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Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (MPD-SBMA)


08 August 2017

Integrity Pledge waived for renewal of locator’s permit

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Board has issued Resolution 17-05- 2004, removing the Integrity Pledge as a requisite for renewal of a locator’s business certificate.

The resolution came out on June 15 this year.

Earlier, Brighterday Subic Ltd. Inc. (BSLI), operator of All Hands Beach, filed a petition before Branch 75 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) challenging the requirement made by SBMA for investors to compulsorily sign the Integrity Pledge.

Mark Dayrit, Brighterday chairman, complained before the court that free port investors were being “coerced and forced” to sign the pledge for their business operations to continue.

The investors were previously required to submit the signed Integrity Pledge at least a week before the renewal or issuance of their business permit.

The RTC had issued an injunction in favor of BSLI because it found that Resolution 17-05-2004 was being implemented in an “abhorrent” manner.

It then directed the SBMA to issue BSLI’s Certificate of Registration and Tax Exemption (CRTE).

Because of the subsequent issuance of the resolution, the court dismissed the petition filed by BSLI.

In his order issued on July 26, Judge Raymond Viray of RTC Branch 75 said the petition was rendered moot and academic after the SBMA removed the Integrity Pledge as a prerequisite for business registration and renewal of permit.

Viray added that the free port asked the court to dismiss the petition of Brighterday Subic Ltd. Inc., saying the SBMA had removed the pledge from its business requirements.

The SBMA described the Integrity Pledge as a commitment to ethical business practices and good corporate governance.

On May 23, the SBMA Board passed a resolution that removed the pledge from the requisites in obtaining a certificate of registration and tax exemption.

Instead, the board decided to make the Integrity Pledge a voluntary document as a “good governance practice.” (Manila Times)

31 July 2017

Subic firm allows solar users to sell excess power

A solar power company located in this free port is now providing the means for power consumers to produce their own electric power supply and sell the excess power generated from their solar panels.

Bandacorp Solar Inc. (Bandasolar) officials said with the net-metering program already in effect, residents of Olongapo City would be able to install an on-site Renewable Energy (RE) facility, produce power for their own consumption, and even sell their excess electricity to distribution utilities.

The firm, which provides environment-friendly solar panels and cost-efficient light-emitting diode (LED) lamps to cut down power bills by up to 50 percent, banks on the net-metering program to draw this advantage.

Net-metering allows power users to install wind or solar power stations not exceeding 100 kilowatts (kW) in capacity for their own use. The electricity that was not consumed is automatically fed to the Olongapo Electricity Distribution Company (OEDC) system where they are paid as “generation cost.”

The OEDC computes the amount of excess power fed to system and then deducts the total from the consumer’s next electricity bill, thus lowering the cost.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Administrator Wilma Eisma lauded the Subic company for its support in the government’s renewable energy program and for encouraging local households and businesses to play an active role in alternative energy production.

“This is what Subic is all about—innovation and public service,” Eisma said. “Bandasolar not only helps power consumers minimize the use of expensive conventional power energy fuels, and thus save on their power bills, it also helps protect the environment and preserve natural energy sources,” she added.

Bandasolar is accredited by the Department of Energy to design and supply equipment for solar-powered systems for commercial, government, industrial and residential customers. The firm is offering free consultation at their showroom-office along Sampson Road in the Subic Bay Freeport for those who wish to know more about solar-power generation.

Bandasolar also offers a line of energy-saving devices ranging from air-conditioning system to solar street lights, solar water heater, and even home and industrial solar-lighting solutions.

Among the companies in Subic Freeport that already use solar power or LED lamps are Ocean Adventure marine theme park; gastight plastic storage manufacturer GrainPro; packaging manufacturer PACTEC; the testing and certification firm SGS; and ink solution provider Printing Images CtC, Inc.

Bandasolar has also installed solar facilities for some residences at the Kalayaan and Binictican housing areas in the Subic Bay Freeport, and undertaken similar projects in Zambales, Pampanga, Batangas, and Ilocos Sur under the net-metering scheme.

Already implemented in some countries around the world, the net metering scheme in the Philippines is governed by Republic Act 9513, otherwise known as the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, and implemented through the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) in consultation with the National Renewable Energy Board (NREB). (RAV/MPD-SBMA)

28 July 2017

SBMA sees 15% revenue increase from Subic ICT sector

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is projecting a 15 percent increase this year in revenue generation from the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector in this free port after posting an average monthly income of P6 million in the past five months.

SBMA Administrator and CEO Wilma T. Eisma said the agency’s Business and Investment Department for ICT has made the forecast after a consistent growth that has eclipsed 2017 revenue targets.

