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15 January 2018

Cycling: SEA Games vets rule ITT

Mark Galedo, Marella Salamat and Jay Lampawog shone brightest among the country’s top guns of cycling by ruling the individual time trial (ITT) races of the Philippine National Cycling Championships for Road inside the Subic Bay Freeport.

Galedo clocked 43 minutes and 6.876 seconds to win the gold medal in the men’s ITT raced over a 31-km course, snatching in the process the coveted national champion’s jersey from the PhilCycling.



The former SEA Games gold medalist also banked the top purse of P50,000 from PRU Life UK, which bankrolled the PRUride ph 2018.

Galedo’s fellow national team members George Oconer and Rustom Lim completed the podium, finishing the race-against-the-clock race 19 and 30 seconds behind.

“I will proudly wear this jersey,” said Galedo, who, like all the other 25 riders who raced the ITT, had to pedal through Subic’s strong winds that rushed from almost all directions along the entire route.

Pru Life UK Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Allan Tumbaga, world top-ranked cyclist Filipino-American Coryn Rivera, Prudential PLC Head of Sponsorship Diane Pender and PhilCycling Secretary General Atty. Billy Sumagui awarded the prizes to the winners.

Salamat, the SEA Games ITT queen, was hardly challenged in her pet event and won the 21-km women’s race in 34:49.163. She also grabbed the P50,000 prize.

Taiwan’s Chng Ting Ting settled for the silver medal while Jermyn Prado, winner of the women’s road race last Friday, was third.

Lampawog, on the other hand, took the under-23 title, crossing the finish of the event also raced on the men’s course in 45:02.038. (Manila Bulletin)

Morales, Prado top elite races

Jan Paul Morales won a sprint finish against Ronald Oranza and Jermyn Prado won pulling away to rule the Philippine National Cycling Championships for Road over a technical and treacherous route Friday in Subic and Bataan.

A total of 96 riders answered the gun for the men’s elite race of the PhilCycling but it was Morales, a many-time national team member who emerged as one of the biggest winners of the event that awarded the coveted national champions’ jerseys to the victors.

“I really went for the win but I had to work hard for this one,” said Morales moments after his victory that earned him not only P50,000 in cash from organizer Pru Life UK but also an all-expense paid trip to the Prudential Ride London in July.

Morales clocked three hours, 42 minutes and 55 seconds – same time as Oranza –over the 137-km course that included a treacherous climb to the Dambana ng Mga Bayani at Mt. Samat in Mariveles, Bataan.

Felipe Marcelo and Jonel Carcueva figured in a race incident close to the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center finish and shared third place in one of the races that highlight the PRUride PH 2018.

Oranza brought home P25,000 while Marcelo and Carcueva shared the third and fourth place prizes of P15,000 and P12,500, respectively.

Also earning tickets to London and R50,000 each were Prado and Men Under 23 winner Ismael Gorospe. (Tempo)

PHOTO:

SBMA Deputy Administrator for Regulatory Group Atty. Ruel John Kabigting (left), signals the send off for cyclists participating in the Subic-leg of PRUride Ph 2018, said to be one of the biggest cycling events in the country at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention ground Friday. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)


13 January 2018

SBMA posts P1.2-billion port revenue in 2017

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has recorded P1.2 billion in seaport revenue last year, surpassing its 2016 record by three percent, with an increase of 12 percent in the port’s containerized cargo volume.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said that figures from the SBMA Seaport Department indicated a total income of P1,173,720,042 in January to December 2017 last year, compared to the P1.137 billion revenue collection in 2016.



“The continuing effort of the Seaport Department to upgrade its process flow minimized transaction time and attracted more and more importers and exporters to use the Port of Subic,” Eisma noted.

She pointed out that the volume of containerized cargo grew to 139,980 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2017 from just 124,707 TEUs in 2016. This increase in containerized cargo had offset a six-percent decrease last year in the volume of non-containerized cargo, which fell to only 6,646,322 metric tons as against 7,071,444 metric tons in 2016.

