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

13 February 2019

186 applicants hired on-the-spot in Subic job fair

A total of 186 applicants were hired on the spot during the Build, Build, Build= Jobs, Jobs, Jobs Caravan held in Subic Bay Freeport on Saturday, February 9, to help provide alternative employment to workers who were laid off recently at the Hanjin shipyard.

The Build, Build, Build team of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Transportation (DOTr,) and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) organized the job fair in partnership with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and other agencies.

Around 25,000 jobs were opened to displaced Hanjin workers, as well as walk-in applicants, by 103 participating firms, mostly locators in the Subic Bay Freeport and contractors of government projects.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma thanked the organizers and participating firms during the fair and cited the collaboration between public and private sectors in maintaining a strong workforce to sustain the economic growth of the Central Luzon region.

“We acknowledge the efforts of the government through the BBB Team to come up with an immediate program to address the plight of displaced Hanjin workers,” Eisma said.

“This is only the second Jobs, Jobs, Jobs caravan of President Duterte, and Subic was chosen to be the venue. With all your support, industries here in the Subic Bay Freeport will continue to flourish,” Eisma added.

Villar said President Duterte ordered the conduct of a jobs caravan upon hearing about the problem facing Hanjin workers. “Ang pangarap n’ya sa Pilipinas ay lahat po ng ating kababayan ay magkakaroon ng trabaho, kaya po may Build Build Build program tayo,” he added.

The inter-agency project was held with the cooperation of the DOLE, Department of Finance, Department of Budget and Management, Department of Trade and Industry, National Economic and Development Authority, and Clark Development Corporation.

The jobs fair was also graced by Senator Richard Gordon, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, BCDA President Vince Dizon, and Zambales First District Rep. Jeffrey Khonghun.

The day-long jobs caravan held at the SBMA Gymnasium drew out 4,051 job applicants, said Rommel Aquino, manager of the SBMA Labor Department’s Manpower Services Division. These included 2,464 former Hanjin shipyard workers who comprised 60.8% of the registered participants.

Meanwhile, out of the 186 applicants hired on the spot (HOTS), 99 were former Hanjin workers. The HOTS were hired as welders, electricians, masons, fitters, engineers, drivers, painters, scaffolders, riggers, admin assistants, clerks, and sales and marketing staff, among others.

Aquino added that applicants who lacked some requirements like trade test certificate and medical certificate may be accepted upon submission of the needed documents.

During the fair, Chairman Eisma also stressed that the SBMA has never failed to fulfil its mandate of generating employment and that it has done so by regularly organizing job fairs every year.

Despite the current financial difficulties hounding Hanjin, Eisma said she is still hopeful that Subic Freeport businesses and industries will continue to flourish, provide jobs to residents, and help in the economic growth of nearby communities.

The Subic jobs caravan was the second leg of the Build, Build, Build=Jobs, Jobs, Jobs project. The first was held in Manila while the third and fourth will be in Cebu and Davao, respectively. (RFD/MPD-SBMA)


[1-2] Job applicants submit requirements to recruiters from various companies that participated in the Build, Build, Build=Jobs, Jobs, Jobs Caravan held in the Subic Bay Freeport on February 9. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

[3] Build, Build, Build=Jobs, Jobs, Jobs Caravan organizers and guests do a “Duterte fist” during the jobs fair held at the SBMA Gym, from left: Trade Undersecretary Rowel Barba, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, Senator Richard Gordon, SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma Eisma, Public Works Secretary Mark Villar, and Zambales 1st District Rep. Jeffrey Khonghun. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

11 February 2019

SBMA turns over P4.9-M community facilities to Subic Ayta tribe

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) recently turned over community facilities worth P4.9 million to the Pastolan Ayta tribe here as part of the agency’s commitment to promote the welfare of the indigenous community in this free port.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma formally handed over the donations consisting of a schoolhouse and a healthcare clinic to officials of the Ambala Ayta Tribe of Pastolan, whose ancestral lands form part of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

Eisma said the donated infrastructures are part of the agency’s commitment under a Joint Management Agreement signed by the SBMA, the Ayta tribe, and the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) that provides compensation for the use of part of the Ayta ancestral domain.

The health clinic is expected to serve the 330 families living in the Ayta village, while the school building will be used by students in Grades 4 to 6.

“I will do everything I can to give what is rightfully yours under the agreement,” Eisma told the Ayta community led by Chieftain Conrado Frenilla during the turnover. “There may be times when I cannot grant other favors that you ask, but I assure you that if it’s within my power, I would,” she added.

Former Hermosa, Bataan town mayor Gaudencio Ferrer, who was present in the turnover, lauded the efforts of the SBMA in providing facilities to Ayta residents, whose village falls under the political jurisdiction of Hermosa.

“Madam Chairman, thank you for giving us this wonderful school building,” Ferrer said. “It is not just a simple school that was given to you,” he told the residents, “but you received the most beautiful classroom in Bataan.”

