SubicNewsLink | Subic Bay Freeport News: SBMA, Business, Tourism, Community

10 December 2018

Taiwanese computer giant to reopen Subic plant

Wistron Infocomm Corp., formerly one of the biggest export manufacturers in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, will soon resume production operations here.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman and administrator Wilma Eisma on Wednesday said the Taiwanese computer giant conducted recruitment activities here for two days last week to hire workers for some 2,500 positions at its Subic facility.


Wistron’s return to Subic came as a direct result of the emerging trade war between the super-economies of the United States and China, as well as of the threat by the Trump administration to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“You can say that this again validates the inherent strength of Subic as a strategic business location, because when other countries lose their initial advantages in terms of cheap labor or distribution cost, companies opt for Subic,” Eisma said.

She also said that the SBMA expects more global companies affected by the trade war to consider moving out to Subic or other economic zones in the country.

According to SBMA Labor Department manager Severo Pastor, Wistron processed more than 4,000 applications during the two-day schedule of exams and job interviews last week, with 900 workers passing the qualifiers on the first day alone.

“They wanted HOTS -- hired on the spot, so Taiwanese personnel from the company personally conducted the interviews. The SBMA labor personnel simply assisted on the second day to help process the growing number of applications,” he said.

Wistron Infocomm started out in Subic in 1995 as Acer Information Products (Philippines), Inc., a computer manufacturing outfit of Acer, Inc., Taiwan’s biggest computer firm.

It earned its current name in 2006 when Acer, Inc. spun off its Subic operations and infused fresh capitalization of USD36 million to include a Mobile Operations Unit (MSU).

In 2008, Wistron contributed more than a fourth of Subic’s USD977.84 export total with export production of USD274.88 million, leading the top 10 Subic exporters when Korean shipbuilder Hanjin, now the biggest exporter, was just a fledgling operation with USD61.74 million worth of exports.

In 2010, however, Wistron closed its hand-held device plant in Subic, shifting all of its production here to a facility in Zhongshan, China, but leaving its design automation center here.

The move displaced some 700 workers, at least 200 of whom, however, were reportedly sent off to a Wistron plant in the border-town facility of Juarez, Mexico.

In a clear reversal of fortune, Pastor said the newly-opened positions in Subic are the result of the company’s plan to relocate their operations to Mexico due to the threat by President Donald Trump to withdraw from NAFTA, which he has criticized for allowing Mexico to “steal” jobs from the United States and opening the border to cheap, tariff-free goods. (Malou Dungog, PNA)

http://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1055921



07 December 2018

BoC Subic posts record collection

The Port of Subic district collection unit of the Bureau of Customs achieved last month its highest revenue collection performance in its 20-year history after generating P2.347 billion, or 12.8 percent over its target for the period.

The BOC district unit headed by lawyer Ma. Rhea M. Gregorio registered a surplus of P265.429 million, according to the data gathered on the revenue performance of the district. Its target was P2.082 billion.


This is the third consecutive month that the district achieved positive collections record since September when Gregorio assumed the post as district collector.

BOC Subic accomplished the double-digit revenue targets by upgrading trade facilitation and closer dialogs with both Subic Freeport locators and port users.

Subic raised P2.182 billion revenues on import duties and taxes in October, netting P87.733 million, or a surplus of 4.2 percent. (Joel E. Zurbano, Manila Standard)

http://manilastandard.net/business/power-technology/282110/boc-subic-posts-record-collection.html

05 December 2018

NAGT triathlon set in Subic, registration ongoing

Over six hundred entries beat the early bird cut-off for the National Age-Group Triathlon Subic Bay race set for Jan. 27, 2019 at San Bernardino inside the Subic Bay Freeport.

The event organized by the Triathlon Association of the Philippines, in cooperation with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Tourism Department will have Standard Distance (1.5 Km swim–40 Km bike–10 Km run), Sprint Distance (750 M swim–20 Km bike–5 Km run) and Super Sprint Distance (500 M swim–13 Km bike–2.5 Km run) courses that will start and end at San Bernardino.


The NAGT series serves as TRAP’s main development and recruitment program from the grassroots level. The next stops are in Cebu, Dipolog City, Roxas City and Cagayan de Oro.

Competition manager Kenneth Romero said members of the Philippine Team, who are aspiring for slots for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, including Claire Adorna, Kim Kilgroe, Nikko Huelgas, John Chicano, Mark Hosana, JC Abad and Edward Macalalad will be racing for their respective early season tests.

