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Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (MPD-SBMA)

10 December 2016

OGCC clarifies status of SBMA Board of Directors

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) can convene its Board of Directors, whose members with terms that have expired may continue to perform in hold-over capacity.

This was clarified by the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC) in response to a letter by SBMA OIC, Office of the Administrator Randy B. Escolango seeking clarification over the status of the agency's board.

“SBMA directors whose term expired and/or resignations are not yet acted upon or their successors have yet to appointed, may continue in office in hold-over capacity.” Deputy Government Corporate Counsel Elpidio J. Vega said in Opinion 193 Series of 2016 released by the OGCC on Thursday,

In the same opinion, the OGCC also clarified that while Martin B. Diño is chairman of the the board, Escolango as OIC administrator is also OIC vice chair of the SBMA board.

"Atty. Escolango’s designation as OIC Administrator automatically carries with it his assumption as OIC Vice Chairman of the SBMA Board under EO 340 series of 2004,” Vega said.

“The OIC administrator by virtue of his office shall be the OIC Vice Chairman of the SBMA Board of Directors, Vega said. “Thus, Atty. Escolango is expected to discharge and to function as SBMA’s OIC Administrator and Vice Chairman…” he added.

To date, aside from Martin B. Diño as Chairman, President Duterte has appointed only two (2) other members of the SBMA board, namely, Benny Antiporda and Stefani Saño. Antiporda replaced Bienvenido O. Benitez while Saño took over from Wilfredo S. Pineda.

“The appointment of Chairman Diño, designation of OIC Administrator Escolango and appointments of Mr. Antiporda and Mr. Saño as director has no effect on SBMA directors who tendered their courtesy resignations except on former Chairman/Administrator Garcia and Directors Benitez and Pineda,” Vega said.

The SBMA board has not convened for several months now, thus, Diño has not presided on any Board meeting since his appointment on Sept. 23, 2016.

In a statement, Escolango said that with the OGCC’s opinion, the SBMA hopes to finally convene the board by recalling directors whose resignations have not been acted upon or accepted by the president. “we have a lot of pending matters that require the Board’s attention and action,” Escolango said.

The OGCC also took note that “Chairman Diño informed the Office of the President (OP) on 21 November 2016 that he assumed functions as SBMA Chairman/Administrator pursuant to Republic Act (RA) 7227” and that “The OP replied that Atty. Escolango’s designation as OIC Administrator has not been revoked ‘(a)nd more importantly, under Section 13(d) of Republic Act 7227, the Administrator of the SBMA shall be appointed by the President and no other.”

Despite his appointment by the President only as Chairman of the SBMA Board of Directors, Diño insists on also being the Administrator, citing a provision in RA 7227.

Diño declared himself the SBMA Administrator in an Office Memorandum on Oct. 10, 2016 sent to SBMA offices and locators but when he informed Malacañang of his assumption of the office and functions of Administrator on 21 Nov., he was rebuffed by the Office of the President which reiterated Escolango’s Oct. 19, 2016 designation as OIC Administrator that “remains in full force and effect.”

However, Diño remains defiant to the point of challenging the authority of Office of the President and Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea, who issued the designation of Escolango. (SNL)

09 December 2016

SBMA eyes P140B Big-Ticket Projects to boost investment in Subic Freeport

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Martin B. Diño disclosed the multi-billion-peso big-ticket projects that the agency will be undertaking in anticipation of the upsurge of foreign investors by next year.

In a recent meeting with the press, Diño said that he will be sending to Malacañang his budget proposal in the amount of P140 billion (US$2.8 billion) to fast-track six major projects he intends to implement during his term as SBMA chairman.

SBMA Chairman Martin B. Diño

“Before I came here, the president (Duterte) instructed me to improve and make Subic the best investment area in Asia. But how can I achieve that when there is no area that I could offer to new investors?” Diño asked, adding, “I have to find new land.”

He said that after surveying and studying the geographic location of the Freeport, Diño was able to identify a 3,000-hectare industrial zone that can be potentially developed at the back of South Korean shipyard Hanjin Heavy Industries Corporation at Redondo Peninsula, Subic, Zambales.

He further stated that there is more than enough land for investors at Redondo, but infrastructure such as roads and bridges should be built first to make it accessible via Subic Freeport to the new industrial zone in Zambales.

Diño explained that the "big ticket projects" include the construction of four major roads and bridges that would cost around P126 billion (US$2.52 billion), and eventually shorten the travel time of cargo trucks and passenger vehicles to and from Northern Luzon and Metro Manila.

First on the list with a proposed budget of P11 billion (US$220 million), is the construction of a 17.273 kilometer bypass road that would connect the Subic container terminals to Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) without passing the busy commercial and leisure areas of the Freeport.