According to Armie Llamas, manager of the SBMA Public Relations Department, barangay health workers will man the clinic, but the SBMA will also provide a medical doctor to regularly see patients at the clinic. Consultations with the doctor will be held during Saturdays, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, Llamas added.

Meanwhile, school principal Jake Bautista said the new school building will be converted into rooms for Mathematics and Science classes, aside from serving as additional classrooms for pupils in Grades 4 to 6 who shared just one room previously.

Teachers added that the new school building will be more conducive to learning, and hence would encourage more local children to go to school. (CMC/MPD-SBMA))


[1] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma, along with former Hermosa Mayor Gaudencio Ferrer and Pastolan Chieftain Conrado Frenilla, formally opens the health clinic donated by the SBMA to the Pastolan Ayta tribe. (MPD-SBMA)

[2] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma turns over the symbolic key to the Pastolan health clinic to Ayta elder Bonifacio Florentino. (MPD-SBMA)

06 February 2019

Foreign shipbuilders eye Hanjin takeover

MANILA - Shipbuilders from the United States, Japan, South Korean, Indonesia, Australia and Turkey have expressed interest in taking over the operations of cash-strapped Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines (HHIC-Phil), Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Monday.

Lorenzana was reacting to a question regarding the government's plans on HHIC-Philippines during the National Defense College of the Philippines Alumni Forum, "The National Security Outlook for the Philippines in 2019", at the NDCP Compound, Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

"There are several shipyards, ship companies around the world, (which have expressed interest in taking over HHIC-Phil's operations), some US, Japanese, (South) Korean, Indonesian and also Australian, I think lately, I also heard some Turkish or some European shipyards are already interested," Lorenzana said.

But if worse comes to worse, Lorenzana said the government could take over as the Senate has already set aside some money for such eventualities.

"Hanjin shipyard (has) not actually filed for bankruptcy it is just asking for rehabilitation, because the problem is cash flow. It is still building some ships here in the Philippines but it needs money to keep operating (on a) day-to-day basis so it’s still being in the works," he said.

HHIC-Phil earlier revealed that it has a total of USD1.3 billion outstanding loans -- USD400 million from Philippine banks and USD900 million from South Korean lenders.

According to Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, HHIC-Phil filed on January 8 a petition at the Regional Trial Court in Olongapo City "to initiate voluntary rehabilitation under Republic Act 10142, otherwise known as An Act Providing for the Rehabilitation or Liquidation of Financially Distressed Enterprises and Individuals".

The shipbuilder also sought help from the government to find investors that can take over the operation of its shipyard in Subic, as well as to help its employees, who have taken the brunt of the company's financial woes.

In December 2018, the company laid off more than 7,000 workers. (PNA)


Large carrier ships being built at Hanjin shipyard in Subic Bay Freeport.

04 February 2019

‘Build Build Build’ team sets Subic job fair for displaced Hanjin workers

The “Build Build Build” team composed of various government agencies will gather around 70 employers from different contractors involved in the government’s infrastructure program, and companies within the Subic Bay Freeport Zone for a Jobs Caravan on February 9, Saturday.

To be held at the SBMA Gym in the Subic Bay Freeport, the Build Build Build = Jobs Jobs Jobs Caravan was initiated to provide employment to the displaced workers of Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction (HHIC) Philippines.

Wilma Eisma, chairperson and administrator of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), said the Authority is committed to find jobs for the displaced Hanjin workers.

“Subic is happy to be part of this project to bring greater positive social impact to our people. We are committed to find every opportunity for the SBMA to make more jobs available and catalyse greater growth in Central Luzon and the rest of the country,” Eisma said.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III assured that there will be no job-skill mismatch after DOLE conducted a profiling activity on 2,779 Hanjin workers.

“Around 65 percent or 1,801 of the 2,779 profiled Hanjin workers are skilled in carpentry, 24 percent or 661 on the other hand have skills in vulcanizing and welding, hence there will be no problem with job-skill mismatch if they work in the construction industry,” Bello said.

“We are bringing job opportunities closer to the people. The available jobs guarantee decent domestic employment for our highly skilled workers. They need not sacrifice being away to provide for their families because local productive work abounds,” Bello added.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, for his part, urged jobseekers to explore employment opportunities in nearby Clark.

“We believe there are enough jobs available at Clark Ecozone alone for the displaced workers of Hanjin Philippines. According to the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), a lot of jobs for skilled workers are needed at Clark as it shifts to high gear its program to transform New Clark City into the country’s first smart and green metropolis,” Dominguez said.

The Jobs Caravan is spearheaded by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Transportation (DOTr), Department of Finance (DOF), Department of Budget and Management (DBM), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), BCDA, SBMA, and the Clark Development Corporation.

“This is an opportunity for us to aid those who lost or will lose their jobs in Hanjin, and at the same time complement the manpower requirement of the BBB program of the government,” said DPWH Secretary Mark Villar, noting the need for additional labor force to match the yearly additional budget in infrastructure projects.