She said that with an average monthly collection of P6 million, the agency’s BID-ICT is expecting to generate around P76.4 million at the end of the year. “This would be 15.64 percent higher than the revenue we posted for ICT in 2016,” Eisma said.

The BID-ICT, which handles locators engaged in business process outsourcing (BPO), business process management (BPM), and other related industries, has collected a total of P68,314,258 in revenue for 2016, said Cleofe Espineli, who heads the department.
At last count, there are 95 locators engaged in ICT inside the Subic Freeport, said Espineli. These are infusing more than P32.17 billion worth of investments and employing nearly 2,000 Filipinos.

Espineli added that as of May this year, BID-ICT has already recorded a total revenue of P29,902,215, which is 35.15 percent higher than its 2017 revenue target.

She also said that BID-ICT is currently processing the expansions of some existing locators that will result in additional committed investments of P273 million and additional 608 personnel.

When completed, the expansion projects will generate additional revenue of P15.1 million for the SBMA.

“With my team’s commitment, determination and malasakit for SBMA, we will deliver the best that we can. We wanted to be part of the SBMA team that keeps winning,” Espineli also said.

Earlier, SBMA Administrator Wilma Eisma reported that in terms of over-all financial performance, SBMA posted P1.25 billion in revenue for January to May of 2017, which is 7.7 percent higher than the P1.16 billion in the same period last year.

“But the most interesting fact here is that the SBMA has already posted a net income P240.21 million from January to May this year, or 126 percent higher than the P106 million that was posted last year in the same period,” Eisma noted.

“Even if there are clouds over our heads that trouble our beloved agency, let us continue to perform with excellence and malasakit so that we will continue to contribute bigger shares to the government than ever before,” Eisma also said. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)

20 July 2017

Subic becoming top pick for movie and TV location shoots

The country’s so-called theme park capital is also earning raves as a prime location spot for filming movies and television shows because of its lush forests, scenic beaches and coasts, strong bio-diversity, and unique environment moods.

Jem Camba, head of the Tourism Department of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), said that a lot of movie and TV producers and directors prefer to bring their production to Subic because of the unique environment provided by the former US Naval Base.

Celebrity Car Wars film shoot in Subic Bay 

“Subic has almost everything you need for your required locations. We have here forests and mountains, rivers and the sea, theme parks, factories and entertainment facilities, and the remnants of the former military base,” Camba pointed out.

“This is the reason why a lot of local and some foreign movies, as well as Filipino tele-novelas, are being shot in the Subic Bay Freeport,” she added.

Camba also noted that Tourism Promotion Board CEO Cesar Montano had recently noted that a movie and television studios can be developed in the Subic Freeport.

In an interview with entertainment editor Ricky Lo, Montano said that he told SBMA Chairman Martin Diño that Subic is a perfect place for some kind of a Universal Studios.

“Subic has everything you need,” Montano said, pointing out that it has an an airport, an ocean park, a rain forest, a zoo, a port, a highway and other things that a film location must have.

Amelia Torralba-Perez of the Mandala Video and Events Production, had also described Subic as an excellent place for location shooting.

“We can find everything here in Subic,” Perez said. “We have world-class accommodations, we have good food, and for the longest time we’ve been here, people in SBMA are not giving us a hard time. That is why we are coming back here with all of our projects.”

Perez was in Subic recently for the location shoot of the History TV series “Celebrity Car Wars”, an Amazing Race-like show with cars and celebrities from Asian nations who do extreme challenges on cars like drifting and off-roading.

Perez said that since 2005, she has been referring Subic as a location site for various television and movie production, such as the Discovery Channel, BBC, TV-series Jack Irish, as well as some American, Japanese and French shows.

In June this year, an episode of the documentary series entitled “Before the 90 Days” for American Network’s The Learning Channel (TLC) was filmed in Subic with contributors American Lawrence “Larry” Passariello and his Filipino girlfriend Jenny de Guzman.

Among the first movies shot in Subic was “Goodbye America” which was released in 1997. It was an action-drama that portrayed the closing of the U.S. military base at Subic Bay and how it affected the lives of the people in the surrounding communities and the Americans who had served in the base. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)

18 July 2017

SBMA awaiting Palace verdict on leadership issue

All appears quiet at the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) in the past few days, as officials and employees alike awaited Malacañang decision on the leadership row that pitted its head of agency against its chief executive officer.

Workers at the Subic agency said on Monday that they have no inkling on who is going to stay as top official after business locators and concerned local government units called for President Duterte’s intervention to settle the issue.