Second, with a proposed budget of P22 billion ($440 million) is the 25.73 kilometer Tipo-Castillejos By-Pass Road which will also include the construction of seven bridges. The by-pass road will be connected to Tipo Road at the exit of SCTEX and run directly to Castillejos, Zambales by-passing heavy traffic in Olongapo City and Subic, Zambales.

Third, with a proposed budget of P91 billion ($1.82 million) is the construction of a 65-kilometer multi-modal expressway that would directly connect Subic Freeport to Manila.

And fourth, with a proposed budget of P2 billion ($40 million) is the Tipo-SCTEX Road Widening project which aims to improve the capacity of Tipo Road. This will entail adding another lane on both sides of the road with the improvement of the existing tunnel and the construction of an additional tunnel.

These projects, according to Diño, should provide easy access to and from Subic Freeport for both cargo haulers and tourists, especially those coming from or going to North and Central Luzon, as well as Metro Manila.

“These infrastructure projects will bring Subic Freeport and other centers of commerce in Luzon area closer to each other,” he said, noting that travel time from point-to-point will be greatly shortened, making development faster and easier, while at the same time helping decrease the volume of vehicles plying major roads of Metro Manila that cause traffic crisis.

“Where these roads pass, expect rapid economic growth which means more jobs being created and more revenue being collected. There will be more progress for everyone,” he added.

Meanwhile, to maximize the economic benefits brought about by the new roads, SBMA is also proposing the construction of additional container terminals and the expansion of Naval Supply Depot here.

According to Diño, he is proposing the construction of New Container Terminal 3 and 4 in the amount of P10 billion (US$200 million) which will the constructed parallel to the existing NCT 1 and NCT 2.

The Naval Supply Depot, which mostly serves as storage facility for bulk grains and other non-containerized cargoes, is being proposed for expansion and improvement in the amount of P4 billion (US$80 million).

Diño said that he has coordinated with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to seek its endorsement to Malacañang for the approval of the proposed projects.

“We have already sent a memorandum to NEDA seeking its endorsement to Malacañang so that we could go ahead and fast track these big ticket projects and complete them the soonest possible time,” he said. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)

08 December 2016

Hanjin cited as top ship exporter in PH

Subic Bay Freeport – The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has awarded the country’s biggest shipbuilding firm Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction – Philippines (HHIC-Phil) as the top exporter for the shipbuilding sector yesterday at the Philippine Trade and Training Center (PTTC) in Pasay City.

With last year’s exportation of 16 large vessels to foreign shipping lines, HHIC-Phil, bagged the Top Sectoral Exporter citation during the National Export Congress.

With the theme “Advancing SMEs through Inclusive Business: From Local to Global,” the event is aimed at promoting the business environment by assisting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), exporters, and domestic producers in enhancing their capabilities in supplying and maintaining their presence in the international market.

“We are honored to receive such an award from the DTI. We are more than proud of the craftsmanship of the Koreans and the diligence of the Filipino shipbuilders, without them, we wouldn’t have won the award,” said Hanjin President Jung Goo Heo.

He added that the company will continue to help the economic growth of the Philippines.

President Duterte graced the awarding ceremony along with Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Kim Jae Shin, DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, DTI Undersecretary Nora Terrado, Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (PhilExport) President Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr., Presidential Adviser on Entrepreneurship Jose Maria Conception III, Department of Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña, Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Rodolfo Salalima and DTI Director Senen Perlada.

The National Exporters Congress is an annual event led by the DTI, PhilExport and the Export Development Council (EDC).

The yearly celebration of the Exporters Week was made to obtain the total commitment of the government and the private sector to continuously work together to sustain export promotion and development. (Jonas Reyes, Manila Bulletin)

HANJIN’S SHIPBUILDING, EXPORT MUSCLE – The LPG carrier Kaprijkie, shown at Hanjin’s shipbuilding facility in Subic Bay in 2015, is one of several ships exported by the shipbuilding giant with the help of Filipino shipbuilders and engieneers. (Jonas Reyes)

06 December 2016

SBMA employees urge Diño to respect Malacañang on Escolango

THE SBMA Employees Association (SEA) is urging Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Chairman Martin B. Diño to bury the hatchet and work hand-in-hand with OIC Administrator Randy B. Escolango.

“It’s the SBMA that suffers, including the employees, because of the dispute between Chairman Diño and OIC Administrator Escolango,” said Elmer L. Libo, president of the close to a thousand strong members of SEA.

“With Malacañang’s clarification that Atty. Escolango’s designation as OIC Administrator is still in full force and effect, we hope Chairman Diño will set aside his personal ambition and honor Malacañang’s decision like a gentleman,” Libo said.