Many prominent junior elite and youth triathletes from around the country have registered including Cebuano standouts Andrew Kim Remolino, Karen Manayon and Moira Frances Erediano.

At stake in the event sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission, Gatorade, Standard Insurance, Asian Centre for Insulation Philippines and the SBMA are medals for the Top 3 winners by age-group.

Registration is still ongoing with entry fees set at P3,750 for Standard Distance, P3,000 for Sprint Distance, P2,500 for Super Sprint Distance and P7,500 for Team Relay competitions.

Registration will end on December 31 to ensure that the field will not exceed the capacity of the venue.

For inquiries, contact the TRAP by email at trapsecretariat@gmail.com, by landline at 710-8259 and by visiting their official website at www.triathlon.org.ph (SNL)

30 November 2018

Subic Freeport exec gunned down

A lone suspect gunned down a company executive and wounded his bodyguard as the victims were walking toward a hotel here Wednesday night, police authorities said Thursday.

Police said Dominic Sytin, founder and executive officer of United Auctioneers, Inc., an importer of used heavy equipment and other vehicles based in Subic Freeport, died on the spot due to gunshot wounds in the head.


Sytin's bodyguard, identified as Efren Espartero, is now in critical condition at a nearby hospital.

Police said Sytin was about to enter The Lighthouse Hotel along Waterfront Road, Moonbay Marina Area, inside the Freeport, when an unidentified suspect shot him at the back and the left side of his head. Espartero tried to retaliate but was shot several times at the right side of his body and arm, police said.

Witnesses said the suspect fled on a motorcycle.

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) condemned the killing of Sytin “to the strongest possible term” as it is apparently a targeted assassination of a business locator here.

In a statement, SBMA chairman and administrator Wilma Eisma said the incident was a sad news, “not only because a prominent businessman fell prey to violence, but also because one life has been snuffed out just like that”.

Eisma said the SBMA is working with the police to identify the killer and urged the public with information to help authorities solve the crime. (Ruben Veloria, PNA)


28 November 2018

SBMA greenlights Grab operation in Subic Freeport

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has given the green light to Grab Philippines, thereby allowing the operation in this free port of Southeast Asia’s leading Internet-based ride-hailing and booking company.

Grab would initially field 120 taxi units for commuters in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.


SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma welcomed the launch of Grab operations here on Tuesday, pointing out that the service would provide a safe and cost-effective transportation system for commuters in the Freeport.

She said the riding public in Subic want ease and convenience, as well as competitive rates, while the SBMA opts for a top-of-the-line digital platform to put Subic’s transport system at par with those in other global growth centers.

“This is an opportunity for everybody to step up and improve their services,” Eisma stressed. “There is really a need to modernize the transport system here and normalize taxi fares so that there will be no more unnecessary negotiation for how much passengers should pay.”

Aside from standardizing fare rates in the Freeport, Grab operations are expected to help provide interconnectedness with nearby communities that are being encouraged by SBMA to open up tourism attractions for visitors who arrive in Subic.


According to SBMA Deputy Administrator for Business Kenneth Rementilla, tourists, business locators and employees are the primary customers for Grab.

He said the Subic Bay Freeport Zone logged in more than 8.6 million same-day visitor arrivals in Subic last year, up by 10 percent over the previous year’s figure. On the other hand, more than 1.6 million tourist arrivals were recorded last year, a slight growth over the 2017 tally.

“As more and more visitors arrive in Subic and more of them spill over to sites in Olongapo City, Zambales, Bataan and Pampanga, we expect Grab to play a bigger role in providing accessibility,” Rementilla said.

He added that aside from giving passengers comfort, safety and convenience, Grab can actually help boost local tourism and play a significant part in increasing local income.

Rementilla said that to avail of Grab services in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, commuters would simply have to download an application from the App Store or get it on Google play.

With the application, commuters can easily book a ride by setting their pick up and drop off point; find the nearest available driver, and track and find out details about him and his location; or even let family and friends track the progress of their trip.

Grab, which originated in Singapore under the MyTeksi brand, is now active in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia, and in the Philippines where it is operational in major urban centers like Manila, Cebu, Davao, Bacolod, Iloilo, Baguio, Cagayan de Oro, Angeles City, and Balanga, Bataan.