“The Build, Build, Build program remains a priority of President Rodrigo Duterte’s government. This program, which is expected to generate thousands, even millions of jobs nationwide will be able to provide options for our displaced workers,” said Villar.

According to DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, at least a thousand jobs will be available at the Caravan which include vacancies for construction workers, welders, carpenters, engineers, and administrative staff.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez noted that opportunities in the country are booming.

"Tuloy po ang paghandog ng oportunidad, at paggaling ng abilidad, para lahat ay umunlad," Lopez said.

Jobseekers may already pre-register for the Job Caravan at the SBMA Gym. Pre-registration will be open on January 30 to 31, February 4, and February 6 to 7 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (HEE/MPD-SBMA)


Former Hanjin workers pre-register with the SBMA Labor Department for a jobs fair on February 8 at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

31 January 2019

SBMA chief cites ‘corps of heroes’

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma congratulated on Friday the finalists and winner of the agency’s 2018 Employee of the Year (EOY award, saying it was her pride to lead a “corps of heroes” in the Subic agency.

“There’s no better way to celebrate heroism than by getting together and cheering them on, and making sure they are appreciated,” Eisma said during the awarding rites.

“They are here right now being feted because it is also a celebration of each and every one of us. We are the corps of heroes. You are the corps of heroes of the SBMA,” she added.

The SBMA chief also praised the agency’s employees for giving more than what they can give without expecting anything in return.

“That’s what makes me so proud to lead this organization. Because we have employees who exemplify what malasakit is, who exemplify integrity, character, passion, and love in every day that they come in for work,” Eisma also said.

The awarding, which took place at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center (SBECC) on Jan. 25, named Nida Linda C. Rojo as the agency’s 2018 EOY.

Rojo was nominated for excellence in supervising the tourism linkages and VIP services unit of the SBMA Tourism Department, and for delivering results above expectations.

Tourism manager Mary Jamelle Camba added that Rojo adapts well in both office and field activities, a trait that was key to representing Subic Bay in travel fairs and expositions locally and internationally.

Aside from Rojo, who was also awarded EOY of the Chairman and Administrator’s Group, five other finalists were named EOYs of their respective strategic business units (SBUs).

They are: Karren Balajadia of the Land Asset Development Department (LADD), who was named EOY of the Business and Investment Group; Christine Joy Robrico of Trade Facilitation and Compliance Department, EOY of the Operations Group; Alexander Canlas of Law Enforcement Department, EOY of the Public Services Group; Helen Castillones of the Ecology Center, EOY of the Regulatory Group; Ronald Rondez of Labor Department, EOY of the Support Services Group.

The winners were cited for their excellent performance beyond the call of duty and for various innovations in the workplace.

The SBMA Employee of the Year Awards is a project of the SBMA Human Resources Management Department to recognize and reward exemplary services rendered by employees in line with the Program on Awards and Incentives for Service Excellence (PRAISE) of the Civil Service Commission (CSC).

The finalists were selected according to the following criteria: industriousness and productivity, 50 percent; quality customer service, 30 percent; and malasakit and honesty, 20 percent.

Chairman Eisma said that some of the winners of the SBMA EOY awards had gone on to win Pagasa awards, the Civil Service Commission’s honor awards program for outstanding government workers. (RFD/MPD-SBMA)


[1] SBMA 2018 Employee of the Year Nida Linda C. Rojo accepts the torch passed onto her by the previous EOY (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

[] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma (4th from left) congratulates SBMA 2018 Employee of the Year Nida Linda C. Rojo, along with (L-R) SBMA Senior Deputy Administrator (SDA) for Support Services Ramon Agregado, CSC-Zambales Dir. Jose Gea, SBMA tourism manager Jamelle Camba, SBMA Dir. Ma. Cecilia Bitare, SDA for Regulatory Amethya dela Llana, and SDA for Business and Investment Renato Lee. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

26 January 2019

Japanese firm launches new line of robotic parts in Subic Freeport

Nidec-Shimpo Corporation (Japan), a leading innovator of precision-gearing solutions for robotics and industrial automation, formally launched its operations here on Wednesday, aiming to mass produce in its Subic factory a new line of robot components developed in Japan.

Nidec-Shimpo First Senior Vice President Hitoshi Inoue said the wholly-owned company of Japan’s Nidec Corp. and sister-company of Nidec Subic Philippine Corp. will initially build speed reducers for high-precision motion control applications at the rate of 10,000 to 25,000 units per month.

But the plant’s target production is expected to increase to 100,000 units per month at the end of this year, and to 120,000 units per month by March 2020, he added.

Inoue stressed that the gearless component parts to be produced in Subic are an entirely new product line that has not been manufactured elsewhere in the world. He described them as “super silent, and with zero backlash and smooth rotation.”

The Subic-made products will be exported to Spain, the United States and Germany, he added.

The launch of Nidec-Shimpo operations here was attended by Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda, Senator Richard Gordon, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma, and Assistant Secretary Rafaelita Aldaba of the Department of Trade and Industry.

