the Office of the Ombudsman, saying there is no conflict of interest on her part in representing the agency in a joint venture with a business locator here.

Eisma was accused on Monday by lawyer Raymund Palad of dishonesty, gross misconduct, violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, as well as conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the government, for allegedly failing to divest her interest in TECO (Philippines) 3C & Appliances Inc., an enterprise registered in the Subic Bay Freeport.

But Eisma clarified that she is simply representing SBMA’s interest in the company as a nominal shareholder of 25 qualifying shares and as a nominee director.

“The people behind this complaint would like to obfuscate the fact that TECO is owned by the Subic Bay Development and Management Corp. (SBDMC), which is a joint venture between the SBMA and the UDC Group of Taiwan,” Eisma said.

“SBMA has a 49% stake in SBDMC, which was formed in 1994 to develop and manage the Taiwanese Industrial Park in Subic, while UDC has 51%. SBDMC owns TECO and, therefore, SBMA is a co-owner of TECO—which is why I was nominated by the SBDMC Board to represent its shareholdings in TECO,” she added.

Eisma stressed that her shareholding and directorship in TECO is by virtue of her official capacity to represent SBDMC's and SBMA's interests in the said company.

She said that this was not the first time that an SBMA official also held shares and sat as a director in TECO in order to represent SBDMC's direct and SBMA's indirect interest.

She also said there was no conflict of interest on her part to issue a Certificate of Registration and Tax Exemption (CRTE) for TECO “since this is a ministerial function and TECO has completed all requirements for the issuance of a CRTE.”

“I don't own those shares in my personal capacity; rather, I represent those shares as an official of the SBMA which has an interest to protect in TECO,” she said.

“Atty. Palad complains that I did not divest of my investment in TECO to avoid conflict of interest in the performance of my official functions. But how can I divest myself of something that I do not own? How can I even avoid being in TECO when this was brought about precisely by my official function as SBMA head?” Eisma lamented.

The SBMA official bewailed that some parties appear to be making up issues about the SBMA in order to gain public exposure presumably for political gain, or to protect their business interests in Subic.

“I know that we in the current SBMA Board of Directors are stepping on some big toes because of our program to collect overdue accounts and to takeover facilities that investors have failed to develop and maintain, but we are not here to make popular decisions, just the right ones,” Eisma said.

“Now these people who are apparently concocting charges from thin air, why do they want me suspended or maybe even removed? Whose interest are they protecting?” she asked.

Refusing to name names, she said that a former top SBMA official who now holds a top government post has been discrediting her in public forum for no apparent reason.

“I hope that he would stop being bitter about his SBMA past because, after all, we are workers in the government together. If we really cared about President Duterte and what he stands for, then let us do our jobs like what the President asked us to do,” Eisma added. (HEE/MPD-SBMA)

11 August 2018

Swiss cruise line eyes Subic Bay Freeport

A Swiss cruise line has become the fourth international cruise line to make this premier Freeport its next destination.

MSC Cruises, which is part of the Mediterranean Shipping Company S.A. (MSC), the world's second biggest container shipping operator, is scouting the area because of the tourist spots in the Subic Freeport, as well as those found in the nearby communities.

MSC Cruises officials led by Port Operations assistant Ian Meachem met with Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority chairman and administrator Wilma T. Eisma recently to discuss the possibility of making Subic a part of its itinerary.

He was accompanied here by Antonio Calingo Jr., assistant general manager of Wallem Philippines Shipping, Inc., the leading ship agent in the Philippines.

In the meeting, Eisma briefed the visitors about local destinations and pointed out the places where most tourists from visiting cruise ships go during their stops here.

She added that the SBMA has plans to turn the coastal area of the town of San Antonio in Zambales into a cruise-ship docking area and resort destination.

Meachem noted that the tourist spots in and around the Subic Freeport appear interesting, especially to tour operators who want a little bit of everything. He added that certain requirements had to be met before the company commits to make Subic a part of their itinerary. (Ric Sapnu, SunStar)

read more --> https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1757281


Dancers in colorful costumes welcomed the Ovation of the Seas during its maiden visit to Subic Bay Freeport. (AMD/MPD-SBMA) 

04 August 2018

Port users raise Subic collections by 46% in Q2

Hefty payments by port users in the Subic Bay Freeport resulted to an increase of 46 percent in customs collections in the second quarter of 2018, compared to total collections in the same period last year.