“Between Chairman Martin Diño and Administrator Wilma Eisma, we still don’t know who’s going to be chosen by President Digong,” said a female utility worker at Bldg. 229, the agency’s main office along the Waterfront Road here.

“But of course, we want somebody who can manage the SBMA well and really has malasakit for the Subic Freeport, and one who can relate with foreign investors and represent Subic with dignity and pride,” said the employee who asked not to be named.

Still, the management of the SBMA, which prides itself for the high morale and excellent work ethic of its employees, said that the agency is going through its businesses and services as usual.

“We are all awaiting the President’s verdict, whatever it will be, but that doesn’t mean the world has stopped revolving over here,” said Administrator Eisma, a lawyer who started with the SBMA as a volunteer in 1992. “Our employees continue to work hard; we in the management likewise continue to work hard, and it’s a busy schedule for everybody on the ground,” she added.

Eisma herself had been to Taiwan the other week to make a pitch for the Philippine government at the Philippine Investment Promotion Plan (PIPP) Investment Roadshow in Taipei and Taichung City.

“Despite the leadership issue here, the SBMA has, in fact, been doing well,” Eisma said. “So well, perhaps, that even Chairman Diño, who has been criticizing the SBMA and describing it as on the verge of financial collapse, had lately announced to the media our accomplishments in terms of revenue, investments, jobs, exports, and other economic indicators.”

Eisma also said that despite the uncertainty of retaining her SBMA post, she has faith that whatever President Duterte’s decision will be, it would be for the best of the Subic agency.

“If it’s Chairman Diño who’d be chosen, then I’ll gladly go quietly into the night, so to speak, because after all I’m just here to serve Subic, which is my home and the home of my fellow volunteers,” she said.

“On the other hand, if President Duterte chooses me to stay, then he can be sure that I’d give the best of what I learned and experienced in the private sector to bring the SBMA and the Subic Freeport to their rightful place as catalysts of economic development and inclusive growth in the community,” Eisma added.

The leadership tussle between Diño and Eisma, who are both Duterte appointees, started last May when Diño issued Administrative Order No. 01-2017, which interfered and encroached upon the duties of the Administrator and CEO, as well as on the board’s oversight functions.

Diño had also quarreled with the OIC-administrator that Malacañang had appointed before Eisma.

The SBMA conflict sparked an investigation by the House of Representative on Executive Order No. 340, which separated the position and functions of the SBMA chairman from that of the SBMA administrator, who was originally the sole appointee under Republic Act 7227, or the Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992.

Lately, business locators in Subic had asked Malacañang to intervene, and called for the appointment of a capable administrator-chairman to lead the SBMA.

Before this, seven local government executives around the Subic Bay Freeport had expressed support to Eisma in the ongoing leadership tussle and decried Diño for making “a series of inappropriate, unfitting, baseless and disruptive actions” that adversely affected the SBMA. (MPD-SBMA)

15 July 2017

Port of Subic posts 11% revenue growth

The Port of Subic posted an impressive 11 percent growth in revenue in the first five months of this year, despite less ship calls recorded in the same period.

According to Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Administrator and CEO Wilma Eisma, total port revenue logged from January to May 2017 in Subic reached P488.82 million, which was 11 percent higher than the P440.99 million recorded in the same period last year.

A commercial vessel unloads containerized cargo at the New Container Terminal

“Considering that there were less ship calls this year than last year—we had a total of 1,164 in January to May 2017 compared to P1,414 in 2016—then that was still a remarkable achievement for Subic,” Eisma said.

Aside from this, she said that the Subic port also registered a 23 percent increase in export value, with total exports reaching US$1.06 billion in the first five months of 2017, compared to just US$865.26 million in the same period last year.

Similarly, Subic’s import value also rose by 9 percent in the same period, or from US$628.65 million last year to the current US$682.18 million, she added.

Eisma said that much of the growth in port business in Subic involved containerized cargo, which increased in volume from 51,346 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) in January-May 2016 to 55,516 TEUs this year, for an eight percent increase.

However, non-containerized cargo volume suffered a five percent decrease, as only 2.96 million metric tons (MTs) passed through the Port of Subic this year, compared to 3.12 million MTs last year.

Still, the Port of Subic continues to attract more business, as 10 shipping lines now regularly call on Subic, said Ronnie Yambao, head of the SBMA port marketing office.

Ship-to-ship transfer operations in Subic Bay also contribute significantly to port revenue

The shipping lines, Yambao said, include major players like the Taiwan-based Evergreen, which is the fifth biggest shipping company in the world; the Singapore-based American President Lines (APL); Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) of Japan; Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL) also of japan; SITC Container Lines of China; and Wan Hai Lines, also of Taiwan.