Libo was speaking in reaction to the Office of the President’s Nov. 28, 2016 reiteration of Escolango’s Oct. 19, 2016 designation as OIC Administrator, in response to Diño’s letter Nov. 21, 2016 saying that despite his (Diño) appointment by President Duterte as Chairman only, he has also assumed the position of SBMA Administrator.

Diño just arrived from Korea, his fourth (4th) trip outside the Philippines in less than two (2) months since assuming office on Oct. 3, 2016. He is expected to be back on Dec. 8 but has cut short his trip to attend the agency's flag-raising ceremony Monday.

SBMA employees are witness to the almost weekly “tele-novela,” referring to Diño’s outbursts during flag ceremonies which began with a dressing down of Escolango, who did not react, in front of all present, after Escolango was designated as OIC Administrator.

When Escolango started to perform the duties of the Office of the Administrator, Diño always comes up with orders and memos nullifying his (Escolango) actions.

With the reiteration of his designation as OIC Administrator by the Office of the president, however, Escolango said he will no longer allow Diño to usurp the position of Administrator.

Escolango said Diño may have to face administrative and criminal charges for usurping the office to which he (Diño) has not been appointed to.

Escolango expressed his gratitude for the support and words of encouragement from SEA and the management personnel of SBMA. “I am humbled by the understanding and support of our managers and rank & file employees,” Escolango said, “We can understand each other, after all, we are the ones who worked together to bring SBMA out of the doldrums.”

In the past six (6) years, SBMA, under the stewardship of former Chairman & Administrator Roberto V. Garcia, grew from virtual bankruptcy to a healthy agency, raking in unprecedented, record-breaking revenues through sound management practices and innovations.

While losing billions of pesos in the past with no subsidy or budget support from the national government, SBMA now has some P4B in the bank and has already contributed hundreds of millions of pesos to the national coffers. (VVV)

SBMA Employees Association (SEA) officers led by President Elmer L. Libo (4th frm R) during a courtesy call on SBMA OIC Administrator Randy B. Escolango (seated). SEA has expressed support for Escolango and called on Chairman Martin B. Diño to respect Malacañang's designation of Escolango so as not to further hamper the normal operations of SBMA. (FBphoto/ell)

Int'l chess tourney opens in Subic Bay, Torre leads PH team

The Philippine International Chess Championship reels off today at the Subic Bay Peninsular Hotel, Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Olongapo City, Zambales.

The nine-round Swiss System tournament has drawn the participation of 10 foreign grandmasters led by Wang Hao (2678) of China.

PH Grandmaster Eugene Torre

The other prominent foreigners entered in the event are GM Anton Demchenko (2629) of Russia, GM Boris Savchenko (2613) of Russia, GM Mikheil Mchedlishvili (2611) of Georgia, GM Levan Pantsulaia (2607) of Georgia, GM Kovalev Vladislav (2603) of Belarus, GM Merab Gagunashvili (2588) of Georgia, GM Kirill Stupak (2562) of Belarus, GM Tigran Kotanjyan (2473) of Armenia, GM Sriram Jha (2416) of India, International Master Tran Tuan Minh (2478) of Vietnam, IM Abhimanyu Puranik (2476) of India, FIDE Master Tran Minh Thang (2399) of Vietnam, Harshit Harnish Raja (2399) of India and FM Lee Qing Aun (2227) of Singapore.

Also seeing action are Woman Grandmaster Lei Tingjie of China, WGM S.Vijayalakshmi of India and WIM Sarvinoz Kurbonboeva of Uzbekistan.

Grandmaster Eugene Torre leads the local contingent which includes GM Mark Paragua, GM John Paul Gomez, GM Joey Antonio, GM Darwin Laylo, IM Paulo Bersamina, IM Oliver Dimakiling, IM Haridas Pascua, IM Jerad Docena, IM Jan Emmanuel Garcia and International Master Ricardo De Guzman and WGM Janelle Mae Frayna.

The opening ceremony will be graced by Rep. Prospero “Butch” A. Pichay, Jr., chairman and president of National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP), secretary-general Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino, vice-president Ruel V. Canobas and former Rep. Neri Javier Colmenares.

Another international event, also supported by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), is set Dec. 12-19 at the same venue.

05 December 2016

SBMA plans to develop Smart City, Green Zone

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is set to develop a Smart City that is expected to spur investments and international trade in the country.

SBMA Chairman Martin Dino said in a statement that the Smart City will be developed in the Redondo Peninsula in Zambales where the shipyard of Hanjin Philippines, the world’s fourth biggest shipbuilding facility, is located.

Redondo Peninsula c/o Google maps

The SBMA proposes to convert 3,000 hectares of the narrow 15-km long rugged peninsula into a new industrial park he designated as Subic 2.