Haneda said Nidec’s expansion “demonstrates the continuing Japanese investor confidence in the Philippines’ business potential (and) shows the rigorous effort of Nidec to take advantage of opportunities and take on challenges to break new ground.”

He also cited the company for its skills development activities that make its workers “industry-ready and technology-capable.”

Meanwhile, Gordon said Nidec’s new project “shows the trust and confidence of companies like Nidec in the capacity of the Filipino workers, and in our government’s consistency in our rules and regulations.”

“We should have more companies like Nidec in Subic,” he added.

On the other hand, SBMA Chairman Eisma noted that Nidec-Shimpo’s operation here “will further promote Subic’s stature in high-end manufacturing, improve the proficiency of local workers in technology, and, of course, bolster the local economy by increasing exports.”

Eisma also praised Nidec-Shimpo for sending local workers to Japan for training.

According to Inoue, the firm had sent a total of 100 Filipino workers to Japan as the first batch of trainees to learn the technology involved in producing precision motors and speed reducers. Of these, 70 had finished the course, and Nidec had again sent another 46 trainees for the second batch.

Inoue added that Nidec intends to hire more personnel at the Subic plant on top of the 100 workers it will employ in the first year of operation.

He pointed out that the Subic factory’s monthly product capacity of P120,000 units is greater than the combined capacity of Nidec’s plants in Kyoto, which was at 30,000 units in 2018, and in Ueda, which is expected to reach 50,000 units in 2019. (HEE/MPD-SBMA)


[1] Nidec-Shimpo Senior Vice President Hitoshi Inoue (left) explains how a high-precision speed reducer works to Sen. Richard Gordon and SBMA Chairman Wilma T. Eisma during the opening of the Nidec-Shimpo manufacturing plant at the Subic Bay Freeport on Wednesday. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

[2] Sen. Richard Gordon, along with SBMA Chairman Wilma T. Eisma and other guests, views precision products manufactured by Nidec-Shimpo during the opening of the company’s manufacturing plant at the Subic Bay Freeport on Wednesday. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

23 January 2019

ICTSI Subic hits 200,000-TEU target

International Container Terminal Services, Inc. (ICTSI)’s subsidiary Subic Bay International Terminal Corp. (SBITC) has expected that container volume will further grow this year, after hitting its milestone 200,000th twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) move last December.

SBITC President Roberto Locsin said SBITC, which operates the New Container Terminals 1 and 2 at the Subic Bay Freeport, capped 2018 with a milestone after reaching its 200,000th TEU move last December 23.

“We are proud of reaching this latest milestone. More than hitting our targets, this new record highlights Subic Bay International Terminal’s capability to continuously outpace market growth, and readiness to serve the vibrant Subic Freeport market,” he said.

The event was marked by the offloading of a milestone CMA CGM steel box from MV Sinar Sangir.

He said this achievement was made possible through their customers, the collaboration of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and other stakeholders, and more especially through their passionate, humble and committed workforce.

“Along with further investments in port equipment and systems, we continue to work hand-in-hand with our customers to improve the efficiency of our operations and processes, and inevitably make their experience a more pleasant one,” he added.

Subic Bay International Terminal, one of the country’s most technologically-advanced box terminals, has an annual capacity of 600,000 TEUs.

The increasing volumes at the Subic Bay Freeport have enabled ICTSI to streamline and interface the operations of New Container Terminal (NCT) 1 and 2.

The merged operations were ready to serve an improving local economy in Central and Northern Luzon regions, alongside with its continued support to facilitate the box market of Metro Manila.

In 2007, under the Subic Port Development Project, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) awarded ICTSI subsidiary SBITC the concession for NCT 1, with commercial operations commencing in 2008.

In 2011, under the Subic Port Project’s second phase, SBMA awarded ICTSI Subic Inc. the concession to operate NCT 2. (Manila Times)


The event was marked by the offloading of a milestone CMA CGM steel box from MV Sinar Sangir. (photo from ICTSI)

Read more -->

21 January 2019

Cruise ship tourism in Subic makes good start

This Freeport is becoming the newest cruise ship destination and top anchor tourist attraction in the country with the influx of vessels here this month.

The latest is the cruise ship, World Dream, the flagship of the Chinese premium brand Dream Cruises owned by Genting Hong Kong, which arrived here Wednesday.

This is the third time for World Dream to dock in this freeport this year and it is set to return here on January 30.

Another Subic regular, the Italian-flagged Costa Atlantica owned by Costa Crociere, has booked arrivals on January 15 and 29.

“Right now we’re experiencing a phenomenal influx of cruise ships, and this is really a strong start for Subic, which recorded 17 arrivals last year,” said Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman and administrator Wilma T. Eisma, who was among those who welcomed World Dream at the Alava Wharf here.

“We are very happy that our cruise ship program is really picking up, and this is just the start. By next month, we hope to see more cruise ships coming in and some of them would be staying here in Subic overnight,” she added.