The other shipping firms that call on Subic are: Bow Ship Management, Inc.; T. Madsen Shipping Philippines, Inc.; Soriamont Steamship Shipping; and Uni Ship Incorporated.

Yambao said the SBMA under Eisma’s administration seeks to increase container traffic in the Subic Bay Freeport and actively promotes Subic as an ideal shipping port for businesses in Central and North Luzon. (HEE/MPD-SBMA)

14 July 2017

Subic Freeport to host country’s biggest advertising confab

The country’s premier Freeport will host Ad Summit Pilipinas 2018, which will mark the return for the third time here of the biggest learning event in advertising and marketing industry in the country.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Administrator Wilma T. Eisma and Norman Agatep, chairman of the Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies of the Philippines (4As), recently signed a memorandum of agreement for the holding of the conference at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center here on March 7 to 10next year.

Organized by 4As, Ad Summit Pilipinas is a biennial gathering of industry professionals that highlights discussions by some of the best in the world of advertising and marketing today, and also showcases a trade exhibit featuring cutting-edge business ideas, industry trends, and state-of-the-art technologies.

“It means a lot for us this vote of confidence from 4As and the organizing committee,” said Atty. Ramon Agregado, who is SBMA senior deputy administrator for support services.

He added that the decision of organizer to bring back Ad Summit Pilipinas to Subic shows a strong partnership between Ad Summit Pilipinas and SBMA. “We guarantee that we will work twice as hard to make the third edition of the Ad Summit a great success,” Agregado remarked.

With the theme “DIY Your ROI” (or do-it-yourself your return of investment), Ad Summit Pilipinas 2018 is said to challenge current mindsets on the way marketing campaigns are being evaluated. It will also explore new ways of determining brand success beyond the return of investment (ROI).

“What we hope to accomplish in Ad Summit Pilipinas 2018 is to open our eyes and minds to see the different ROIs that can helps us sharpen our measure of returns for our brands,” said over-all event chairperson Norman Agatep.

The event aims to examine ROIs through the lens of clever customization, where a brand’s performance is measured against objectives that go beyond commercial success and cross over to such returns as brand love, behavioral change, social good, environmental impact, and pop culture influence.

“The world has changed today; it is not only the opportunity of measuring money, as there are lots of forms of return of investment to consider,” Agatep explained.

“If we look at a hammer, we only see a nail. But if we look closer, we will see ideas or innovations, or influence. Return of investment could be redefined as return of insights, return of intelligence or return of impact,” he noted.

As a convention tradition, Ad Summit Pilipinas will also be home to Creative Guild’s Kidlat Awards, which is intended to establish “Kidlat” as the most prestigious advertising competition in the Philippines, honoring some of the country’s enduring luminaries and most creative and excellently-crafted campaigns.

“These are all in line with our mission to nurture a marketing communication environment that redefines creative excellence that’s in tune with an ever-restless and evolving industry,” Agatep added. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)


SBMA Administrator & CEO Wilma T. Eisma and 4As Chairman Norman Agatep sign a memorandum of agreement for the holding of Ad Summit Pilipinas 2018 at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone in March next year. Witnessing the signing are SBMA Director Stefani Saño (right of photo) and members of the Ad Summit Pilipinas 2018 working committee. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

13 July 2017

Central Luzon pushed as ideal site for Taiwan’s southbound trade

The Philippines is now pushing to establish Central Luzon as the ideal destination for Taiwanese investments under Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy that seeks enhanced economic collaboration with countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia and Australasia.

Speaking as a member of the Philippine delegation in the recent Philippine Investment Promotion Plan (PIPP) Investment Roadshow to Taiwan, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Administrator Wilma Eisma urged Taiwanese business groups in Taipei and Taichung City to take a closer look at the so-called Central Luzon Manufacturing and Logistics Zone (CMLZ) as a prime investment destination.

She said the CMLZ, which is composed of the Clark Freeport, the Subic Bay Freeport, and the Freeport Area of Bataan, covers a land area of more than 90,000 hectares, has several advantages that make it a haven for businesses, and is managed by devoted agencies that have come together as one unit.

The first advantage of locating in CMLZ, she told the businessmen, is its strategic location. Eisma said the CMLZ “is a critical entry point to the ASEAN region populated by some 650 million people, as well as a natural gateway to East Asian economies such as China, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea.”