Accordingly, the SBMA Seaport Department processed 66,172 TEUs of imported containerized products in 2017, which was nine percent higher than the 60,593 TEUs processed in 2016. Meanwhile, the department processed last year 25,007 TEUs of exported containerized products, which was six percent higher than the 23,527 TEUs in 2016.

The increase in import-export volume that passed through the Port of Subic likewise resulted in a significant increase of containerized cargoes transshipped in the Freeport: 1,462 TEUs in January to December 2017 against 368 TEUs in 2016, or an increase of 297 percent.

Jerome Martinez, head of the SBMA Seaport Department, said much of the increase in revenue was due to the growth in imported products like vehicle parts by Foton Motor Phils., Inc.; paper materials by Trust International Paper Corp.; and rubber by Yokohama Tire Phils. Inc., which were all sourced from Japan.

Likewise, the growth in export revenue was attributed to increased export of tires by Yokohama Tires Phils. to Japan; Juken Sangyo Phils. for veneer lumber also to Japan; and HLD Clark Steel Pipe Co. for steel pipes to the United States.

Martinez also said that another factor in seaport revenue growth was the implementation of Republic Act 10668, also known as the Foreign Ships Co-Loading Act, which allowed arriving or departing ships to carry a foreign cargo to its Philippine port of final destination, after being cleared at its port of entry or exit.

“This law tends to decrease, in some instances, vessel activities going to the Port of Subic, particularly in the importation and exportation of goods,” Martinez said. “However, transshipment activities increase,” he added.

The devaluation of peso against the US dollar and the unstable global price of crude oil in the world market which caused a decline of the importation of petroleum products, also buoyed Subic seaport income, said Martinez.

SBMA Chairman Eisma also expressed optimism for the Port of Subic this 2018, pointing out that one of the world’s largest cruise ships will be arriving here in June for a 12-hour tour of the Subic Bay area.

Eisma said this was confirmed after Dr. Zinan Liu and other officials of Royal Caribbean International (RCI) spent a two-day assessment of the Subic Bay area last December for the purpose of including Subic in the itinerary of RCI’s Asian cruise program.

Subic reportedly checked out as a cruise ship destination after Liu noted that it has attractions for people interested in culture, history and religion, aside from the theme parks, beach resorts, hotels and other modern amenities found in the area.

Eisma estimated that should each cruise ship passenger spend US$100 during their stay in Subic, local businesses would gain millions in income during the visit. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)

PHOTO:

Containerized cargo boxes line up the New Container Terminal in the Subic Bay Freeport (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

09 January 2018

PRUride PH 2018 to fire off next week in Subic Bay

Southeast Asian Games gold medalists Mark John Lexer Galedo and Marella Vania Salamat will head the men and women elite cast seeing action in the Pru Life UK’s PRUride PH 2018 beginning next weekend starting on January 11 in Subic and Bataan and on January 21 at McKinley West in Taguig City.

Free registration – through the official website http://PRUride.PH! – awaits Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) license holders in the men and women elite, men and women under-23 and men and women junior categories for the PRUride PH Professional Road Race.



Besides the honor of wearing the national champion’s jersey to be awarded by the sanctioning Integrated Cycling Federation of the Philippines (PhilCycling), the national federation for the sport, a total cash prize of more than P1 million will go to the top finishers in all categories — plus the chance to ride in the Prudential RideLondon 2018 in July, all expenses paid.

The champions of the men and women elite categories for both PRUride Professional Road Race and PRUride Criterium will receive P50,000 each, while the men under-23 category winners for all races will bring home P20,000 each. The prizes in the men elite races are scaled down to the 20th place with the second and third placers getting P25,000 and P15,000, respectively.