Jem Camba, manager of SBMA Tourism Department, said an average of 3,000 tourists disembark in Subic from each visiting cruise ship and then go on tours of various attractions in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Olongapo City, Clark Freeport Zone, and the nearby provinces of Zambales and Bataan.

Camba said the favorite destinations of cruise ship passengers include the nature theme parks in Subic and historical places in Bataan and Pampanga.

Last year, the Central Luzon Regional Development Council cited the SBMA for developing Subic into a premier cruise ship destination in the country and noted that cruise ship arrivals in Subic had generated more than PHP85-million worth of economic activity in the first eight months alone.

Eisma said she expects a better record this year because of Executive Order (EO) No. 72 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last December. The new EO amended EO 271 signed in 1995.

Calling it a “game-changer for Subic and Region 3 (Central Luzon),” Eisma said EO 72 is expected to bring in more visitors because it eased the entry of foreign nationals via the Subic sea ports and extended them a visa-free stay of 14 days, similar to those entering through the Subic airport.

“This arrangement is less complicated, and thus, we foresee that the resulting ease of travel would make Subic Bay an even bigger tourist magnet and anchor destination in Central Luzon,” she added.

Eisma also said the new measure would encourage the development of more tourism establishments in nearby parts of Central Luzon, which could make use of Subic as anchor destination and gateway.

“The EO, as well as all the support measures we get from the national government, dovetails with our strategy to develop Subic into an anchor destination that will help catalyze inclusive growth in the region,” she said.

“Subic and its neighboring areas are now coming up with curated experiences that they can commonly sell to tourists, specifically cruise ship passengers, so this way they can complement each other’s’ strong points,” Eisma added. (Malou Dungog, PNA)


The cruise ship World Dream treated its well-wishers with its signature light show for the third time as it leaves the Port of Subic. (photo from Subic Bay Freeport facebook page)

RTC grants Hanjin petition for rehabilitation

The Olongapo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 72 on Monday (January 14) granted Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction-Philippines’ petition for receivership and put the Korean shipbuilding firm under corporate rehabilitation.

On Jan. 8, Hanjin sought relief from the Philippine government, filing a petition with the Olongapo RTC to initiate voluntary rehabilitation under Republic Act 10142 or the “Act Providing for the Rehabilitation or Liquidation of Financially Distressed Enterprises and Individuals.”

Hanjin, the fifth largest shipbuilder in the world and biggest investor at the Subic Freeport with $2.3 billion, revealed recently it owes some $400 million in outstanding loans from Philippine banks on top of another $900 million in debt with lenders in South Korea.

Stefani Saño, a former member of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) board as well former senior deputy administrator for investment and business group of SBMA, was appointed by the court as the rehabilitation receiver.

The financial losses allegedly stemmed from a slump in the shipbuilding industry.

Pursuant to RA 10142, Olongapo RTC Branch 72 Presiding Judge Richard Paradeza declared Hanjin under rehabilitation and asked the company to publish the Jan. 14 commencement order in a newspaper of general circulation for two consecutive weeks.

It also ordered the shipbuilding giant to serve a copy of the petition to its creditors – the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Securities and Exchange Commission, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Insurance Commission, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, Department of Trade and Industry and SBMA.

The court also tasked the company to serve a copy of the commencement order to its foreign creditors and ensure that they receive a copy within 15 days before the initial hearing set on Feb. 8.

In its order, the court said Hanjin’s creditors must file verified claims within five days before Feb. 8 or they will not be entitled to participate in the proceedings.

But the creditors may be entitled to receive distributions arising from the proceedings if recommended and approved by the rehabilitation receiver and the court itself.

The court also ordered creditors, government agencies and all interested parties to file and serve to Hanjin a verified comment/opposition to the petition, together with their supporting affidavits and documents within 15 days before the initial hearing on Feb. 8.

The court also prohibited the company’s supplier of goods and services from withholding their supplies and services in the ordinary course of business for as long as Hanjin makes payment from the issuance of the commencement order.

The court also authorized the company to pay for its administrative expenses as they become due.

It said contracts not confirmed in writing by Hanjin within 90 days following issuance of the commencement order will be considered terminated. (Bebot Sison Jr. with Sheila Crisostomo, Philippine Star)

18 January 2019

Top corporate performers in Subic named

Twelve companies in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone received the 2018 Mabuhay Awards from the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) for being the top performers last year.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the SBMA keeps tab of the performance of Subic companies and recognizes the best performers through the SBMA Mabuhay Awards.

In the ceremony, Eisma urged locators to continue to enshrine transparency and compliance in their operation “because it is only with transparency and compliance that we can ensure a stable and predictable environment for the country, and for the Freeport.”