Moreover, the CMLZ is at the crossroads of international shipping and air lanes, and accessible to the ASEAN region within three to four hours by plane via the Clark International Airport and four days by ship to and from the Port of Subic.

She added that the three free port zones in the CMLZ are perfect for targeted key industries like electronics, automotive parts and aerospace products for Clark; shipbuilding and maritime industries, including cruise ships for Subic; and high-end garments manufacturing for Bataan.

The Taiwan investment roadshow was organized by the PIPP, an aggrupation of 19 investments agencies that seeks to create quality jobs by attracting high-impact, innovative, and inclusive investments.

The SBMA is one of the seven investment promotion agencies that make up the manufacturing and logistics/IT-BPM cluster of the IPP. (HEE/MPD-SBMA)

Photos from Team Invest Philippines in Taiwan album c/o Ms. Jem Camba

12 July 2017

Philippine Coastal expands fuel storage in Subic

The Philippine Coastal Storage and Pipeline Corporation (PCSPC), which operates the fuel depot here and the fuel pipeline linking Subic to Clark Freeport, has expanded its operations here with the inauguration of three new 180,000 barrel fuel storage tanks and two tank-truck loading racks on Friday.

The groundbreaking ceremony at the Maritan Hill expansion site was attended by top officials from the PCSPC, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), and the Aboitiz Construction Group, Inc., which fabricated the new storage tanks.

The operation of the three new tanks will increase PCSPC’s total fuel storage capacity to 5.2 million barrels, or 827 million liters, said PCSPC Chairman Michael Rodriguez.

“This considerable increase in storage is in response to our customers’ demand for quality and available fuel storage in Subic Bay, and we are pleased to be able to provide this new expansion to accommodate their needs.” Rodriguez said.

He also boasted that the construction of the three new storage tanks and the two tank-truck loading racks was completed within one year without any accidents.

The construction was “on time and on budget,” Rodriguez added.

SBMA Administrator Wilma Eisma lauded the PCSPC project and noted that the construction of infrastructures within the Freeport can be done without any untoward incident. She added that the expansion of the fuel storage facility would also boost business in the Subic Bay Freeport.

PCSPC officials said the new tanks are on par with international standards and will increase the company’s total fuel storage by 540,000 barrels for various fuel products such as diesel, gasoline, jet and fuel oil.

The expansion also completed the PCSPC’s commitment to the SBMA to invest and build 1.8 million barrels of fuel tank storage at the Maritan tank farm.

The PCSPC’s strategic location inside the Subic Bay Freeport Zone provides efficient importation of fuel products for storage and onward distribution along the network of well-maintained toll roads to Clark, Manila, Central and Northern Luzon.

“The Freeport also provides an efficient coastal location for hub operations with imports from regional refineries for onward export distribution to the region,” Rodriguez said.

The company has been operating the petroleum storage and pipeline facilities of the former US Naval Base in Subic. The facility was originally constructed in 1953 with a capacity of 2.4 million barrels, but PCSPC has doubled the fuel storage capacity over the past six years, with plans to further expand operation in the future. (JRR/MPD-SBMA)


[1] Officials cut the ceremonial ribbon to inaugurate new fuel storage tanks at the PCSPC facility in the Subic Bay Freeport. From left: SBMA Senior Deputy Administrator Ramon Agregado, Ayta tribal elder Bonifacio Florentino, PCSPC Chairman Michael Rodriguez, SBMA Chairman Martin Diño, Aboitiz Construction President & COO Alberto Ignacio Jr., and PCSPC President & CEO David Attewill. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

SBMA keeps upbeat mood in 1st half

Good news kept coming out of the Subic Bay Freeport in the first half of this year, as the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority reported continuing growth in revenue, dividends, investments, exports and tourism.

In a report to President Rodrigo Duterte, who is set to make his first State of the Nation Address on July 24, the SBMA indicated increases in all aspects of its performance from January to May this year, said SBMA Administrator Wilma Eisma.

She said that in terms of the agency’s financial performance, it recorded a 7.7 percent growth in revenue from a total of P1.16 billion in the first five months last year to P1.25 billion in January-May 2017, and a 3.4 percent increase in operating income for the same period.

“But the most revealing item here is SBMA’s net income which went up by more than 126 percent, because from the P106.27 million that was recorded in January-May 2016, we’re now at P240.21 million in just the first five months this year,” Eisma said.

“Apparently—and this cannot be denied—the SBMA has continued well in its growth path in the last few years and we are actually breaking old records here,” she added.

Eisma also said that because of the upsurge in its financial performance, the SBMA has managed to contribute bigger shares to the government than ever before.