The 136-kilometer road race for men and 120-km for women elite and men juniors is set simultaneously on January 12 on a route that will start and finish at the Subic Bay Exposition and Convention Center (SBECC). The route includes an arduous climb atop Mount Samat and a punishing ride over the hills of Morong in Bataan.

The individual time trial (ITT) for all categories, meanwhile, will be staged the next day on January 13 over a 30-km (for professionals) or a 15-km course (for amateurs) also on an out-and-back course at SBECC.PRUride PH 2018 also the 100- and 50-kilometer Gran Fondo events on January 14 in Subic. (Manila Bulletin)

https://sports.mb.com.ph/2018/01/06/pruride-ph-2018-to-fire-off-next-week/

SBMA bans 3 brokers in P40-M liquor smuggling try

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has blacklisted three customs brokers for involvement in the attempted smuggling here recently of expensive liquor worth around P40 million.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said this was the initial action of the agency in connection with the smuggling attempt that was foiled by the SBMA Law Enforcement Department (SBMA-LED) just before Christmas.


The SBMA Seaport Department has identified the blacklisted brokers as Ellen Baylon, an authorized representative of the brokerage firm Alava Alliance, Inc.; John Louie Pabico, a processor of Phil-Hohan International Corp.; and Cherry Springael, a freelance processor and authorized representative of Alava Alliance.

“These persons have been banned from doing business with the SBMA Seaport, and the companies they represented have been placed on indefinite suspension pending the final results of investigation by the Bureau of Customs (BOC),” Eisma added.

She added that the BOC, which received custody of the smuggled items from the SBMA, will also file appropriate criminal charges against the brokers for violation of the Customs and Tariff Act, as well as Republic Act 7227, or the Bases Conversion and Development Act.

“Let this serve as a warning that Subic authorities won’t tolerate illegal activities in the Freeport, and we will apply the full measure of the law in cases like this,” Eisma added.

The SBMA said earlier that its law enforcement operatives seized a total of 1,321 boxes of liquor from a closed van that was about to leave the Freeport on Dec. 24, and from a 40-footer container van parked at the Subic Seaport Terminal on Dec. 28.

The seized contraband included 54 bottles of Remy Martin Louis XIII, which sells as much as P170,000 per bottle, and eight boxes of Remy Martin Centaure De Diamant, which fetches P60,000 per bottle.

The SBMA police began the operation on Christmas Eve after a tipster informed them that a closed van and a Nissan Patrol SUV would attempt to smuggle contraband from the Freeport.

Subsequently, SBMA-LED operatives posted along the Argonaut Highway leading to Subic’s sea ports monitored the vehicles and tailed them to the 14th Street Gate where they were stopped by sentries.

The Fuso van, bearing File No. 036404 of BCR Trucking, was found to contain 275 boxes of Remy Martin Cognac Champagne, 448 boxes of Martini, 66 boxes of Remy Martin XO, 17 boxes of Remy Martin Champagne, 8 boxes of Remy Martin Louis XIII, 8 boxes of Remy Martin Centaure De Diamant, 7 boxes of Remy Martin Club, and 7 boxes of Remy Martin.

The driver, identified as 41-year old Julio Flores, as well as the helper, 46-year old Marvin Arcega, failed to present necessary documents when accosted by the police, the SBMA-LED said in a report.

Under investigation, Flores reported that he picked up the merchandise from the Subic Seaport Terminal Inc. (SSTI) at the Boton Pier here on instruction of a certain “Ed” who rented his truck for the pickup.

Flores added that a certain “Cherry” assured him that the goods were ready for exit at Subic’s Tipo gate even without any document because two other trucks with similar load were able to exit so.

With this information, SBMA operatives conducted a follow-up operation on Thursday that led them to a white Isuzu Giga cab with the markings “Sinfa Logistics Inc.” that was parked at the SSTI’s Boton Pier facility. The 40-footer container yielded 333 boxes of Remy Martin, 196 boxes of Remy Martin XO, 1 box of Remy Martin Club, 1 box of Martini, 2 boxes of Remy Martin, and 10 boxes of Remy Martin Louis XIII.