The Subic business locators that received the citation were:

- Toyota Subic, Inc., which received the “New Business of the Year” award for demonstrating remarkable results in customer service, marketing, and competitive positioning since its opening here on Nov. 8, 2018;

- HHIC-Phil Inc., was cited as “Top Importer of 2017” and “Top Exporter of 2017” for attaining the biggest import value of US$388 million and export value of US$1.25 billion;

- Subic Duty Free Shops, Inc., which runs and operates Meatplus Café, received the “Responsible Tourism Award” for creating positive business impact and significant economic, environmental and social benefits as one of the most popular food outlets inside SBFZ with a consistent strong following from local and international tourists;

- Philippine Coastal Storage & Pipeline Corporation (PCSPC), was “Top Net Income Earner of 2017”. PCSPC operates the petroleum storage and pipeline facilities at the former US military bases in Subic and Clark, and its 160-hectare facility here includes a marine terminal, fuel storage tank farms and tank truck loading facilities;

- Brighterday Subic Ltd., Inc. which manages and operates All Hands Beach, was given the “Eco-Innovation Award” for its efforts in biodiversity conservation, particularly in monitoring and releasing more than 4,000 sea turtles to their natural habitats since 2011;

- S-CORP Philippines, Inc., which offers end-to-end transaction processing services, intricately linked enterprise information management systems, and personalized multi-channel communications solutions for over 3,500 clients in distinct industry verticals across the globe, received the “SME Employment Award” for its non-discriminatory hiring system and generation of remarkable number of jobs for local and indigenous people;

- Allied Care Experts (ACE) Medical Center – Baypointe, Inc., which operates a tertiary medical tourism facility, received the “Health and Wellness Business of the Year” award, for its Biggest Loser Program that drew 181 participants, and for regular Zumba classes conducted at its auditorium and view deck;

- Converge ICT Solutions, Inc., was the “Service Business of the Year for Information and Communication Technology Industry” for offering the country’s only Pure End-to-End Fiber Network and its advocacy to upgrade the Filipino web experience;

- Subic Enerzone Corp., an Aboitiz Power Corporation, Inc. company, was “Service Business of the Year for General Business and Investment Industry” for its commitment to deliver, at most reasonable cost, safe and reliable electric service to the people and businesses they serve;

- International Container Terminal Services, Inc. was “Service Business of the Year for Logistics” for serving the growing economy of the northern regions of the Philippines through world-class container handling services at the Subic Bay Freeport;

- One Subic Power Generation Corp., a subsidiary of PHINMA Energy Corporation, meanwhile, received the “Corporate Social Responsibility Award” for its Cawag Reforestation Project whereby around 3,000 coffee seedlings were planted by mobilizing both upland farmers and employee volunteers; and

- Subic Superfood Inc., which produces the Mt. Mayon Premium Pili Nuts, received the “Special Recognition Award” for its exemplary dedication and passion in turning its locally-sourced main raw material into a quality product that has brought pride and honor to the Subic Bay Freeport and the Philippines for being recognized in various prestigious and international awards. (RFD/MPD-SBMA)


SBMA chief Wilma T. Eisma (center) and other SBMA officials congratulate winners of the 2018 Mabuhay Awards, which recognized top business performers in the Subic Bay Freeport (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

12 January 2019

SBMA ‘saddened’ by Hanjin debt problem

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Wilma T. Eisma said she was saddened to learn that Korean shipbuilder Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Philippines (HHIC-Phil) is facing serious financial trouble.

Hanjin, which is currently the biggest foreign investor in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, filed on Tuesday a petition at the Regional Trial Court in Olongapo City to initiate voluntary rehabilitation under Republic Act 10142, otherwise known as “An Act Providing for the Rehabilitation or Liquidation of Financially Distressed Enterprises and Individuals”.

Hanjin officials, Eisma said, had revealed that the company owes some $400 million in outstanding loans from Philippine banks on top of another $900 million in debts with lenders in South Korea.

Eisma said she was informed that the company still has six pending multi-million new building projects at its Redondo Peninsula shipyard here, and that these may have to be cancelled if a rehabilitation plan does not materialize.

“The bottom line is that the company said it does not have enough cash to repay its loans, and that it cannot continue with its operations under these circumstances,” Eisma said.

“It’s really sad that Hanjin would be in dire financial straits after successfully building some of the world’s biggest ships here and putting the Philippines in the map as the world’s fifth largest shipbuilder,” she added.

HHIC-Phil, which has focused in building high-value vessels, was established in 2006 as a subsidiary of Hanjin Heavy Industries & Construction Co., Ltd., a multi-national company that provides shipbuilding, construction, and plant services in South Korea and internationally.

After frenzied construction of its 300-hectare shipyard began in May 2006, HHIC-Phil rolled out its first ship, the “Argolikos” in July 2008.

With some $2.3 billion in foreign direct investments here, the firm proceeded to manufacture some of the world’s biggest cargo and container ships, bulk carriers, liquefied petroleum gas carriers, very large crude oil carriers (VLCC) and very large ore carriers (VLOC).

According to company records, Hanjin has delivered since 2008 a total of 123 vessels to valued clients across the globe, thus cementing its foothold in the highly competitive shipbuilding market.

In the course of its operation, the Korean firm also became the biggest employer among all registered businesses in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone with some 30,000 employees at peak season, and was recognized by both the Philippine Exporter Foundation (Philexport) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) as top export performer.