This includes a 30.58 percent increase in the revenue shares to local government units that went from P115.22 million in the first half last year to P150.46 million this year; and a 30.42 percent increase in the government’s 3% share from the gross income earned in the Subic Bay Freeport, which rose from P178.37 million in January-May 2016 to P232.63 million in the same period in 2017.

Still, the dividends paid by the SBMA to the national government through the Bureau of Treasury, Eisma added, reached a huge 352.7 percent increase, as actual remittances grew from P145.91 million to P660.69 million.

Eisma said the favorable financial picture in Subic also extended to new investment commitments, which surged by 642 percent from P5.6 billion in January to May 2016, to P40.55 billion in January-May 2017. Likewise, the number of new business locators grew by 58, bringing the total number of Subic-registered businesses to 1,527, while expansion projects of existing locators jumped by 85 percent, or from 13 last year to 24 this year.

“The huge increase in new investment commitments is due primarily to the approval of the investment project of Dynamic Konstruk International Eco Builders Corp. (DKIEBC), which amounts to P39.92 billion,” Eisma explained.

DKIEBC will engage in general construction, renewable energy and industrial hub development at the Rodondo Peninsula, with projected employment ranging from a minimum of 10,000 to a maximum of 50,000.

Eisma said other major business developments in Subic this year included the soft opening of Datian Subic Corp.’s shoe factory, which now employs 1,000 workers; the ground-breaking of Toyota Subic, Inc.’s P150-million multi-level showroom and service center; the start of Teekay Swan’s and JOVO’s ship-to-ship transfer operations with an expected annual port revenue of P200 million; and the start of DM Leisure Corp.’s P4.6-billion golf course and leisure complex project.

Meanwhile, the SBMA also gave positive reports in tourism, with a 1 percent increase in visitor arrivals and a 3 percent growth in actual revenues that stood at P10.54 million in January-May 2017.

Relative to tourism, Eisma also reported that the Subic Bay Freeport became the first free port zone in the country to have declared non-smoking zones in compliance with President Duterte’s EO 26 that called for the establishment of smoke-free environments in public and enclosed places. (HEE/MPD-SBMA)

11 July 2017

BoC opens one-stop-shop facility at Subic

THE Bureau of Customs (BoC) said it opened on June 1 a one-stop-shop (OSS) trade facility at the Tipo, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) gate, which reduces a one-day processing time of documents to only four hours.

The facility includes personnel from Customs Enforcement, Customs Clearance, and X-ray equipment to cater to clients’ needs, especially port users.

The Tipo toll plaza in Subic Bay Freeport Zone

The OSS facility bureau is seeking to replicate the current one-stop-shop at the New Container Terminal 1 in Port of Subic which was first constructed by the International Container Terminal Services, Inc. with the BoC and SBMA in 2015.

“The OSS promotes ease of doing business where BoC stakeholders can switch between counters in processing BoC requirements,” the bureau said.

Due to this, port users no longer need to travel to various government offices to secure their trade documents.

The BoC estimates that the average one-day processing time of documents will be reduced to four hours.

“With the BoC-OSS, importers and brokers can expect shorter document and cargo processing times, thereby improving the overall processing efficiency at the Port of Subic,” the statement read.

The BoC and the Department of Finance has been making moves to reduce red tape in trade facilitation.

Currently, the Department of Finance (DoF) is pilot testing the system called TradeNet, a computerized internet-based system, which will be able to connect Philippines’ single window of trade-related agencies with neighboring countries, as it rationalizes and harmonizes all of trade data for faster processing.

This is because traders, who are required to secure permits from various government agencies before importing or exporting products, may be able to lodge all the necessary documents at a single window.

The DoF expects the system to be rolled out in September. (Elijah Joseph C. Tubayan, BusinessWorld)

06 July 2017

Royal Caribbean eyes Subic Bay for Asian cruise route

A global cruise vacation company that operates in more than 500 destinations on all the seven continents is now eyeing the Subic Bay Freeport Zone as a regular cruise itinerary for its growing Asian market.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Administrator Wilma Eisma said the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL), which owns and operates three global brands, had sent its Vice President for New Business Development John Tercek to assess Subic’s readiness as a cruise ship destination.

“The Subic Freeport is now ready to meet the demands of the cruise tourism market, as we have been successful in this regard past when cruise ships like Clipper Odyssey, Spirit of Adventure, and the Hanseatic came to Subic,” Eisma said.

“But now we could be looking at a regular schedule by Royal Caribbean, so we’re really excited with this prospect,” she added.