Eisma said the SBMA police conducted an inventory of the smuggled items in the presence of representatives from the Bureau of Customs, the SBMA Seaport Department and members of the media before turning over the confiscated items and the vehicles containing them to the Bureau of Customs in the Port of Subic. (HEE/MPD-SBMA)


03 January 2018

SBMA police seize P40 million smuggled liquor

Police operatives from the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) foiled an attempt to smuggle more than P40-million worth of liquor here and seized the contraband even before they could be spirited out of the Subic Bay Freeport on Christmas Eve.

The SBMA Law Enforcement Department seized a total of 1,321 boxes of expensive liquor from a closed van that was about to leave the Freeport on Dec. 24, and from a 40-footer container van parked at the Subic Seaport Terminal.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma lauded the alertness and efficacy of the SBMA law enforcers in foiling the smuggling attempt.

“Some unscrupulous parties would really take advantage of the Christmas season to try to pull away illegal activities in the Freeport, but this only proves that the SBMA Law Enforcement Department is ready at all times to do their duty,” Eisma said after receiving the report.

“This is a job well done for the SBMA and another huge failure for those who try to use Subic for their smuggling operation,” Eisma added.

According to a report by Maj. Vicente Tolentino, head of the SBMA Law Enforcement Department, the seized contraband included 54 bottles of Remy Martin Louis XIII, which sells as much as P170,000 per bottle, and eight boxes of Remy Martin Centaure De Diamant, which fetches P60,000 per bottle.

Tolentino said the SBMA police began the operation on Christmas Eve after a tipster informed them that a closed van and a Nissan Patrol SUV would attempt to smuggle contraband from the Freeport.

He said that operatives posted along the Argonaut Highway monitored the vehicles and tailed them to the 14th Street Gate where they were stopped by sentries.

The Fuso van, bearing File No. 036404 of BCR Trucking, was driven by 41-year old Julio Flores, along with helper Marvin Arcega, 46 years old. The two failed to present necessary documents when accosted by the police, Tolentino said.

The van contained 275 boxes of Remy Martin Cognac Champagne, 448 boxes of Martini, 66 boxes of Remy Martin XO, 17 boxes of Remy Martin Champagne, 8 boxes of Remy Martin Louis XIII, 8 boxes of Remy Martin Centaure De Diamant, 7 boxes of Remy Martin Club, and 7 boxes of Remy Martin.

A follow-up operation on Thursday led operatives to a white Isuzu Giga cab with the markings “Sinfa Logistics Inc.”, which was parked at the Subic Seaport Terminal in the Boton Wharf.

The 40-footer container van on its trailer contained the rest of the contraband: 333 boxes of Remy Martin, 196 boxes of Remy Martin XO, 1 box of Remy Martin Club, 1 box of Martini, 2 boxes of Remy Martin, and 10 boxes of Remy Martin Louis XIII.

Tolentino said the SBMA police conducted an inventory of the smuggled items last Thursday and Friday in the presence of representatives from the Bureau of Customs, the SBMA Seaport Department and members of the media.

On Friday, Tolentino formally turned over the items and the vehicles containing them to Ciriaco Ugay, OIC-Collector of the Bureau of Customs in the Port of Subic. (JEE/MPD-SBMA)

PHOTO:

SBMA police operatives and workers unload boxes of smuggled liquor for inventory at the Law Enforcement Department office on Friday. (JRR/MPD-SBMA)

27 December 2017

Subic keen on becoming next cruise ship playground

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is keen on positioning its port to become the next playground for Royal Caribbean cruise ships starting next year.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma, who met recently with Dr. Zinan Liu and other officials of Royal Caribbean International (RCI), said that the Subic community is hoping to generate more business with the growing cruise ship tourism industry in the Asian region.