However, in the face of recent liquidity problem, Hanjin has laid off more than 7,000 workers last December, Eisma said. The firm is about to lay off another 3,000 early this year until just about 300 local workers and as few as seven Korean supervisors would remain in March to do facility maintenance, she added.

“The SBMA, of course, expressed its concern about the separation of shipyard workers, but we received assurances that those who were laid off were amply compensated. Still, we’re having this aspect checked out,” Eisma said.

She added that the SBMA is now working with Hanjin officials to find some way to keep the shipbuilder, which has helped build Subic’s huge reputation in the global maritime industry.

“I really hope that Hanin’s creditors would agree to some rehabilitation plan, or that the company would find some financial partner to continue with its shipbuilding operations in Subic,” Eisma also said. (HEE/MPD-SBMA)


Hanjin shipyard at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone

08 January 2019

Loan facilities now open to MSMEs in Subic Bay Freeport

A financial assistance program is now available here for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) that are accredited to deliver goods and services in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma Eisma said the SBMA has partnered with the Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) to provide loan facilities to MSMEs and other logistics-focused companies as part of the agency’s port marketing initiative.

The SBMA had initiated talks with the LBP as early as February last year to push for the loan facility under the agency’s program to assist MSMEs operating in the Freeport, she said.

According to Land Bank Subic Bay Branch Manager Edwin Manalo, interested MSMEs can avail of the loan facility through the Zambales Lending Center, a unit of the Land Bank that was formerly located in Dinalupihan, Bataan.

“As the number one government financial institution, Land Bank is always here to help the community on their financial needs. With the transfer of our Lending Center to Subic, we will be in a better position to help the public, especially MSMEs needing financial assistance,” he added.

Land Bank is a universal bank owned by the Philippine government with a special focus on serving the needs of farmers and fishermen and keeping them financially viable to help promote countryside development.

Zambales Lending Center Manager Ma. Marita San Diego said that this partnership with the SBMA is especially intended for corporations, private enterprises, cooperatives, as well as non-SBFZ companies that are accredited to deliver goods and services in the Freeport.

She said that processing time for MSME loan would take around 45 days, after the applicant submitted a complete set of the requirements.

San Diego added that her office has already received several some applications after the center relocated from Bataan to Subic Bay.

One of the applicants, she said, is a transport cooperative that proposes to field electric buses at Subic’s CBD area to provide a cheaper alternative to the riding public.

The proponent reportedly plans to put up initially a fleet of 10 electric buses, with designated stops and charging stations. (RFD/MPD-SBMA)

03 January 2019

SBMA to outsource Contract of Service personnel

In compliance with national government directive, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) will outsource the services rendered by a significant chunk of its Contract of Service (COS) personnel starting February 2019.

According to lawyer Ramon Agregado, SBMA Senior Deputy Administrator for Support Services, a total of 307 personnel maintained by the agency under COS scheme will be absorbed by outsourcing companies that will provide janitorial, ground maintenance, building security and housing security services to the SBMA.

Agregado announced this on Friday (Dec. 28) during a general assembly at the SBMA Gym wherein agency officials discussed outsourcing and position reclassification procedures with concerned personnel. This was after the affected personnel were first notified in writing in April 2018.

The affected workers, he said, are security, janitorial, and ground maintenance personnel whose positions have been recommended for outsourcing by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) as early as September 2013.

“This is a requirement of the government—of the DBM. We are simply complying with the requirement,” Agregado explained.

“Please bear in mind that we are doing our best in order for you to keep your jobs,” he assured workers.

At the same time, Agregado said the SBMA would retain a total of 655 COS workers until June 2019, but possibly until December 31, 2020, the new deadline set under a joint circular from DBM, Civil Service Commission (CSC) and Commission on Audit (COA).

He said the SBMA hopes to hire the remaining qualified personnel for plantilla positions once the agency’s proposed restructuring plan gets approved by the DBM.

In the meantime, the SBMA has begun reclassifying COS positions and salary grades so that these workers may eventually fit into the new organizational structure, assuming they obtain the requisite eligibility, Agregado added.

The outsourcing and position reclassification procedures, SBMA officials said, actually serve as safety nets to avert financial ruin for workers affected by the order to end contractualization in government service.

SBMA Deputy Administrator for Administration Ruel John Kabigting noted that the SBMA had previously been called out at the House of Representatives for employing some of the most number of COS workers among government agencies.

He added that other free ports like Clark and Bataan had since outsourced their personnel accordingly.

Kabigting recalled that under Joint Circular No. 1 issued on June 15, 2017 by the CSC, COA and DBM, government agencies were allowed to renew contracts of service or job orders only until Dec. 31, 2018.

He said that while another joint circular dated Nov. 9, 2018 extended the deadline for compliance to Dec. 31, 2020, the DBM had directed the SBMA in a September 2013 memorandum to refrain from hiring personnel under contract of service and instead fill up its regular plantilla positions “to have semblance of continuity in service.”