Tercek, who was accompanied by officials of the Department of Tourism on his July 1-2 visit in Subic, said the RCCL is catering to 2 million Chinese cruise passengers per year and is now developing new market destinations.

“If ready, we are considering the Subic Freeport as one of the nearest stops from Southern China to help address the cruise market demand,” he added.

Tercek made an ocular inspection of Alava Wharf here and received a briefing from Eisma on the heritage and history of Subic as a former naval base and one of the most successful cases of military base conversion in the world. He was also updated on tourism business potentials in Subic, as well as neighboring communities in Central Luzon.

Tercek told Eisma during the visit that Subic has all the elements necessary for a cruise ship destination.

“I can see the potential of Subic Freeport as a conventional cruise ship destination,” he said. “But as we build bigger ships, you have to step up to address the demand.”

Tercek said if the port facilities are ready, the RCCL usually starts with five ship calls per year for a destination with 3,000 to 5,000 passengers each. In the case of Subic, where there is good weather from November to April, however, it will be possible to have from five up to 30 ship calls, he added.

Tercek, who has created shore-side infrastructure projects and ventures to support RCCL’s strategic growth objectives, likewise reminded SBMA and DOT officials that as the cruise industry starts to build bigger ships, “you have to prepare your port facilities to meet the market demand.”

He added that RCCL looks forward to supporting infrastructure development that will compliment cruise tourism development in Subic, just like what they did in Vietnam.

Tercek, who was a partner in a Wall Street real estate investment firm, now leads in the development and management of RCCL’s interests in ports and commercial facilities around the world and is in charge of determining the viability of the frim’s deployment in the region, as well as investment opportunities for cruise-related facilities and services.

As a global cruise vacation company, RCCL owns and operates three global brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises. It also has interests in the German brand TUI Cruises, the Spanish brand Pullmantur, and the SkySea cruises. (HEE/MPD-SBMA)


Oasis of the Seas, one the cruise ships operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., is said to have revolutionized cruising because of its ground-breaking design that includes seven distinct neighborhoods.

02 July 2017

PHL’s first full-distance Ironman event to happen in Subic Bay

It’s official! Ironman’s full distance triathlon is happening here in Subic Bay.

The Century Tuna IRONMAN Philippines triathlon, the country’s first-ever full distance IRONMAN race, will take place here in June next year in celebration of the decade-long presence in the Philippines of the popular endurance race.

The full distance Ironman race will be a special edition for one year only to mark the tenth anniversary since the first IRONMAN 70.3 event took place in Camarines Sur in 2009, said Wilfred Steven Uytengsu, founder of Sunrise Events, which owns and organizes IRONMAN races in the country.

The event was jointly announced the other day in Manila and in Tampa, Florida as the latest addition to the IRONMAN series that has grown to become a global sensation with more than 200 events across 50 countries.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) administrator and chief executive officer Wilma T. Eisma said that the SBMA takes pride in the fact that the Subic Bay Freeport has become a favorite destination for races and sports events that require a combination of superb natural environment, challenging but beautiful courses and modern facilities for both the players and their families.

Organizers said that next year’s Century Tuna IRONMAN Philippines will aim to build upon the successes of the Century Tuna IRONMAN 70.3 Subic Bay and provide athletes with a challenging, yet beautiful course to tackle.

For the full distance race, athletes will begin their IRONMAN journey with a one-loop, 3.8-km swim in the calm, pristine waters of Triboa Bay, starting and finishing at ACEA Resort, which will also play host to the first of the split transition areas.

Once onto their bikes, athletes will head out of Subic and onto the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) for a fast and flat two-loop, 180-km ride, which will bring riders back into transition 2 at the Remy Field here.

Then the 42.2-km, two-loop marathon run will be the last leg, taking the participants along some of the best coastal views that Subic has to offer. (MPD-SBMA)


A scene from the Century Tuna IRONMAN held in March this year at the Subic Bay Freeport (photo from

30 June 2017

Subic volunteers plant 5,000 trees on Arbor Day

About a thousand volunteers from the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), business locators and stakeholder groups in this free port planted some 5,000 trees on Friday during the Arbor Day celebration here.

SBMA administrator Wilma Eisma said the volunteers braved the long walk to the planting site in the foothills of Barangay Bangal in Dinalupihan, Bataan, which is still part of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

“My heart swells with pride to see people here very early in the morning—sweaty, hands soiled and shoes muddy while planting, and not complaining at all,” Eisma said. “It’s such a beautiful sight! No food and shirts for free, yet they’re still here.”