The Bureau of Customs at the Port of Subic (BOC-Subic) reported that it collected a total of P5.27 billion in April to June this year, compared to P3.6 billion in April-June 2017, or a difference of P1.66 billion.

Meanwhile, the 2018 collection figures also increased considerably from P4.8 billion in January-March 2018 to P5.2 billion in April-June 2018, or a difference of P429 million, for a growth rate of 8.85 percent.

Combined figures from the two quarters also gave BOC-Subic a total tax haul of P10.12 billion, which represents a 28.43 percent increase over the 2017 first semester total of P7.88 billion.

BOC-Subic’s newly appointed district collector Segundo Sigmundfreud Z. Barte Jr. attributed the increased collection following his appointment on April 27 to the “full support and cooperation of this Port to the plans and programs of BOC Commissioner Isidro S. Lapeña, and SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma.”

Eisma, meanwhile, cited the SBMA’s “long-standing cooperation with Subic Customs in going after those who seek to profit by illegal means” and recalled that joint operations by the SBMA Law Enforcement Department and the BOC-Port of Subic had resulted in the seizure of highly dutiable items like vehicles, wines and liquors, as well as imported rice.

“I’m glad that BOC personnel in Subic are very cooperative with the SBMA in curbing smuggling, as this illegal activity bleeds our economy dry,” Eisma added.

Barte also said that from January to June this year, BOC-Subic posted a total of P6.91 billion in revenue contributions from Subic’s Top 20 port users alone.

The top ten payers are: PTT Philippines Corp. with P1.43 billion, the highest revenue contributor so far this year; Cebu Air, Inc., P921.9 million; Micro Dragon Petroleum, Inc., P663.9 million; Marubeni Philippines, Corp., P456.9 million; RK3 International Trading, Inc., P446.5 million; High Glory Subic Int’l Logistics, Inc., P372.5 million; Warbucks Industries Corp., P341 million; Insular Oil Corp., P314 million; United Auctioneers, Inc., P310.3 million; and Murami Subic Trading Corp., P259.7 million.

The others are: Petron Corporation, with P216.7 million; Filoil Logistics Corp., P177.7; Masinloc Power Partners Co., Ltd, P162.9 million; Era1 Petroleum corp., P145.7 million; Nestle Philippines, Inc., P135.7 million; Rockoil Central Trading Corp., P130.9 million; Phoenix Petroleum Philippines, Inc., P130.9 million; Pilipinas Shell Petroleum, P114.3 million; PMFTC, Inc., P106.9 million; and Apollo Subic Int’l Trading Corp., P67.9 million.

Barte also said that BOC-Subic will prioritize its drive to meet or even surpass targets for the remaining months of July to December this year. He likewise vowed full support to the SBMA thrust of developing Subic into a global player in logistics. (RFD/MPD-SBMA)


District Collector Segundo Sigmundfreud Z. Barte Jr. tells about growing customs collection in the Subic Bay Freeport during a media briefing organized by the SBMA on Monday. (MPD-SBMA)

SBMA releases P147.13 million for 1st semester LGU shares

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has released P147.13 million representing the first-semester 2018 revenue share for local government units (LGUs) contiguous to the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma distributed individual checks for the LGU shares on Wednesday, August 1, during a meeting with mayors and municipal treasurers at the Fortune Restaurant here.

The biggest share went to Olongapo City at P34,356,210.73; followed by Subic, Zambales with P22,438,000.32; Dinalupihan, Bataan with P18,317,950.71; and San Marcelino, Zambales with P17,652,452.62.

Next came Hermosa, Bataan with P15,292,064.02; Castillejos, Zambales with P13,656,489.21; Morong, Bataan with P12,776,665.57; and San Antonio, Zambales with P12,664,679.21.

Eisma said that the latest releases brought the cumulative LGU shares distributed by the SBMA in the last eight years to a total of P1,649,947,885.13.