“This would become Subic’s Smart City – an exclusive enclave of modern high-tech corporations and a hub for scientific development and innovation. No other site in the country could match its advantage in location and accessibility,” Dino said ina statement.

In addition, SBMA plans to build Subic 3 in Morong, Bataan called “Green Zone”.

The Green Zone would be home to non-tech industries and a Mecca for commercial, financial investment and academic locators.

“We want to take Subic Bay Freeport to the next level of development. In line with President Duterte’s partnership for growth, Subic will continue to be a major contributor to the economic growth, countryside development and national progress,” Dino said.

Dino’s other plans include upgrading the Subic Bay International Airport to become regional logistics transshipment hub and air terminal for tourists, guests, investors and junket operators for tourism-and-entertainment related events.

With the “Smart City” and “Green Zone” as centerpieces of our economic vision, Subic would become one of the most exciting locations for businesses not only in the Philippines but all of Southeast Asia, and maybe Asia and the Pacific, Dino stressed. Subic earlier recorded P111.5 billion worth of investments for first three quarters of the year. These investments have the potential to create 55,000 new jobs.

To date, it has a combined investment of some $102.8 billion brought in by some 1,700 business locators, both foreign and local that provided jobs for 109,000 workers, since the former US naval base was turned into a special economic zone through Republic Act No. 7227. (Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat, Manila Bulletin)

02 December 2016

LOOK: The M/V Susitna arrives in Subic Bay

The M/V Susitna, a 195-foot military prototype vessel sits atop a barge as she arrives in Subic Bay Friday afternoon (Dec. 02).

Acquired by the Philippine Red Cross, it will serve as a multi-purpose vessel for emergency units’ fast transport and landing, relief supply transport, sea rescue, mobile operations command post and also for humanitarian education and training ship.

PRC Chairman and Senator Richard J. Gordon said a ship was essential for the PRC and the Red Cross Movement, as well, in order to effectively perform its humanitarian mandate in the Philippines and the Asia Pacific Region.

"Since it is designed for direct beach landings and to operate and land cargo and passengers on unimproved areas and damaged ports and wharfs, we won’t have to go through what we have experienced during Yolanda again,” Gordon said.

Read more here:

Lights from the heavy load carrier BigLift Happy Star illuminate the twilight sky in Subic Bay Freeport. The carrier is tasked to lift the M/V Susitna from atop a barge and settle it down onto the waters of Subic Bay.

30 November 2016

Malacañang resolves confusion over SBMA top posts

MALACAÑANG has finally clarified that Martin B. Diño is not the SBMA Administrator, only Chairman of the Board of Directors.

“Please be advised that the designation of Atty. Randy B. Escolango as Officer-in-Charge, Office of the Administrator, SBMA, has not been revoked by the Office of the President and thus remains in full force and effect,” said Menardo I. Guevarra, Sr. Deputy Executive Secretary in a letter dated Nov. 28, 2016.

Guevarra’s letter is in response to Diño's letter dated 21 November 2016 informing the Office of the President that he (Diño) has “assumed the functions of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman/Administrator pursuant to Republic Act No. 7227.”

“More importantly, under Section 13(d) of Republic Act No. 7227, the Administrator of the SBMA shall be appointed by the President and no other,” Guevarra told Diño.

Diño was appointed SBMA Chairman on September 23, 2016 and he assumed office on Oct. 3, 2016.

When erstwhile Chairman & Administrator Roberto V. Garcia announced that while he has been replaced as Chairman, he will continue to function as Administrator until one has been appointed in his steed, Diño declared himself the SBMA Administrator in an Office Memorandum on Oct. 10, 2016 sent to SBMA offices and locators.

However, nine (9) days later, on Oct. 19, 2016, after Diño’s self-appointment, the Office of the President thru Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea, accepted the resignation earlier filed by Garcia and designated Escolango as OIC Administrator.

29 November 2016

Press Statement of SBMA OIC Administrator Randy Escolango

This is to bring to the fore the facts behind the various media reports pertaining to the Accounts Receivable of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and Cash Advances made by some key officers.

The reports evidently show that the source thereof had made a flawed appreciation of facts and great misimpression on audit observations made by the Commission on Audit (COA) dealing on the transactions and actions mentioned therein.

As the Deputy Administrator for Legal Affairs of the SBMA for more than six (6) years prior to being designated as OIC-Administrator and CEO, and having also served the past administration of former Chairman and Administrator Roberto V. Garcia, the undersigned has first-hand knowledge of the transactions and actions made during the latter’s time including those subject of the recent media reports.

Contrary to reports that the administration of former Chairman and Administrator Garcia had entered into transactions and made management actions disadvantageous to SBMA, tangible reports and records would attest that SBMA during his time was given various distinctions for sound financial and administrative management, breaking records in terms of increased revenue collection and robust financials for SBMA. What came out from the reports are hereafter controverted.