In Subic, Grab is seen to revolutionize how business locators, workers, and visitors are being ferried in and around this growing business and industrial center, Chairman Eisma said. (JRR/MPD-SBMA)

PHOTOS:

[1] Uniformed Grab taxi drivers signal their availability to ferry passengers, as the Internet-based ride-hailing platform started operating in the Subic Bay Freeport on Tuesday, Nov. 27.

[2] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma tries a ride on a Grab taxi, which started operating in the Subic Bay Freeport on Tuesday, Nov. 27.

27 November 2018

10 outstanding Subic Freeport workers named

Twelve employees from various companies in this premier free port made it to the list of the 10 Outstanding Freeport Workers for 2018, joining the growing body of awardees who made their mark in their respective workplaces year after year.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma, along with other SBMA officials, presented the awards during a recognition ceremony on Nov. 23 at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center here.


“It never fails to amaze me how we have gone such a long way,” Eisma said in her message, referring to the 26 years that the Subic Freeport existed and recalling the services of the more than 8,000 volunteers who helped establish Subic during its infancy.

“We are honoring 12 outstanding Freeport workers today and it only shows that excellence and malasakit continue to live with us here,” Eisma added.

The SBMA chief also thanked the awardees, as well as all stakeholders in the Subic Freeport “who had given that dedication to Subic to move us forward, so that investors continue to come by providing them a safe and clean place for their business.”

Lawyer Severo Pastor Jr., who heads the SBMA Labor Department and also serves as president of the Subic Bay Workers Development Foundation (SBWDF), which organizes the annual event, said the awards started out 17 years ago with “an urgent need to celebrate and recognize those who have excelled in their companies while continuing to thrive in their service to the community.”

Pastor explained that out of the more than 300 nominees this year, the board of judges selected 10 candidates whose score ranged between 90% and 98%. However, four candidates garnered the same scores in two spots so that 12 winners emerged, he added.


This year’s outstanding workers are: Maximo Bello, Jr. of FBM Systems and Electronics, Inc., Maria Lorena Aguania (Nicera Phils.), Gary Manglicmot (Pacific Ocean Underwater Solution, Corp.), Roberto Duran, Jr. (Phil. Coastal Storage and Pipelines Corp.), Marilyn Mae Martinez (PayAsia PA Support Subic Ltd.), Jefrene Sarmiento (PTT Phils. Trading Corp.); Simeon Carlos, Jr. (Nicera Phils. Inc.), Arnel Faminialan (Phil. Coastal Storage and Pipelines Corp.), Menandro Magcale (SBMA Media Production Department), Alfredo Cerezo (Subic Enerzone Corp.), Dominica Cureg (Subic Water and Sewerage Corp.), and Ruffy Gonzalez (Wistron Infocomm Phils. Corp.).

For her part, Olongapo City Police Office Superintendent Avelina De Guzman, who headed the board of judges, reminded the awardees that while they may experience disappointments in work, these should only help them grow.

“Brace yourselves for the many challenges ahead, and remember to learn from them,” she said. “Continue to work towards your dream, be proud of your accomplishments and be especially proud that you were awarded as top workers of the year.”

Meanwhile, two other activities organized for the benefit of local residents were simultaneously held at the Harbor Point mall here to coincide with the 26th SBMA anniversary celebration on Nov. 23-24: a mobile passport processing and a job fair.

Thousands of jobseekers lined up for the job fair that offered some 4,500 openings in various locator-businesses in the Subic Bay Freeport. (MPD-SBMA)

PHOTOS:
[1] Winners of the 10 Outstanding Freeport Workers Award show their trophies during the recognition rites at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center. (MPD-SBMA)

[2] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma joins the winners of the 10 Outstanding Freeport Workers Award along with (L-R) DA for Administration Ruel John Kabigting, OIC-DA for Legal Mike Quintos, and DA for Port Rani Cruz. (MPD-SBMA)

‘Better together’: SBMA chief cites Subic volunteers and hails new heroes

After an army of volunteers more than 8,000 strong preserved the former Subic Naval Base 25 years ago and facilitated the growth of what would become the country’s premier free port, new heroes have since stepped up to take the cudgels for “malasakit” and sustain Subic’s economic miracle, Subic’s chief executive said on Friday.

In a speech during the commemoration of Subic’s founding anniversary here, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma cited the contributions of past and present volunteers and urged them to always stick together as one Subic community, regardless of when they got on board.