The tree-planting project was attended by representatives from Subic-registered companies like Jollibee, Ocean Adventure, Petron, Koryo, SubicWater, Jobin, IDESS, RP Energy, Crown Peak, Toyota, Koushin, Mega Subic, Aura College, as well as the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce.

The government sector was also represented in the activity by the PNP-Special Action Forces, Olongapo City Council, Barangay Gordon Heights, Department of Environment and Natural Resources-Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (DENR-CENRO) Olongapo City, and the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Community groups like the Philippine Association of Certified Public Accountants were also present.

According to Patrick Escusa, chief of the Social Development Division of the SBMA Ecology Center that spearheaded the activity, the volunteers planted around 5,000 seedlings in a graded 2.2-hectare land in the middle of a forested area in Bangal.

The seedlings, mostly narra and some fruit-bearing species, were from DENR-CENRO, the SBMA nursery, and some stakeholders.

This was the third tree-planting activity held as part of the Arbor Day celebration here, which is part of the agency’s environmental preservation and conservation advocacy program under Republic Act 10716, the law that revived the observance of Arbor Day in 2012 and authorized government units to observe the annual event with tree-planting activities.

Arbor Day is observed every June 25, but the SBMA held it two days earlier to enjoin more employees and other stakeholders to join the activity.

“I’m very happy that this is happening today—that we are helping in taking care of the environment,” Eisma also said on Friday, as the volunteers completed the project by mid-day.

“I hope this happens every day with similar gestures—by picking up the plastic that we throw, by making sure we conserve on water. Any little thing we could do to save the environment will help,” Eisma added. (MPD-SBMA)


[1] SBMA Administrator and CEO Wilma T. Eisma prepares to plant a narra seedling during the Arbor Day tree-planting activity last Friday in the Subic Bay Freeport.

[2] SBMA Administrator and CEO Wilma T. Eisma and SBMA Director Tomas Lahom III lead employees in a tree-planting activity in the Subic Bay Freeport in observance of Arbor Day last Friday.

26 June 2017

SBMA posts P614.28-M earnings in just 4 months

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) continues to generate positive revenue figures this year, recording a total of P615.28 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) in just the first four months of this year.

SBMA Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the Subic agency’s various strategic units contributed a total of more than P1 billion in operating revenues in the said period for a 9.5 percent increase over the P919.6 million posted last year.

Minus the operating expenses of P313.5 million and bad debts account of P78.2 million, Eisma said the SBMA managed a P56.9 million increase over the 2016 EBITDA of P558.3 million for a 10.2 percent increase in earnings.

“We’re very much optimistic that while 2016 was considered a banner year in SBMA finances, we just might be able to top that at the rate we’re going this year,” Eisma said.

“The SBMA is actually riding an upward trend that began in the past few years, and I believe we can sustain that and that further growth will continue,” she added.

According to a comparative report from the SBMA Finance Group, agency earnings increased further this year compared to 2016 records. The agency’s net income, for example, surged by 148 percent from P18.5 million in the first quarter of 2016 to P46.76 million in the first quarter of 2017.

The biggest revenue contributor among the SBMA business units as of end-April this year was the Port Authority Group, which delivered P476.4 million in the first four months. The Business and Investment Group followed with total revenue of P426 million; Public Services Group, with P67.5 million; Regulatory Group, with P18.38 million; the Chairman and Administrator’s Group, with P9.25 million; and Support Services Group, with P7.19 million.

The biggest increases as of end-April this year over figures in the same period last year came from the Business and Investment Group, which posted close to P55 million in variance, and the Port Authority Group, which provided an increase of P17.85 million.

Meanwhile, the SBMA Tourism Department reported a 28 percent increase in revenues from visitor and tourist arrivals, as well as hotel occupancy, from January to April this year.

A report from SBMA Tourism showed a total of 894,603 visitors and 161,046 tourists arriving in Subic in the first four months. These figures represented respective increases of 70,648 and 30,284 over 2016 arrivals.

The 2017 arrival figures included some 289,600 visitors who arrived in the Subic Freeport for the Holy Week.

According to the report, the increase in the number of visitors and tourists this year generated actual revenues amounting to P2.74 million, which is 28% higher than the P2.1 million revenue record last year.

Among the events that generated much tourism traffic in the first four months this year are the arrival of the luxury cruise ship MS Bremen, and the three-day Summer Siren beach music festival that was held here in May. (HEE/MPD-SBMA)


[1] A cargo ship unload at the New Container Terminal and the Sattler Pier in the Subic Bay Freeport. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

[2] Visitors saunter along the waterfront during the Summer Siren beach festival, one of the recent tourism crowd-drawers at the Subic Bay Freeport. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)