The Annual Audit Report dated June 27, 2015 of the Commission on Audit states that the Balance of SBMA’s Accounts Receivable as of December 31, 2015 is Php4,106,523,069.14; that 85% of said balance is doubtful because the existence and correctness thereof was not established since a majority of the notices sent by COA to locators and residents seeking to confirm SBMA’s receivable from them had been returned due to the fact that said locator or resident could not be located; and that 11.92% of said balance remained non-moving since 2013.

The SBMA has consistently and seasonably replied to these COA observations explaining that the correctness and validity of the Balance of SBMA’s Accounts Receivable cannot be doubted simply because most of the notices sent by COA to the locators and residents who have liabilities to SBMA have not replied. Most of the residents sent notices by COA had already moved out, or refused to receive or acknowledge the notices lest they admit and establish their payables to SBMA.

Furthermore, most of the locators who did not reply or cannot be located where already evicted by the SBMA from their lease premises precisely because of their failure to pay their accountabilities. What is real, valid and on record is that each and every entry in the Balance of the Accounts Receivable of the SBMA is fully substantiated by a signed contract and/or an official billing statement that establishes the legitimacy and validity of the receivable.

That 11.92% of said Accounts Receivable Balance remained non-moving since 2013 is easily explained by the fact that these accounts are either under court litigation, or the SBMA has already repossessed all of the defaulting locator’s assets and yet its receivable still cannot be satisfied. To take the example of three of the SBMA’s biggest Accounts Receivable:

a) Financial Building Corporation (FBC) with total accountabilities to SBMA of Php1,285,803,796.75 has questioned in the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Olongapo City the lease billings of SBMA. Pending since 2004, certain incidents of the proceedings in the RTC have been elevated to the Court of Appeals, but the RTC has yet to promulgate a decision in the main case. Most of FBC’s assets have been foreclosed by Home Guaranty Corporation (HGC), a government arm, and the SBMA has been able to work with HGC by collecting from the latter the amount of Php36,688,583.01 representing a portion of FBC’s unpaid rentals and charges on the foreclosed assets.

b) The SBMA in 2009 obtained and executed a court judgment against Legenda International Resorts Limited (“Legenda”) in the amounts of Php884,419,064.36 and US$225,886.99 representing Legenda’s unpaid accountabilities to SBMA. However, Legenda was already insolvent at that time, and had already filed for corporate rehabilitation and receivership, which ultimately led to its liquidation. Its only remaining asset was the Legenda Hotel, which the SBMA fully repossessed and took control of also in 2009, and subsequently leased out to another locator. Almost all of Legenda’s movable assets, on the other hand, were attached by PAGCOR.

Thus, even if SBMA obtained a court judgment in its favor and repossessed Legenda’s main asset, the latter no longer has any other assets that the SBMA can run after in order to collect the rest of its receivables. The SBMA has been working with COA to allow this receivable from Legenda to be written off since SBMA has exhausted all legal means to collect.

c) The SBMA in 2007 took over from the Universal International Group of Taiwan (UIG) the Binictican Golf Course and all of the assets contained therein due to UIG’s failure to pay SBMA the amount of Php91,459,412.01 representing unpaid rentals and charges. The court cases between SBMA and UIG remain unresolved, but the SBMA has already repossessed all of UIG’s fixed and movable assets. Even if SBMA subsequently wins in the court cases, which it expects it will, UIG has no other assets that SBMA can levy or collect from.

Aside from FBC, Legenda and UIG discussed above, there are 3 other locators, namely the Freeport Services Corporation, KT Global Subic, Inc. and Subic Leisureworld Inc., with significant accountabilities to SBMA totaling a combined Php266,987,925.66 that remain unsatisfied, because even if SBMA had already repossessed their lease premises, they no longer have any assets that the SBMA can levy or run after.

Clearly, it is not due to a lack of effort that a significant portion of SBMA’s receivables has remained non-moving. The pace of litigation is not something the SBMA can control, and on the several instances that the SBMA has exhausted all legal means to collect and has in fact repossessed almost all of the assets of a defaulting locator, the unfortunate reality is that such repossessed assets are insufficient to satisfy SBMA’s receivable.

It is also relevant to highlight that it was precisely due to the SBMA’s collection efforts across all revenue sources, including receivables, that the SBMA was able to achieve successive record revenues of Php2.02Billion in 2013, Php2.442Billion in 2014 and Php2.755Billion in 2015 – the three highest revenue years in SBMA history.

For 2016, all indications are that SBMA will exceed its year end target revenue of Php2.9Billion. These efforts are what led to SBMA being awarded the 2015 Best Freeport Zone in Asia by FDI Magazine (Financial Times of London) and the 2016 Executive Leadership Team of the Year by the Asia CEO Awards.