“Being a volunteer myself, I know for some reason that the volunteers of 25 years ago have this invisible bond,” Eisma said as she reminisced about sharing “baon” lunches with Subic workers in the early days of Subic.

“But let us not forget that Subic is not just about the volunteers,” she said. “Many heroes have risen since the day of the volunteers, since the very first heroes,” she went on.

“Many, many, many heroes have risen from what SBMA is today. We have evolved into an army of many volunteers, of many heroes,” she added.

“Those who come anyway on a weekend to work, those who come anyway on a weekend to volunteer, the hundreds and hundreds of people from Olongapo, Bataan and Zambales who come for coastal clean-up in a day’s notice, we have also developed a kind of bond with each other somehow because of our love for Subic, because of our hope and dreams that we will bring Subic to a new frontier many, many years from now,” Eisma also said.

Eisma, who won just last week a silver trophy in the 15th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business in New York City, led the Subic anniversary rites at the Volunteers Shrine here, where the names of the original Subic volunteers were etched in stone.

The commemoration ceremony kicked off a two-day program for the 26th SBMA anniversary celebration that would be capped by the ceremonial lighting of the SBMA Christmas tree and the start of a music festival at the Boardwalk Events Center here.

In her speech, the SBMA executive also urged various stakeholders in Subic to work together and create a better, more cohesive Subic Freeport community.

“We have come such a long way. Now, we have more dreams. Let’s not refer to the old volunteers and the new volunteer because we are from Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, we are from Subic Bay Freeport Zone,” she reminded the audience.

Eisma also stressed that “malasakit” or concern for one another is the only way for Subic to go and grow.

“We are one community and that’s what we should be,” she said. “We should always be together because we are stronger that way. We are better together.” (MPD-SBMA)

PHOTOS:
SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma pays tribute to Subic volunteers and hailed the emergence of new heroes during the 26th SBMA anniversary celebration on Friday. (MPD-SBMA)

25 November 2018

Subic bags bronze as best sports tourism destination in Asia

As a testament to the successful sports tourism program of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), the Subic Bay Freeport again won in the search for the best tourism destination of the year in Asia.

Subic Freeport romped away with the bronze award for “Best Sports Tourism Destination of the Year” in this year’s Sports Industries Awards and Conference Asia (SPIA Asia), beating countries like China, Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and India.



SBMA Senior Deputy Administrator Ramon Agregado and SBMA tourism manager Jem Camba received the award during the 3rd SPIA Asia Awards Gala 2018 held in Bangkok, Thailand on Tuesday.

The SPIA Asia awards is held annually to celebrate the brands, agencies rights holders, marketers, venues and destination, and organizations which positively influence the sporting landscape in Asia.

Entry to the awards is free and the judging rigorous, with about 400 entries this year and a panel of more than 37 international experts who judged the entries to determine the gold, silver and bronze winners.

The awards included four local and 14 Asian award categories, three public voted categories, and one achievement category.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said Subic’s recognition in the SPIA Awards “again highlighted the attractiveness of Subic as a natural setting for sports competitions, and confirmed SBMA’s success in sustaining sports as a pillar of the local tourism industry.”

It can be recalled that Subic won the gold award for best destination in the SPIA Asia awards in 2017. This year, the gold award went to Melbourne, Australia while the silver went to Abu Dhabi of the United Arab Emirates.

Agregado said it was a “great achievement” for Subic to win awards in succession, considering the large number of entries vying for honors.

Other finalists this year in the Best Sports Tourism Destination category were: Amazing Thailand, Tourism Authority Thailand; Imagine Your Korea, Korea Tourism Organization; Mission Hills, China, Mission Hills Group; Vietnam - Timeless Charm, Vietnam National Administration of Tourism; Visit Malaysia, Malaysia Tourism Promotion Board; Wonderful Indonesia, Ministry of Tourism of the Republic of Indonesia; and Incredible India, Ministry of Tourism India. (MPD-SBMA)

PHOTO:
SBMA Senior Deputy Administrator Ramon Agregado (second, left) and SBMA tourism manager Jem Camba (center) receive the bronze award for “Best Sports Tourism Destination of the Year”

21 November 2018

SBMA chief wins silver ‘Stevie’ and Chicago service award

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma added two more feathers on her cap after accepting a citation during the 24th Chicago Filipino Asian American Hall of Fame Awards and winning a silver trophy in the 15th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business in New York City last week.