“We hope that Subic would be the next cruise ship playground. And we are very excited over this prospect,” Eisma told RCI officials, as she briefed them on the potentials of the Subic Bay area as cruise ship destination.

“We can offer you the best tourism facilities and services for your passengers and crew, highly memorable and tailored tourism experiences to meet the expectations of your clients, and a safe environment that will be very conducive to your business,” Eisma added.

Liu, who is RCI’s president for China and North Asia Pacific Region, arrived in Subic on Saturday along with his assistant Anna Lian and company director Antonio Muresu, and escorted by Isabela Vice Gov. Antonio Albano.

Eisma brought the visitors to Alava Pier here, where the firm’s MS Oasis of the Seas cruise liner may dock once Subic is included in the ship’s Asian itinerary.



The RCI, which is a cruise line brand based in Miami, Florida and owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL), a global cruise vacation company which controls 22 percent of the cruise market worldwide, is said to be scouting for newer attractions for the growing Asian cruise ship market.

Eisma, along with the SBMA Cruise Ship Technical Working Group, stressed that her administration is positioning Subic as the new Asian destination to meet such growing demand.

The MS Oasis of the Seas is said to provide some of the most modern cruise experiences today with facilities like the Central Park, Boardwalk, Royal Promenade, Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place, and Youth Zone, which features a surf simulator, cantilevered whirlpools suspended 112 feet above the ocean, and zip line.

The ship can carry over 6,000 passengers and 3,900 crews and officers in its 16 passenger decks.

During the preliminary meeting with another RCI team headed by Capt. Nikolaos Antalis in November this year, it was noted that because of its gigantic size, Oasis of the Seas could only use the Port of Subic, among the many ports in the Philippines.

During their two-day stay here, Liu and the other RCI officials said they were impressed over the potential of the Subic Bay area, noting that it has attractions in culture, history and religion, aside from modern amenities.

Eisma toured the cruise ship officials around Subic Bay and brought them to see Zoobic Safari, Ocean Adventure, and Segara Villas on Saturday, and brought them as well to the famed Philippine heritage destination Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan last Sunday.

Last July, RCCL Vice President for New Business Development John Tercek also visited Subic to assess its readiness as a cruise ship destination.

Eisma said Tercek similarly cited the potentials of Subic and advised the SBMA to step up efforts in developing the free port to address the demand. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)

PHOTOS:

[1] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma briefs Royal Caribbean International officials during an ocular inspection of Alava Pier in the Subic Bay Freeport. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

[2] Royal Caribbean International president for China and North Asia Pacific Region Zinan Liu presents a miniature cruise ship model during the end of their two-day ocular of the Subic Bay Freeport. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)









20 December 2017

Royal Caribbean Cruise team impressed with Subic potentials

Officials of one of the biggest cruise ship liners in the world came out visibly impressed after visiting the Subic Bay area over the weekend to gauge its potential in the international cruise tourism scene.

Dr. Zinan Liu, president for China and North Asia Pacific Region of the Royal Caribbean International (RCI), a cruise line brand based in Miami, Florida, arrived here on Saturday along with his assistant Anna Lian and company director Antonio Muresu.


Liu’s entourage was escorted by Isabela Vice Governor Antonio Albano, and was welcomed here by Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma.

During their two-day stay here, Eisma accompanied the cruise officials on a tour of tourism sites in Subic Bay and also briefed them on local history and tourism features.

The tour included Zoobic Safari, Ocean Adventure, Segara Villas, as well as the famed Philippine heritage destination Las Casas Filipinas De Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan.



Liu said he was impressed over the potential of the area and declared that the Subic Bay Freeport should be included in the Philippine itinerary of their cruise tours.

“Three days I’ve seen some ports in the Luzon region and I think it’s very attractive to Chinese,” Liu said. “We have only been here for a few hours, and from your presentation, I can already imagine that we can develop a tour suitable and appealing to different age groups.”