This means an average release of P206.24 million every year to the eight LGUs covered by the benefit taken from the 5% tax paid by enterprises registered in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

Again Olongapo City received the biggest share in the eight years that the SBMA began directly releasing the shares to the LGUs.

SBMA records indicate that Olongapo has received a total of P396.79 million; Subic, Zambales had P246.42 million; Dinalupihan, P206.39 million; and San Marcelino, P198.89 million.

Meanwhile, Hermosa received a total of P169.29 million; Castillejos, P145.03 million; San Antonio, P144.06 million; and Morong, P143.05 million.

Eisma said the SBMA began directly releasing the shares to LGUs in 2010. Before this, Subic business locators paid their 5% corporate tax to the BIR, which remits payments to the national treasury. Then the Department of Budget Management released the 2% share to the LGUs concerned.

Under Republic Act No. 9400, which amended RA 7227 or the Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992, business enterprises within the Subic Freeport Zone only pay a 5% tax on their gross income earned within the zone.

The corporate taxes are remitted as follows: 3% to the national government and 2% to the SBMA for distribution to LGUs affected by the declaration of, and contiguous to the zone.

Meanwhile, the 2% share is divided according to population (50 percent), land area (25 percent), and equal sharing (25 percent). (HEE/MPD-SBMA)


SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma (left) hands over the checks to representatives of recipient LGUs. From top clockwise: Dinalupihan, Bataan Mayor Ma. Angela Garcia and another municipal official; San Antonio, Zambales Mayor Estela Antipolo; Castillejos, Zambales Mayor Jose Angelo Dominguez (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

29 July 2018

DOT working with Royal Air for Macau-Subic chartered flights

The Department of Tourism (DOT) is now working with Royal Air Charter Service Inc. to mount charter flights between Macau and Subic Bay International Airport seven times a week.

The DOT said that Royal Air is planning to mount daily flights from Macau to Subic Bay on a daily frequency using a 97-seater aircraft.

“Royal Air is among our airline partners which the DOT is working with to bring in tourists from China. Through our Route Development Team, we are providing marketing support to air carriers to increase tourist traffic to underutilized international gateways in the Philippines such as the Subic Bay International Airport,” said DOT Undersecretary and spokesperson Benito Bengzon Jr.

If the said carrier agrees, it is expected to produce additional 697 international air seats or about 35,308 seats per year from China, the DOT stated.

Bengzon said Subic Bay is a special economic zone in the country “which by law allows the entry of foreign nationals without the required visa for a maximum of 14 days.”

“This is a good opportunity for Philippine tourism as Chinese nationals do not need to queue in our consular offices in China to secure the entry visa to the Philippines. Subic Bay has a lot to offer to leisure and business travelers with its natural, cultural, and adventure attractions coupled with world-class accommodations and other tourist facilities,” Bengzon said. (Analou De Vera, Manila Standard)


Subic landslide clearing finished next week

With a small army of workers and volunteers, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) expects the massive landside that killed one person at the Aparri Road here to be finally cleared by next week.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the agency’s technical group estimated that it would take about 400 dump-truck loads to finally clear about 4,000 cubic meters of muddy soil that collapsed from a hill here early Monday.

“We are already working from both ends of the landslide to clear it faster, but at the rate the crew can go with the continuous rain, clearing operations that started last Monday may be completed only by Friday next week,” Eisma said.

“It’s good that we have enough pay-loaders, dump trucks and backhoes because a lot of locator-companies volunteered their heavy equipment, but what we lack is manpower. We need alternate operators because work continues until night time,” she explained.

Eisma also pointed out that continuous rains have resulted in other minor landslides in other areas in the Freeport. The multiple landslides started Sunday as heavy rains from Tropical Depression Josie and the southwest monsoon soaked the Subic Freeport and surrounding areas.

At least three companies in the Freeport were affected by landslides, while three others reported flooding that damaged some facilities, the SBMA Business and Investment Department said.

Meanwhile, two persons were caught in the Aparri Road landslide that occurred before 4 a.m. Monday, July 23. One was pulled out alive from the rubble after three hours, but the other one did not make it.