Eisma who arrived in Illinois, USA on November 9 for an investment and trade briefing at the Morgan Stanley Building in Chicago, received the Award in International Public Service at the Chicago Filipino Asian American Hall of Fame Awards on November 10.

The awards, which is a project of the Chicago Philippine Reports TV and VIA Times Newsmagazine of Chicago, honors high-achieving Filipinos and Filipino-Americans who promote the positive image of the Filipino, not only in the Philippines and the United States but also throughout the world.

Six days later in New York, Eisma received a silver award for “Female Executive of the Year” during the annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business under the category for government or non-profit organization with more than 2,500 employees.

Eisma also received in the same occasion a bronze Stevie for the SBMA for “Organization of the Year” under the category for government or non-profit with more than 10 employees.

The “Stevies,” which is considered as the business equivalent of the Oscars, is given annually by the American Business Awards organization to recognize accomplishments and contributions of companies and business people around the world.

The winners for the gold, silver and bronze Stevies were announced in the 15th annual awards dinner in New York City where more than 600 women and their guests from around the world attended the presentations that were broadcast live on Livestream.

More than 1,500 entries were submitted this year to Stevie organizers for consideration in more than 90 categories of the award that include Executive of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, Startup of the Year, Women Helping Women, and Women-Run Workplace of the Year.

Finalists in the Stevie Awards were selected by the average scores of more than 200 professionals worldwide on five specialized juries.

Eisma said the awards she and the SBMA received serve as recognition of the efforts of the SBMA and its employees to make the Subic Bay Freeport Zone a premier investment center and a catalyst of economic growth.

Last year, the SBMA executive was also adjudged a winner in the search for the “100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World” (Global FWN100), which recognizes women of Philippine ancestry who are influencing the face of leadership in the global workplace. (HEE/MPD-SBMA)

PHOTO:

[1] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma with the twin Stevies she received for herself and the SBMA in New York City.

18 November 2018

SBMA urges neighbors to join recycling effort

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) urges communities around the Subic Bay Freeport to participate in its recyclable collection project to minimize the release of wastes into the environment and help raise funds for resource conservation.

SBMA Senior Deputy Administrator for Operations Ramon Agregado said during the 5th Recyclables Collection Event (RCE) here Thursday that gathering recyclable wastes is the flipside of SBMA efforts to clean up the coastline and waters of Subic Bay, which is acknowledged as the lifeblood of both tourism and trade in the greater Subic Bay area.


“We should not only endeavor to make this recyclable collection event a periodic institutional activity, but we should strive to make it something bigger that will also encompass the neighboring localities of Olongapo, Zambales and Bataan,” Agregado said.

“This war on waste should not be an exclusive mandate for the SBMA. It should, instead, be a communal effort on the part of various stakeholders in the Subic area so that we can produce more significant results,” he added.

Agregado admitted that since attending the RCE last year, he began to collect recyclable plastics in preparation for this year’s event.

“If this activity affected me and encouraged me to collect recyclable trash, I hope others would also realize that we need to help save the environment in our own small way,” he added.

SBMA’s recyclables collection project is part of the agency’s bigger “War on Waste” program, which has recently included an anti-littering campaign and a ban on the use of single-use plastics in SBMA workplaces.

SBMA Ecology Center manager Ameth Dela Llana said the RCE was undertaken in partnership with Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and in cooperation with the Bureau of Customs, as well as various treatment, storage and disposal (TSD) facilities like VAG General Merchandising in Pampanga, Genetron International Marketing, Evergreen Environmental Resources, Inc., and Semi-Recycling Joechem in Bulacan.

During the event, SBMA also presented tokens of appreciation to 10 companies inside the Subic Freeport, which delivered the biggest volume of recyclable trash during the 4th RCE.

These are Hanjin Heavy Industries Company (Phils.), Subic Water and Sewerage Co., Nidec Subic, PTT Phils. Corp., Subic Track, Koryo Subic, SGS Subic Bay, Petron Freeport Corp., Subic Bay International Terminal Corp., and Jack Electronics Corporation.

The recyclables brought in by the participating firms, as well as by the community groups and households, are paid for by recyclers.

In some cases, the firms pay for the trash brought in for treatment and subsequent disposal.

Dela Llana said that the SBMA collection program generated proceeds amounting PHP137,000 last year. During the 3rd RCE in 2016, the proceeds reached PHP230,000.