As to the alleged irregular Cash Advances by the SBMA’s key officers, these have all been fully liquidated within the prescribed period, and, except for the minor fact that these officers were not covered by written designations as disbursing officers, complied with all the requirements under COA Circular No. 97-002 that: a) the cash advances be for a legally specific purpose and used only for such purpose; b) no cash advance to an official be allowed until the latter’s previous advances are fully settled; c) the submission of a cash advance report; d) the officials to whom the cash advances were issued hold permanent appointments; and e) the cash advances are duly obligated and cannot be used to pay expenses of prior years.

Note that further Cash Advances could not have been made by said officials if there were substantial or relevant requirements not complied with in the previous Cash Advances. Attached is the Report of the SBMA Accounting Department for the Year Ended December 2015 showing the particulars, purposes and status of the Cash Advances cited in the COA Report.

House leaders back vital Subic-Manila coastal highway

HOUSE Leaders yesterday endorsed the construction of the 65-km coastal highway from Subic Bay to Manila to dramatically unclog the premier international shipping gateway to the country and decongest traffic in the metropolis.

In separate interviews, Quezon City Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo, Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe, and Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone joined Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman Martin Diño in seeking the approval of President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte to prioritize the project.

“Any road development towards MM is welcome due to the magnitude of the traffic problem. However, we should study further the best infrastructure available as the best alternative,” Castelo said.

“I am one hundred percent behind this proposal. However, let us start to lessen the centralization of economic activities in Metro Manila and prioritize the dispersal of industries to the provinces. And we can not start this process if we continue building structures going to Manila,” Batocabe, president of the Party-List Coalition (PLC) and chairman of the House special committee on climate change.

For his part, Evardone, who chairs the House committee on bank and financial intermediaries, said: “Any good plan that will help decongest Manila and its worsening traffic should be supported.”

Diño was referring to the new multi-modal highway for rail cargo and vehicular traffic, linking the Subic and Manila ports by the shortest route possible, dovetails with the Freeport’s planned expansion of its Container Terminals 3 and 4 to increase its handling capacity to 1.2 million TEUs or Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit.

He said the SBMA would boost as well the handling capacity of the Naval Supply Depot Compound and Bulk Cargo Port Wharves for loose cargoes, and rehabilitate the Sattler Pier, as modernizing its port facilities and rebuilding its aging infrastructure shift to high gear.

Diño said he has also sought the help of Public Works Secretary Mark Villar to provide technical assistance for the proposed widening of the narrow Tipo Road, which links the Freeport facility to the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), into a four-lane highway and the construction of a new tunnel and bridge to accommodate the new lanes are also among his priorities.

He stressed that these projects should be undertaken simultaneously in this “golden age of infrastructure” as the Philippines rides the momentum as the best-performing economy in the region.

Also considered a vital part of the new road network is the 17.273-km bypass road for cargo trucks that would connect the Freeport terminals directly with the SCTEX in Hermosa, Bataan to provide easy transport for goods and services at the export processing zones in the area and in nearby towns in Pampanga, he said.

The bypass road would also relieve traffic buildup at the steep Tipo Road for vehicles and heavy trucks going in and out of the Freeport.

“Our goal is to connect Subic to Manila and the economic zones in Luzon,” Diño said. (Ryan Ponce Pacpaco, Journal Online)

Aerial shot of the Port of Subic showing its container terminal, piers and warehouses.

Read More:

28 November 2016

LOOK: The Ten Outstanding Freeport Workers of 2016

The winners of the Ten Outstanding Freeport Workers pose for a souvenir photo during the awarding ceremony held at the Ayala Harbor Point Mall in Subic Bay Freeport zone.

Dennis Pablo, from an Aeta community of Iram in Olongapo City and works at Cresc Inc., proudly shows his plaque after being recognized as one of the awardees of the Ten Outstanding Freeport Workers.

Dennis Pablo joins his family for a souvenir photo.

SBMA Office of the Administrator Officer-in-Charge Randy B. Escolango (6th from left) and Senior Administrator Ramon O. Agregado (9th from left) joins the winners of the Ten Outstanding Freeport Workers for a souvenir photo. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

26 November 2016

2016 ten outstanding Subic Freeport workers awarded

An Aeta tribal member and a school paper adviser complete the ten workers in this freeport who were recognized Friday (Nov. 25) for their exemplary performance and contributions in their respective workplace.

The Ten Outstanding Freeport Workers, also known as “Ten-O,” is an annual event initiated by the Subic Bay Workforce Development Foundation, Inc. (SBWDFI), a non-government entity established by Freeport-based locators and investors, in partnership with the Labor Department of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).