Liu also noted that the Subic area also has attractions for people interested in culture, history and religion. He said that the Subic Freeport’s modern amenities give it a unique quality not found among most free port zones.

“So I think we will be very interested in making Subic Freeport a part of the Philippine tour. Thank you for your presentation and we want us to work together and make a dream come true,” he told Eisma before the group departed Subic.

The group also visited Subic’s Alava Pier where passenger, as well as military, ships usually dock during their stay in the Subic Bay Freeport.

Eisma told the visitors that the SBMA plans to rehabilitate the docking facility even before the first cruise ship from Royal Caribbean International arrives in June next year.

An estimated P2.46 billion will be needed for the rehabilitation and development of the 15 piers and wharves here, which have been described as the heart and soul of the Subic Freeport. Eisma said the agency is currently asking for the inclusion of funds in the national budget to rehabilitate the ports.

The Royal Caribbean International cruise line brand is owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL), a global cruise vacation company which operates 24 ships in more than 500 destinations on all the seven continents and controls 22 percent of the cruise market worldwide.

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

Last July, RCCL Vice President for New Business Development John Tercek also visited Subic to assess its readiness as a cruise ship destination.

Eisma said Tercek similarly cited the potentials of Subic and advised the SBMA to step up efforts in developing the free port to address the demand. (JRR/MPD-SBMA)

PHOTOS:

[1] Royal Caribbean International president Dr. Zinan Liu (center) poses with the Ayta tribesmen along with SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma during a visit to the Zoobic Safari theme park in the Subic Bay Freeport. Also in photo are (from left): Assistant to the president Anna Lian, Royal Caribbean director Antonio Muresu, Zoomanity CEO Robert Yupangco, and Isabela Vice Gov. Antonio Albano. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

[2] Royal Caribbean International president Dr. Zinan Liu readies his camera-phone as a tiger munches on chicken a few inches away during his visit to the Zoobic Safari theme park in the Subic Bay Freeport on Saturday. Beside him is SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma Eisma, who briefed him on tourism attractions in the Subic Bay area. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

LOOK: SBMA Law Enforcement Department Exercises

Members of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority’s Law Enforcement Department (SBMA-LED) pin down suspects during a recent simulated hostage rescue operation at the Subic Bay Freeport.


The department exercise, which is held periodically to bring Subic police officers on alert at all times, involved elements from Traffic, Special Weapons and Tactics, and K-9 branches.


Members of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority’s Law Enforcement Department (SBMA-LED) form an assault team during a recent simulated hostage rescue operation at the Subic Bay Freeport.

(AMD/MPD-SBMA)

LOOK: New batch of 'pawikan' hatchlings released

Hatchlings of the Olive Ridley specie of marine turtles (pawikan) head out to sea after being gently released by children at the All Hands Beach Resort in the Subic Bay Freeport on Saturday (Dec. 09).



A total of 120 newly-hatched turtles were released on Saturday, the first for this hatchling season, bringing to 3,877 the total baby sea turtles released from the area since All Hands initiated a pawikan hatchling release program.


Community Resources Officer Marife Castillo and SBMA Ecology Center manager Amethya Dela Llana, along with members of the local chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, release hatchlings of the Olive Ridley specie of marine turtles (pawikan) at the All Hands Beach Resort in the Subic Bay Freeport on Saturday (Dec. 09).

(AMD/MPD-SBMA)

14 December 2017

SBMA inks US tie-ups for Subic port expansion

Working overtime to realize further development and expansion of the Port of Subic, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is now networking with various ports in the United States to gain strategic knowledge and best practices for local application.

In a meeting with port officials in Los Angeles and Virginia Beach during a Philippine trade mission in the United States last month, SBMA Chairman and Administrator discussed Subic’s port expansion plans and business potentials, as well as the necessary upgrades to make Subic a global maritime trade player.


“We’re definitely moving seriously now into the expansion and development mode for the Port of Subic because this is what Subic Bay is all about—global maritime business,” Eisma explained.