She said the cash proceeds are turned over to the ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, which funds the “Bantay Kalikasan” organization that promotes healthy environment for children, and helps communities earn revenue from protecting and turning their natural environment to tourism destinations.

The 5th RCE was held at an open space near the Boardwalk Activity Center here, drawing business locators and residents from both the Subic Freeport and Olongapo City to bring in their solid, hazardous, and electronic wastes to either sell or donate.

Some volunteers also took the time to teach the public techniques in making decorations out of wastes like plastic bottles, straw and food wrappers. (Malou Dungog, PNA)

http://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1054164

16 November 2018

SBMA chief in Chicago trade mission, accepts int’l service and business awards

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma will conclude a weeklong business trip to Chicago this Friday not only with potential investment projects for the Subic Bay Freeport, but also with awards in international public service and business.

Eisma, who arrived in Illinois, USA on November 9 for an investment and trade briefing at the Morgan Stanley Building in Chicago, received the Award in International Public Service at the Chicago Filipino Asian American Hall of Fame Awards on November 10.


The award honors high-achieving Filipinos and Filipino-Americans who promote the positive image of the Filipino, not only in the Philippines and the United States but also throughout the world.

The awards project of the Chicago Philippine Reports TV and VIA Times Newsmagazine of Chicago had recognized the likes of former Ambassador Jose Cuisia, environmentalist Gina Lopez, former Ambassador Willy Gaa, and inventor and tech-innovator Dado Banatao.

Eisma is also set to receive citation on November 16 at the 15th annual Stevie Awards in New York, where the American Business Awards organization will recognize accomplishments and contributions of companies and business people worldwide.


The SBMA chief was named finalist for the Stevies in this year’s category for Female Executive of the Year in a government or non-profit organization, while the SBMA was listed as finalist for Organization of the Year award under the government or non-profit organization category.

SBMA port promotions manager Ronnie Yambao, who accompanied Eisma in the investment promotions mission, said that the SBMA group had been busy connecting with business and industry leaders, as well as Filipino community leaders in Chicago, in between the awards rites.

“After a courtesy call with Consul General Gina Jamoralin in Chicago on the first day of the visit, we attended the Investment and Trade Briefing at the Morgan Stanley Building with Commercial Consul Mel Lalunio,” Yambao related.

“In that briefing, Chairman Eisma talked to about 30 businessmen and venture capitalists for possible investments in renewable energy, manufacturing, logistics and supply chain, tourism, petroleum refining, construction solution and hydro power,” he added.

Among those that inquired about Subic were executives of Great Seas Holdings of Yorkville, Illinois; Dennis Wilmsmeyer, director of America’s Central Port, the center of the multi-modal freight transportation system in the United States; George Modrovic, CEO of Elfi LLC, a metal construction products manufacturer; and two US Marines veterans who will visit Subic with their group in February next year for a week of nostalgic tourism program.

Eisma said that a lot of American companies based in China are now looking into the distinct advantages of relocating in the Philippines. “With this, we want to take advantage of the situation to promote Subic as a competitive investment destination in the ASEAN region,” the SBMA chief said upon leaving Subic last week.

She added that because of the developing trade war between the United States and China, the Philippines is again becoming a favorite investment destination, not only because of its competitiveness but also with the advantages of the General System of Preferences and other free trade agreements.

“Now as the tide is turning, we have to seize the moment and make Subic stronger,” she said. (HEE/MPD-SBMA)

PHOTOS:

[1] SBMA Chairman & Administrator Wilma T. Eisma recieves the Award in International Public Service at the Chicago Filipino Asian American Hall of Fame Awards

[2] Executives of Great Seas Holdings inquire from SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma Eisma on how to put up oil refinery and petroleum depot in the Subic Bay Freeport.

15 November 2018

Subic Korean community reaches out with cultural show

The Korean community in this free port sought to foster closer relations with other residents in the Subic Bay area with a two-day cultural festival that stressed common musical and artistic traditions.

The event, dubbed as the Philippine-Korean Cultural Festival 2018 was held November 9 and 10 at the Harbor Point Ayala Mall here and showcased a bazaar, live performances, fashion show, cultural dances, and dancing and singing contests.


Easily the top crowd-drawer during the event was artist JinHo Bae, a South Korean pop singer who rose to fame after appearing on Philippine television on the show Mapuan Idol in 2014.

JinHo, who speaks Pilipino fluently, sang equally popular songs to the audience on the first night of the festival.