SBMA Labor Department manager and concurrent SBWDFI president Atty. Severo Pastor, Jr. said that the ten awardees are the epitome of the best Filipino workers in the country.

The “Ten-O” were selected among more than 100,000 freeport workers, hundreds of which were nominated to undergo a battery of interviews, performance appraisal and screening by the board of judges.

The selection focused on the advocacy of welfare and values of workers, to honor and recognize the “best among the best” for their discipline, dedication and commitment to excellence.

Officials from the SBMA and TESDA led the Freeport workers and executives in the recognition of the ten outstanding workers.

Among the ten awardees is a member of the Aeta tribal community and a school paper adviser who, because of their passion and dedication to their jobs, have performed exceptionally in their own field.

Dennis Pablo was a high school graduate from the Aeta tribal community of Iram and currently works as maintenance leader at Cresc Incorporated whose dedication to work and his knowledge in technical matters contributed to increase productivity. Cultural differences did not hinder him from contributing ideas that improved the company’s products;

Sergio Ontuca, a respected professor, program head and moderator of school organ of the Mondriaan Aura College, unselfishly gave his precious time in the curriculum development area, particularly in languages and social sciences and inspired students who found themselves gifted with the power of pen. Ontuca, who started as a part-time college instructor, is also well-loved by faculty members, non-teaching personnel and students.

Other awardees include Mark Dwin Alqueza, a Spare Parts Interpreter at DunBrae Subic who provides timely and efficient service to customers and service technicians in Australia in the sourcing and provision of spare parts. He has been consistently rated as an excellent customer service provider who stays true to the company’s core values and vision;

Jeaneth Alvarez, Quality Controller at Philippine Coastal Storage and Pipeline Corporation. She monitors the quality of the fuel being received, stored and delivered by checking the certificates of analysis, making sure that all parameters are within specifications. She also acts as adviser to the Operations superintendent and manager, providing recommendations concerning fuel quality;

Catherine Bondoc, Document Controller Supervisor at FBM Systems and Electronics, Inc. who continually performs document control, internal and external audit, ISO certification maintenance, among others, and for six years has been an excellent asset for the company. Persistent and with positive attitude, she influences her co-workers and promotes good teamwork—qualifications that made her an Excellent FBM Employee 0f 2016;

Mark Henson Calunod, is a dedicated and highly deserving employee who serves as the head butcher at the Subic Duty Free Shop Inc. (Meatplus Café). Serving for 12 years, he exuded dependability, efficiency and consistent punctuality;

Engr. Rolinda Escaño, Process Shift Engineer for SubicWater. Engr. Lyn moved her peers and colleagues to work and thrived in an environment where culture of competence, honesty professionalism and teamwork have been exemplified.

Riza Gallardo works at Wistron InfoComm Phils. Corp. as function leader, Gallardo has a strong knowledge in materials management such as planning, purchasing, controlling and monitoring of material inventory, and has system control over activities of over 60 different warehouses of the company. She also helped the company attain two major audit certificates: ISO 9000, an international standard related to Quality Management Systems and ANSI ESD S20.20, an international standard related to the global need of electronics industry;

Albert Manuel works at the Mega Subic Terminal Services Inc. as information and document personnel and concurrently pollution control officer. Manuel is a consistent outstanding employee because of his honesty, dedication and enthusiasm to his job, and a leader who serves as source of inspiration among peers to get the best out of their duties; and

Nhoel Pulido, a Management Information System (MIS) Engineer II at Nicera Philippines whose main task as database administrator manages the company’s whole logistics, production and financial database records. His competency earned him the management’s trust to administer the company’s file and application servers, as well as its application systems. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)

18 November 2016

GQMC recognizes SBMA’s quality management system

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) recently was given recognition by the Government Quality Management Committee (GQMC) for attaining ISO 9001 Quality Management Systems Certification which led to achieving successful years for the agency.

The GQMC annually recognized government agencies, including government-owned and controlled corporations, state universities and colleges, and local government units whose quality management systems (QMS) have attained ISO 9001 Certification from January 2012 to October 2016.

In a communication sent to SBMA, GQMC chairman and Budget Sec. Benjamin Diokno stated that the conferment was in recognition of the established QMS of SBMA in conformity with the ISO 9001 Standards.

ISO 9001:2008 Certificate is awarded by International Standard Organization (ISO) certified Registrars to an organization which meets specified quality system requirements to be able to consistently provide conforming products, either material or services to meet customer's expectations.

In the Philippines, ISO certification and quality management in government institutions was required through Executive Order 605 and Administrative Order 161, respectively, signed by then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

SBMA obtained the ISO Certificate since January 2013 and was re-certified on June this year, according to SBMA OIC-Total Quality Management (TQM) Office John Aquino, who received the certificate in a ceremony held at LBP Auditorium in Manila.