“We may have the most strategic location and we may have the best potential in the region, but if our assets remained underdeveloped and underutilized, we’d end up zero just the same. So this is very, very important for Subic—it must start now, and it must be completed within just a few years,” she added.

Eisma said that in partnership with sister-ports, Subic will be developing a workable plan and a realizable timetable.

“Along this line, I have signed last month a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with John Reinhart, the CEO of Virginia Port Authority, for us to share best practices both in port development and trade promotion,” the SBMA official said.


“Likewise, we would be signing in March 2018 a similar agreement with the Los Angeles Port Authority (LAPA), so that we can learn technical expertise, particularly in break-bulk operation and cruise ship terminal operation,” Eisma added.

Eisma said that Jim MacLellan, who is LAPA Trade Development Director, has recommended to maximize Subic’s potential to be the next cruise ship playground in the ASEAN region, not only by increasing cruise ship arrival and port revenues, but also by developing downstream industries like arts and crafts, culture, music and related industries to promote a sustainable cruise tourism program.

She said that a direct port-to-port service route from the Port of Los Angeles to Subic Bay Freeport has also been discussed. This is being considered to cater to container port traffic demand between the West Coast and the Philippines, as well as increase efficiency and lower the cost of shipping.

Eisma added that the consolidation of cargoes in the West Coast is being considered with the Port of Subic Bay emerging as the possible gateway and transhipment point in the Philippines.


Eisma also said that the plan by SBMA and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) to draft and integrate their master plans for the next phase of development of the Subic-Clark Economic Corridor “fits nicely in the overall design for Subic port.”

Other port-related developments from the November trade mission to the United States include the proposed use of the Port of Subic for the distribution of agricultural products.

According to SBMA Port Marketing Manager Ronnie Yambao, who joined Eisma in the trade mission, a Mexican company supplying avocado to Japan would like to use Subic’s proximity to Japan as a unique selling proposition.

Yambao added that there was also a proposal to use Subic for cacao farming and production and for eventual distribution worldwide, as well as for the shipment of US-bound commodities produced by manufacturers based in Palawan and Bicol.

Yambao added that the plan by Mober, the latest mobile app-enabled, on-demand cargo-delivery company, to launch its service in Subic Bay in June 2018 would further increase the attractiveness of Subic as a transhipment and distribution hub. (HEE/MPD-SBMA)

PHOTOS:

[1] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma signs an agreement with Virginia Port Authority CEO John Reinhart to facilitate Subic’s strategic objective of expanding its global port network.

[2] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma, along with other members of the Philippine trade delegation to the United States, observes shipping activities at the busy Los Angeles port complex.

[3] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma joins other members of the Philippine trade delegation to the United States at the Port of Los Angeles.

Subic Freeport eyes major investments from US groups

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is now aiming to tap Filipino-American companies and private groups in the United States to gain fresh key investment packages for the industrial and maritime sectors in the Subic Bay Freeport.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma, who joined a trade mission organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), said she has met with several prospective investors from the Federation of Philippine American Chambers of Commerce (FPACC) during a week-long swing among key business centers from the East Coast to the West Coast last month.



The FPACC, which has 42 chapters in the United States and around 5,000 member-companies, bridges U.S.-Philippines trade and commerce, and promotes goodwill and mutually beneficial projects between the two countries. It renewed its memorandum of understanding with the PCCI on Nov. 11 in a ceremony in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“It’s a very promising situation as far as the FPACC members are concerned, and we have at least two major investment prospects and two port agreements as a result of the trip,” Eisma said.

“We are looking forward to more engagement with these interested parties so that we can finally clinch a business deal with them,” she added.

Eisma said that an estimated $1-billion investment is being considered by an American-Chinese venture to develop a portion of the Redondo Peninsula in Subic for a possible industrial, maritime and mixed-use complex that will generate more jobs and economic opportunities for the country.