According to Engr. Marco Estabillo, SBMA deputy administrator for public works and technical services, aside from clearing Aparri Road, a lot of slope protection work needs to be done at the landslide site.

“As an interim measure, we are diverting water into the drainage through sandbagging, so that water will not seep into the soil further. The permanent solution, however, is to construct gabions, which are basically wire cages filled with rocks, to make the slope stable,” Estabillo said.

A report from the SBMA Ecology Center indicated that the heaviest rain in Subic since January 2013 fell last Sunday, July 22. The most amount of average precipitation, or rainfall, was also recorded this year at approximately 400.21 millimeters (mm). One millimeter of rainfall means that one square meter of space has one liter of water in it.

Before this, the heaviest average rainfall in the Subic Freeport since 2013 was posted in 2016 at 339.48 mm, while the least amount was in 2015 at 180.17 mm.

SBMA Ecology Center manager Amethya dela Llana added that landslides broke out in areas where the soil composition has poor water-holding capacity. Most areas in the Subic Freeport are considered “moderately susceptible” to rain-induced landslide, she added.

As of now, the SBMA is doing both prevention and cure—deploying sandbags to fortify erosion-prone slopes, while clearing eroded slopes of the rubble.

Eisma said volunteers from the SBMA, Philippine Navy and some business locators in Subic are working overtime and have produced close to 14,000 sandbags since Tuesday.

“We’re doing everything to hasten normalcy of operations that were disrupted by natural disasters,” Eisma said. “It may take another week for us to clear Aparri Road, but eventually we will.” (HEE/MPD-SBMA)


[1] SBMA firemen and maintenance workers clear the road of debris left by flooding and erosion in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

[2] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma joins volunteers in filling sandbags for use in slope protection at erosion-prone areas in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

[3] A pay-loader and backhoe dump debris onto a truck, as the SBMA fast-tracks clearing operations at the massive landslide site in the Subic Bay Freeport.

[4] SBMA maintenance workers repair road damaged by floodwaters in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

(Photos by MPD-SBMA)

20 July 2018

Subic wooing Taiwanese tourists

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is eyeing more visitors to the Subic Bay Freeport from Taiwan with the recent launch of direct flights to Taipei from the neighboring Clark Freeport in Pampanga.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma welcomed here on Friday several Chinese Taipei bloggers, who visited various tourism attractions in Subic with the purpose of promoting them in Taiwan.

The visitors were accompanied by Region III Tourism Officer Marilou Pangilinan, who met them at the Clark International Airport with the first Taipei to Clark flight of AirAsia Philippines, which has just resumed international flights via the Clark hub.

Eisma said the SBMA, with the help of the Department of Tourism, is working to establish Subic as a destination for Taiwanese visitors, who are now the sixth biggest group of tourists in the country.

“Subic has been blessed with many tourist attractions, and we want to use every possible means to entice visitors to come and enjoy Subic,” Eisma said.

“Having these bloggers experiencing first-hand the beauty of our place and the hospitality of our people, is one giant step in conveying our invitation to the people of Taiwan,” she added.

The bloggers group started their tour at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center, where they met with the SBMA tourism officials. Then they proceeded to the Zoobic Safari nature park, where they enjoyed a “close encounter’ activity with park tigers; and thence to the Ocean Adventure marine park, where they watched animal shows.

Following a sumptuous lunch at the Acea Subic Bay Resort, which is renowned for hosting international triathlon events, the group then went on a bay cruise organized by The Lighthouse Marina Resort marketing director Zed Avecilla. The yacht tour gave them a glimpse into Subic’s mangrove forest, Ilanin Bay, and the historic World War II fort at Grande Island.

DOT’s Pangilinan said that Chinese Taipei tourists have often used Clark Airport as their entry point to the Philippines. And while the Taiwanese frequented destinations such as Bohol, Palawan, Cebu and Benguet, they have little knowledge about Central Luzon’s tourist spots, she added.

Chairman Eisma expressed the hope that through the write-ups to be made by the visiting bloggers, Taiwanese tourists looking for new areas to visit would consider Subic Bay Freeport Zone as one of their stops during their stay in the country.

According to government figures, Taiwan is the sixth biggest source of tourists for the Philippines, with about 60,000 arrivals for the period January to March this year.