Other noted performances in the festival were from the Method Philharmonic Orchestra led by Youngchae Son, concert master Moon Sookyung, renowned singers Kim Eu Gene, Jung Jiyoung, Kim Sooah, Je Yeokyeong, and musical director Chun Gyoungho.


The Busan orchestra also played alongside the Gordon Heights High School rondalla ensemble from Olongapo city in an entertaining musical fusion.

Student-members from the local group played Filipino folk songs such as Leron Leron Sinta, Tinikling and Dandansoy, while cultural dancers performed folk dances.

Meanwhile, beautiful and colorful attires or Hanbok from South Korea by Korean fashion designer Yong Ae Kim highlighted the much-anticipated fashion show during the festival. Here, Korean models wowed the crowd with elaborate dresses designed for children to adults, and accessorized with colorful parasols.

The festival was also attended by some community leaders from Olongapo City, who hailed the event as a testament to the close ties between the Philippines and South Korea.

According to the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), South Koreans make up one of the biggest foreign groups in the Subic Bay Freeport today, as the South Korean ship builder Hanjin remains the biggest investor and employer in Subic as well. (JRR/MPD-SBMA)

PHOTOS:
[1-4] Korean artists perform, in some instances with a rondalla ensemble from Olongapo City, during the Philippine-Korean Cultural Festival 2018 on November 9 and 10 at the Subic Bay Freeport’s Harbor Point Mall. (MPD-SBMA)

13 November 2018

SBMA creates anti-littering task force

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) created an anti-littering task force to effectively implement its no-littering policy and set fines to discourage violations.

SBMA chairman and administrator Wilma T. Eisma said that the agency has started enforcing a policy that prohibits dumping or throwing of garbage, rubbish or any kind of waste in parks, roads, beach, forests, rivers, streams or on any open or public place inside the Freeport.


It is also illegal under the policy for anybody to urinate, defecate, dispose of cigarette butts, or spit in public places.

To ensure effective implementation of the no-littering policy, Eisma issued an order creating the SBMA Anti-Littering Task Force manned by marshals from the SBMA Ecology Center, Law Enforcement Department, Maintenance and Transportation Department, and Tourism Department.

She said these personnel are deputized to apprehend violators and recommend issuance of Notice of Violation (NoV) to any Subic Bay Freeport Zone establishment caught violating the policy.

She also said the agency has imposed a fine of PHP1,500 and four hours of community service for individual offenders and pet handlers found violating the policy.

The same fine of PHP1,500 and four hours of community service will be imposed for Subic Bay Freeport residents for littering, or improper or untimely stacking of garbage outside their residences.

Meanwhile, stiffer penalty will be given to violators among business establishments in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone: PHP50,000 per day of violation for each count of littering, improper or untimely stacking of garbage outside the establishment, and for garbage with leaking foul odor.

Eisma urged the public to help in enforcement and report incidents of littering, including the license plate number of violators, to the Law Enforcement Department at 911 (landline) or 9111 (mobile) or to the “No Kalat” hotline at 09176852528.

The no-littering policy took off from SBMA’s war on waste (WOW) program, as well as the agency’s thrust to enhance public awareness on environmental "malasakit" (concern).

Last month, the SBMA banned single-use plastic like stirrers, forks and spoons, straws, cups, and take-out food bags inside SBMA workplaces.

The SBMA advised canteens, stores and other food establishments here to use alternative food packaging.

“We should show good example and walk the talk,” Eisma said as she encouraged SBMA employees and Freeport companies to join the “straw-less” drive, ban on single-use plastics, and the agency’s recyclables collection program. (Ruben Veloria, PNA)


31 October 2018

‘Fright night’ sells in Subic Bay Freeport

All Hallow’s Eve or Halloween, a tradition widely believed to have originated from the Gaelic pagan festival Samhain, may have conjured images of ghosts, witches, and wandering spirits, but what started out as a scary commemoration is now as festive as every other modern celebration.

In the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, the practice is as commercial as it can get. Hotels, restaurants, bistros, shopping malls, business offices, as well as residential areas are all dressed up in pumpkins, cobwebs and bats, and flying broomsticks. And almost everybody is preparing for some themed Halloween party.


Business establishments such as the Segara Hotel and the Lighthouse Marina Resort are holding their own family-oriented Halloween party, and also encouraging visitors here to stay overnight for the special Halloween entertainment treat.