The First Surveillance Audit was conducted by AJA Registrars Inc. which resulted in the “zero major non-conformity, zero minor non-conformity and nine observations”. This, according to Aquino, was considered a legacy in the history of government offices.

“This is the fruit of an all-Agency effort and utmost commitment to QMS and good governance by the dedicated men and women of the SBMA headed by Chairman Martin Diño,” Aquino said.

Aquino said that SBMA started working to meet with the requirement based on standards specified on ISO 9001:2008 since October 2012 with AJA Registrars.

All departments of SBMA had conformed to the ISO 9001 resulting to the issuance of ISO 9001:2008 Certification last April 2013, he said.

These offices include the Internal Services Group with 10 offices/departments; Maritime, Business and Investment Group with seven offices/departments; Regulatory Group with six offices/departments, and Chairman and Administrator-CEO Group which composed of six offices and departments.

The GQMC is being co-chaired by Trade Sec. Ramon Lopez with members DILG Sec. Ismael Serena and Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) Pres. Antonio Kalaw. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)

SBMA Chairman Martin B. Diño poses with other officials as he presents the GQMC certificate recognizing SBMA's attainment of the ISO 9001 QMS during the agency's flag ceremony Monday. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

17 November 2016

USS Comstock arrives in Subic Bay

USS Comstock (LSD 45) with embarked Marines of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, docked in Subic Bay Thursday (Nov. 17) to provide the crew and Marines an opportunity to rest and recuperate after nearly a month and a half at sea.

Subic Bay marks the second port visit for the Comstock after departing Naval Station San Diego on October 14. Several Filipino-American Sailors and Marines will also spend time with their families and experience the local culture while learning about their own heritage.

"I am very proud that my first port visit as the Commanding Officer of the Comstock was to my birthplace, Guam, and I'm even more honored that our next port visit will be to the country where my mother and father were born - the Philippines,” said Comstock Commanding Officer Cmdr. Gervy Alota. “It will be a fantastic opportunity for my crew to enjoy and learn about the history and culture of the Philippines and to strengthen the already close ties between our two nations. I look forward to reuniting with my family and forming new friendships with the people of Subic Bay."

The Comstock and embarked 11th MEU, part of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, have been conducting training together for nearly a month and a half at sea. Comstock and other ships of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group are currently on a routine patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the region. The Comstock is based out of Naval Station San Diego, Calif. The 11th MEU is based out of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif. (U.S. Embassy, Manila)


The US Navy ship USS Comstock (LSD-45), a Whidbey Island-class dock landing ship, docked at the Alava pier of Subic Bay Freeport in Zambales province for a replenishment port call Wednesday (Nov. 16) afternoon as joint US and Philippine special operations forces begins its annual combat exercise dubbed “Balance Piston” in the western province of Palawan. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

15 November 2016

Olive Ridley turtle hatchlings released

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT: Ninety-six Olive Ridley turtle hatchlings, a seriously endangered species of sea turtles, slowly crawled their way to the sea after they were released at the beach here last Saturday.

Amethya dela Llana Koval, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Ecology Center manager, said the ritual is a tradition these turtles must follow for them to remember their footprints when they decide to come back to the same place years later to nest and lay their eggs.

The All Hands Beach, like most other coastal areas in this former US naval base that is now a bustling freeport and economic zone, regularly hosts turtles on its shores and the owner of the beach has ensured that they return to their nesting ground without being “disoriented” and the eggs laid will be protected until they hatch and are ready to make their trip to the open sea.

According to experts, these turtles have a very small chance of survival once they are in the sea and only a mere one percent of them are likely to survive the perilous journey.

“There are actually 105 in this batch of turtle eggs but six did not make it that’s why only 96 are being released now,” says Nick, a turtle expert at the beach who watches over the eggs throughout their hatching period.

According to him, female turtles lay about a hundred eggs but may nest up to three times in a year.

The nesting season starts somewhere in the latter half of the year and lasts until December.

Aside from SBMA Ecology Center officials and other Subic investors, beach goers joined in releasing the hatchlings.

Koval said more people should be encouraged to help in preserving the endangered pawikan turtles as well as other sea creatures by avoiding the use of plastics and throwing them in the sea.

“These turtles sometimes mistake the plastic for jellyfish and ingest them, resulting in their death,” she added.

The Olive Ridley, which has a lifespan of up to 50 years, feeds on jellyfish, snails, crabs, shrimp and occasionally eat algae and seaweeds. (Patrick Roxas, Manila Times)

newly-hatched baby turtles scurrying their way to the sea at the All Hands Beach in Subic Bay Freeport (photo from Ameth DL Koval's FB page)