Records from the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Office in Manila, meanwhile, placed Filipino traverlers to Taiwan at close to 300,000 in 2017. (JRR/MPD-SBMA)


[1] Taiwanese bloggers visit the Zoobic Safari theme park in the Subic Bay Freeport, accompanied by tourism officers from the SBMA and the Region III office of the Department of Tourism.

[2] A Taiwanese blogger reacts while feeding a tiger at the Zoobic Safari theme park in the Subic Bay Freeport.

[3] SBMA Chairman Wilma T. Eisma (fourth from right) join Taiwanese bloggers at the Subic Bay Yacht Club during their visit to promote the Subic Bay Freeport on Friday.

[4] Taiwanese bloggers aboard a yacht while touring Subic Bay with The Lighthouse Marina Resort marketing director Zed Avecilla (center).

18 July 2018

Extreme trail run returns to Subic Freeport

Even the rains cannot dampen fun and excitement in this premier adventure tourism enclave, as the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) announced various events timed for the rainy season.

The biggest thriller scheduled so far this month is the Subic leg of Salomon Xtrail Pilipinas, an all-terrain running race that will take participants on July 22 along some of the wildest, wettest, and most wearying nature trails in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

“Just when you thought Subic would rest because of inclement weather, it now hosts extreme adventure events to make your visit as enjoyable as during summer,” observed Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma.

“We also have races, animal shows, exhibitions, cruise-ship arrivals, and festivals practically the whole year round, so there’s never a long lull here even during the rainy season,” she added.

The upcoming Salomon Xtrail is one of the most anticipated races today, as it is reputed to be a more technical trail running race, with a mixture of different terrain surfaces including dirt, rocks, sand and concrete paths. It is held throughout Southeast Asia with countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Philippines hosting the event.

SBMA Tourism Manager Jem Camba said they expect around 3,000 local and foreign participants this year for the event organized by Primer Group of Companies and Extribe, Inc.

After the Luzon leg in Subic, the race will be run in Davao on August 12 for the Mindanao leg, and in Iloilo on September 16 for the Visayas leg.

Camba said this year’s competition in Subic will involve two race categories – the Trail Run category for beginners with 6-km and 12-km distances, and the more technical Mountain Run designed for experienced runners with 24-km and 32-km distances.

It will take participants along rocky dirt roads, muddy mountain trains, and across swollen streams and overgrown grasslands.

“These trails might be technical and challenging to some, but they will always showcase the beauty of the forests, rivers and mountains in the Subic Bay Freeport,” Camba said.

Aside from the Salomon Xtrail, Subic hosted the Ironman Full Distance and 70.3 Triathlon on June 3, kicking off the start of the rainy season here with the first full-distance Ironman to be held in the country.

This was followed by the qualifying race for the Youth Olympic Games organized by the Triathlon Association of the Philippines on June 17; the Tri-United Leg 1 by Run Bike Swim, Inc. on June 29-30; and the Tri-United Leg 2 on July 1.

Meanwhile, the month of June also started out with a tourism bang with the return here of the cruise ship MV Costa Atlantica on June 5 and June 19, and the first arrival of Dream Cruises’ latest vessel MV World Dream on June 6, as well as Royal Caribbean International’s MS Ovation of the Seas, the biggest cruise ship operating in Asia, on June 8.

This month, Subic expects two more return of Costa Atlantica, its 11th and 12th arrival, after the cruise line Costa Crociere made Subic a part of the ship’s regular Asian itinerary.

In August, the SBMA has also calendared two more Costa Atlantica visits on August 14 and 28; the Feast of San Roque on August 16; and the arrival of another Royal Caribbean cruise liner, the MS Voyager of the Seas, on August 26. (JRR/MPD-SBMA)


Salomon Xtrail participants rough it out in previous Subic editions of the trail run. (MPD-SBMA)

SBMA urges locators: ‘Connect, or go extinct!’

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has urged business locators here to invest more in technology to remain competitive, or simply be left behind.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said companies operating in the Subic Freeport have to strengthen their capacity to interconnect computing systems and application platforms because it is the key to meeting the growing demands in the local and international markets.