Liberty Sports Bar, a more mature-oriented establishment, even has a costume contest that is open to the public, with goodies and cash prizes to be given to winners.

With these kinds of parties expected to be held in most parts of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, it’s no wonder that Royal Duty Free Store, SM City Olongapo, and Harbor Point Ayala Mall are displaying Halloween merchandise to make each child (and parent) keep up with the Halloween crowd.

What parent would allow his child to dress down and be left out in a Halloween party? Fortunately, toy shops are selling faux bloody murder weapons, masks, and full-body costumes for little fairies, and witches, and skeleton ghosts.


Of course, stores have also stocked up on candies, chocolates, and ghoulish cupcakes, cookies and other food that visiting trick-or-treaters would later expect each time they knocked on doors.

Meanwhile, the residential areas of Kalayaan and Binictican here have transformed into virtual Halloween Land adorned in spooky decorations. One could find here various versions of lawn cemeteries, decapitated dolls hanging from trees, ghouls popping out of the bushes, chairs that rock by themselves, SUVs that look like the Ghostbusters’ Ecto 1, and other creepy offerings.

In the past few years, these areas in Subic have been swamped during Halloween with children attired as fairies, witches, zombies, vampires, mummies, or superheroes that the SBMA police had to close down some inner roads to vehicular traffic.

While the neighborhood associations have not announced any Halloween party this year, a fair number of neighborhood children are expected to go trick-or-treating.

Residents said some houses here actually vie for the coveted title of the “scariest residence” in the community. And some of them, of course, look forward to winning the “scariest costume” during private Halloween parties among friends.

Yes, despite the fun and festive air, scary still sells in Subic. (JRR/MPD-SBMA)

PHOTOS:

Costumed ghosts and other monsters join the Halloween celebration in the Subic Bay Freeport (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

26 October 2018

Subic BoC to implement ‘zero contact’ policy by Nov. 5

The Bureau of Customs will soon implement a “zero contact” policy in business transactions at the Port of Subic under the Enhanced Goods Declaration Verification System, or 1-Assessment System, which is designed to curtail corruption in processing cargoes and thus increase revenue collection for the government.

This was bared by Deputy Commissioner Jeffrey Ian Dy of the Management and Information Technology Group of the Bureau of Customs (BoC) during a dialogue with business locators, brokers and representatives of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) here.

The 1-Assessment project will start here on November 5, with Subic as one of the pilot ports in the country, while the program will be fully implemented nationwide starting the first week of January 2019, Dy added.

Under the new system, the broker or the shipper will be prohibited from visiting or talking to the BoC examiner or appraiser or any personnel of the BoC while the documents of the cargo are still being processed. Otherwise, a stiff penalty will be imposed upon the violating party, Dy added.

Meanwhile, brokers and BoC officials should only communicate through the 1-Assessment portal where all their messages regarding a particular cargo can be read by the BoC Commissioner or his authorized officers.

Dy explained that 1-Assessment is a web-based queue management software/application that provides bias-free assessment by randomly assigning appraisers and examiners to goods entering the Port of Subic from foreign countries.

Among the main objectives of the 1-Assessment program is to prevent corruption by institutionalizing the “Zero Contact Policy” in transacting business with the BoC. This is designed to suppress the “suki system” in the cargo clearance process with the random assignment of examiners and appraisers to a given goods declaration.

Dy stressed that the good news about 1-Assessment is the transparency in the processing of goods declaration using a first-in-first-out basis, where the assignment of examiners or appraisers is done automatically by computers without human intervention, except by the Assessment Chief in case the assigned examiner or appraiser reached is not yet available.

SBMA Deputy Administrator for Ports Marketing Ronnie Yambao welcomed the implementation of the new system, saying it will enhance the agency’s thrust to make business in Subic transparent and efficient.

“The 1-Assessment is a program of the national government that supports the vision of SBMA to provide efficient services to all of Subic locators, especially port users,” Yambao said during the forum.

He added that the implementation of 1-Assessment program will help prevent corrupt practices and attract more shippers to transfer to Subic port.

“This is a one-time big-time opportunity to change the culture and custom inside the BoC,” Dy concluded his presentation.

He said that BoC Commissioner Isidro Lapeña’s marching order for all BoC personnel was to eradicate corruption in the Bureau. (MPD-SBMA)

PHOTO:

Some of the piers and wharves at the Port of Subic