He added that in 2015, the Office of the President likewise required the SBMA to reduce its manpower complement from contract of service to 3% per annum.

Finally in October 2016, the DBM directed the SBMA that “as a matter of policy, the janitorial and security services shall be outsourced, subject to existing budgeting, accounting, auditing and other applicable laws, rules and regulations,” Kabigting said.

From there, the outsourcing scheme was approved by the SBMA Board of Directors on April 12, 2018 and underwent the processes of notification, bidding and endorsement until the contract was awarded to winning service providers early this month.

According to the SBMA Human Resources Management Department (HRMD), the outsourcing scheme will provide job security in the private sector to the affected workers, as well as holiday pay, 13th month pay, overtime pay, and benefits from Social Security System, Pag-Ibig and Philhealth that they don’t otherwise enjoy as COS workers of the government. (HEE,MPD-SBMA)

28 December 2018

Central Luzon investment hub bill hurdles bicam

A bill creating the Regional Investment and Infrastructure Coordinating Hub (RICH) for Central Luzon has been approved by the Bicameral Conference Committee.

The measure intends to establish RICH, in place of the Subic-Clark Alliance for Development Council, as the body to lead infrastructure development in Central Luzon.

RICH’s mission also includes to “effectively address bottlenecks and decongest Metro Manila, lay the foundation for long-term growth of Central Luzon and increase the productivity of the people.”

The Bicameral Conference Committee, presided over by Senator Richard J. Gordon and North Cotabato 1st district Rep. Jesus N. Sacdalan, adopted and approved on Dec. 10 Senate Bill No. 1997, subject to amendments.

In its last version, the bill proposed that the Central Luzon Investment Corridor Master Plan be developed by the RICH Board of Directors, in coordination with local government units and stakeholders.

CLIC will, among others, incorporate existing plans created for the development of the Subic-Clark and Tarlac area.

The Master Plan will also “include the provision of adequate and affordable housing facilities within the Special Economic or Freeport Zone.”

The measure also proposes to establish a One Stop Shop that will facilitate the registration of enterprises in Central Luzon in coordination with RICH, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, Clark Development Corp. and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. (Charmaine A. Tadalan, BusinessWorld)

26 December 2018

House OKS proposed law to revitalize SBMA

The House of Representatives has passed on third and final reading a measure that primarily aims to strengthen the administration and operational governance of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).

Approved by the chamber in plenary via vote of 200-6 (yes-no), without abstention, was House Bill (HB) no.8720, or the proposed Act Revitalizing the Bases Conversion Development.

The bill was principally authored by former President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd District, Pampanga), Reps. Geraldine Roman (1st District, Bataan), and Emi Calixto-Rubiano (Lone District, Pasay City).

It seeks to amend two sections of Republic Act (RA) 7227 or the “Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992.”

In particular, HB no.8720 amends Section 13 of RA 7227 to mandate that the SBMA shall have authority and jurisdiction over all economic activities within the Subic Special Economic Zone. This covers the power to inspect and register leisure ships and pleasure yachts of any ship owner.

For this purpose, the SBMA shall administer and maintain an open register of leisure ships and pleasure yachts subject only to such rules and regulation to be promulgated by the SBMA in consultation with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) without prejudice to the requirements of the Constitution.

The bill also mandates the SBMA to administer and implement incentives granted to its registered business enterprises.

Likewise, the SBMA shall fix and impose just and reasonable rates and prices for the establishment, operation and maintenance of infrastructure, services and businesses in the Subic Special Economic Zone pertaining to electronic, web and cloud data operators and providers and telecommunications; shipping and maritime business and activities; airport operations; and all other similar matters inside the economic zone.

The bill also aims to improve the revenue collection of SBMA and thereby increase the shares of the local government units (LGUs) affected and the share of the national government. Specifically, the measure fortifies the territorial jurisdiction of the Subic Special Economic Zone by amending Section 12 of RA 7227.

Among the changes introduced by HB 8720 to Section 12 is the inclusion of a provision that the municipalities of San Antonio, San Marcelino, and Castillejos of the province of Zambales and the municipalities of Morong, Hermosa, and Dinalupihan of the province of Bataan may cede in whole or in part their entire municipal territory to the Subic Special Economic Zone for a period of not less than 50 years.

The measure also seeks to ensure and strengthen the public safety and security of SBMA through further amendments to Section 12 of RA 7227.

It revises the section to state that in the event that an assistance of the military is necessary, the expenses shall be borne by the national government. HB 8720 adds that military shall not interfere in the internal affairs of SBMA except to provide necessary security and defense.

The bill designates one seat each in the board of directors of the SBMA to represent Olongapo City, the municipalities of Castillejos, San Antonio, San Marcelino, and Subic of the province of Zambales, and the municipalities of Morong, Hermosa, and Dinalupihan of the province of Bataan.

It also provides for one representative for the Board of Director of Bases Conversion Development Authority from the indigenous peoples (IPs) residing within the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. (Ellson Quismorio, Manila Bulletin)