“We should always be on the cutting edge,” Eisma said. “Investors in Subic, especially, should try to keep up with the changing demands of their clients and the global market through faster transaction and real-time monitoring.”

“If they don’t think about connectivity, they’d go the way of the dinosaurs—they’ll be just as extinct as far as competition goes,” she added.

The SBMA official made this exhortation at the side lines of the first Information and Communications Technology Forum held recently at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center (SBECC), where the country’s telecommunications giants PLDT, Smart Communications, Converge ICT Solution, and Globe Telecom/Innové showed off their latest products and services.

Among the new offerings by PLDT and Smart Communications were applications on cloud computing and hosting, co-location, and managed security and network services.

On the other hand, Globe exhibited its “Shopify” platform and vehicle tracker, while Converge ICT displayed its pure fiber internet system.

Eisma said the need for speed and computing power, as well as for improved locator operations and customer experience, were the reasons why the SBMA, through its Business and Investment Department for Information and Communications Technology, organized the forum.

“Things have changed by leaps and bounds in the last 20 years,” Eisma said, recalling that when she first joined the SBMA as volunteer in 1992 they were all using pagers and the bulky black mobile phones.

“Back then we thought that was really cool, but who would have known 20 years ago that we will now be chatting on Facebook, or video-conferencing on the phone?” she added.

Eisma said that in these days when virtual interface is already possible, the application of technology has become so essential to doing business anywhere in the world.

“Clearly, connectivity is the only way to go—and this is true in the various growth capitals of the world, as well as in Subic. We should be forward-looking because that’s how we will survive the competition,” Eisma concluded. (RFD/MPD-SBMA)


[1] SBMA Chairman Wilma T. Eisma underscores the necessity of technology in doing business at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

16 July 2018

SBMA bares SALN of top officials

Top officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) have released information on their financial position and business interests in connection with the government’s transparency and accountability initiatives.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said 12 of the 15 SBMA directors had already signed a data privacy consent form that allowed the agency to release their latest statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) to the public.

The annual filing of SALN is required under the 1987 Philippine Constitution and under Republic Act No. 6713, also known as the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.” The SALN should contain the true, detailed, and sworn declaration of one’s assets, liabilities, net worth, business interests and financial connections.

According to the statements on file, Director Julius Escalona has the highest net worth among the SBMA officials at P50.16 million. The businessman from Hermosa, Bataan declared total assets of P67.36 million, but has liabilities of P17.2 million.

Escalona’s biggest asset consisted of a batching plant valued at P30 million, and several units of houses and condominium units he acquired in 2015 and 2016 worth more than P20 million.

Chairman Eisma has the highest declared assets at P69.74 million, but her liabilities totaling P25.98 million gave her a net worth of P44.45 million, the second biggest among the SBMA officials.

Eisma, a lawyer who served as corporate manager with the Philippine affiliate of Philip Morris International before taking over as SBMA administrator in January 2017, listed her biggest assets as condominium units she acquired in 2005, 2013 and 2016. She also has some real estate business in Olongapo City.

Third in the list with the biggest net worth is former Bataan Vice Governor Rogelio Roque, who declared total assets at P27.35 million and no liabilities. Roque’s assets are mostly in the form of residential lands acquired from 1983 to 2008. He now has three relatives in the government, including daughter Maria Margarita, who is a council member in Limay, Bataan.

Director Brian Patrick Gordon of Olongapo City, meanwhile, listed total assets of P16.96 million and liabilities of P.92 million to end up with a net worth of P16.04 million, the fourth highest among the SBMA top brass. The son of Senator Richard Gordon listed three business interests in Olongapo City.

Next comes Director Jan Joshua Khonghun of Subic, Zambales, with total assets of P14.42 million, liabilities of P.41 million, and net worth of P14 million. His biggest assets consisted of four dump trucks used in his logistics business that are worth P11.8 million.

Khonghun has a construction business in Subic, Zambales and listed five relatives in government service, including his father, Congressman Jeffrey Khonghun of Zambales First District.

At No. 6, Director Edwin Enrile, a former member of the Bataan provincial board, has total assets of P18.5 million, liabilities of P6.5 million and net worth of P12 million.

A lawyer, certified public accountant and farm owner, Director Tomas Lahom III declared assets totaling P14.7 and liabilities of P2.68 million, thereby leaving him a net worth of P12 million. His biggest assets consisted of residential and agricultural lands, motor vehicles and farm equipment at the Lahom Farms that he operates in Nueva Ecija.

Director Maria Cecilia Bitare, an executive in international shipping and logistics, has total assets of P7.19 million, liabilities of P.3 million, and net worth of P6.89 million. She has two relatives in the government in Legazpi City.

On the other hand, Director Marvin Ted Macapagal from Olongapo City listed total assets of P3.8 million and no liabilities. He is connected with First Reliance International, a trading firm in Makati.

Not all SBMA officials, however, had net worth in millions. Director Cynthia Co Paulino, the wife of Olongapo City Mayor Rolen Paulino, declared total assets of P450,000 and no liabilities. Aside from the mayor, she also listed two other relatives to be in government service.

Meanwhile, newly appointed directors Rolando Ampunin of Subic, Zambales and Teodoro del Rosario of Olongapo City had similarly signed a consent form to release their SALN, although their statements would have to be filed only at the end of the year, as required by law. (MPD-SBMA)

SBMA sees rosy prospects for Subic investments, employment

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) expects to continue attracting foreign direct investments and to generate more jobs this year, as it plans to expand into surrounding communities to accommodate major development projects.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said in a presentation at the recent Subic Labor Congress here that the agency is looking into some 21,000 hectares of land in nearby communities that could be developed for more business ventures.

“We continue to fulfill our mission of attracting investments and generating jobs, even as we are now practically running out of space in the Subic Bay Freeport,” Eisma said.

“We are now in consultation with officials of local government units nearby, so that we can develop more areas for trade and business operations,” she added.

Eisma said that foreign direct investments (FDIs) continue to pour into Subic because of the SBMA’s investment promotion program. The latest in the pipeline, she said, include at least four FDI projects worth $10 million from Taiwan, which are separate from the P866-million committed investments approved by the SBMA in the first quarter of this year.

“These companies, which are into manufacturing and recycling, will initially employ at least 260 workers, and these workers would come from our neighbor communities,” Eisma pointed out.

She added that more employment opportunities will be opened with the big-ticket investments that were approved this year. These are the redevelopment of the Binictican Golf Course by a Japanese firm for at least $30 million; redevelopment of the Triboa Clubhouse and facilities by a Taiwanese company for P2 billion; construction of a 400-room five-star hotel and resort for $20 million; and development of the Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) into a world-class business aviation center for $8 million.

Eisma explained that there are now 1,587 business locators with more than 134,000 workers in the Subic Bay Freeport, and with development largely suitable only within the fenced-in portion of the former Subic Naval Base, the SBMA has to expand into nearby areas to sustain local economic growth.

“It’s a good thing that the neighboring towns have pledged about 21,000 hectares for these future projects,” Eisma revealed.

She said these include 9,000 hectares in San Antonio, Zambales, which are ideal for resort development and leisure businesses; 10,000 hectares in San Marcelino, Zambales, for agriculture, mining and quarrying; 500-600 hectares in Subic, Zambales for factories, agriculture, and energy; and 500 hectares in Castillejos, Zambales for light to medium industry, and warehousing.

Meanwhile, the city of Olongapo pledged 900 hectares for housing, light industry and tourism, while Hermosa, Bataan allotted 505 hectares for light to heavy industry, renewable energy, metal industry, and vehicle assembly/auction.

SBMA records indicate that the Subic Bay Freeport Zone recorded a 14% increase in employment last year when its active workforce reached a total of 128,200, compared to 112,600 in 2016.

Most of the workers in the Subic Freeport come from the neighboring areas of Olongapo City, which accounts for 36%; Zambales, 27%; and Bataan, 12%. (RFD/MPD-SBMA)


[1-2] SBMA Chairman Wilma T. Eisma makes a pitch for Subic Freeport expansion in San Antonio, Zambales. The proposal earned the approval of local officials headed by Mayor Estela Antipolo and Vice Mayor Lugil Ragadio. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)