Aside from this, Eisma said that a company based in California is also planning a $20-million investment for a waste-to-energy project and related renewable energy projects in the Subic Bay Freeport.

During the trade mission, Eisma also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Virginia Port Authority CEO and Executive Director John Reinhart to facilitate Subic’s strategic objective of expanding its global network and promote the growth of trade and commerce between the two ports.

In Los Angeles, meanwhile, Eisma worked out an agreement with Trade Development Director Jim MacLellan of the Los Angeles Port Authority for the sharing of expertise in port development, particularly break-bulk shipping and cruise ship terminal operation.


An MOU is set to be signed in March 2018 to jumpstart this initiative, Eisma added.

The SBMA chief also announced that two technical supervisors from Google, which operates the Internet’s most utilized search engine, will visit the Subic Bay Freeport in June 2018 to conduct robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) seminars for students in and around the Subic community as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) program.

Eisma said this will be a significant development, as the SBMA plans to eventually develop in Subic a center of excellence in this field.

Trade Commissioner Celynne Layug of the Philippine Trade Investment Center in San Francisco has reportedly suggested another trade mission in March 2018 to promote the Subic Bay Freeport among businessmen in San Francisco and key cities in the West Coast.

Meanwhile, in the course of the business mission, the SBMAS chief was interviewed by two local media outfits—one based in Chicago on Nov. 11, and another in Arizona on Nov. 12 during the PCCI- FPACC event. Both interviews focused on the Subic Bay Freeport success story and the economic miracle created here in the last 25 years.

In Chicago, Eisma was also chosen by a publication as finalist in the “Chicago Filipino-Asian American Hall of Fame Award in Government.” Among the past awardees in its list was former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez. (HEE/MPD-SBMA)

PHOTOS:

[1] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma discusses business opportunities in infrastructure and energy in the Subic Bay Freeport to prospective investors from the Federation of Philippine American Chambers of Commerce during a recent Philippine trade mission to the United States

[2] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma, along with SBMA Seaport Marketing manager Ronnie Yambao (right), discusses expansion plans for the Port of Subic with Los Angeles Port Authority Trade Development Director Jim MacLellan during a recent Philippine trade mission to the United States

[3] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma receives a symbolic key to Virginia Beach from Mayor William D. Sessoms, Jr. during a recent Philippine trade mission to the United States.

09 December 2017

Subic divers clean up bay in ‘Scubasurero Festival’

Scuba divers from the Subic Bay area conducted volunteer community work on Saturday to clean Subic Bay under the “Dive Heroes Festival-Scubasurero” event, bringing into the shore more than 50 kilos of various wastes that have found their way into the water.

The annual “Scubasurero,” which is a play on scuba and basurero, the Filipino word for garbage collector, enlists the help of volunteers in cleaning Subic Bay, particularly the area in the vicinity of Grande Island.



Around 200 volunteers, along with 50 certified divers, participated in the clean-up drive organized by the Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium, Inc. (SBMEI), operator of the Ocean Adventure marine park and Camayan Beach Resort, and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).

Scuba-diving groups such as the Subic Bay Dive Association, Arizona, Boardwalk Dive Center, Johann's, Deep Blue Scuba and Wow Shark contributed their personnel and resources for the event.

Under “Scubasurero”, volunteers working on the shoreline collected a total of 7 kilos of nets, 9 kilos of ropes, 10 kilos of plastic, 3 kilos of styropor packaging, 1.5 kilos of plastic bottle, and 5 kilos of plastic.



Meanwhile, the underwater team of divers hauled in 6 kilos of rubber slippers, 5 kilos of plastic, and 11 kilos of bottle after some 40 minutes of dive in 14-meter deep waters at the Camayan reef area, and near Grande Island.

SBMA Chairperson and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma, who graced the activity to encourage the participants, thanked everyone involved in the event and emphasized their invaluable role in environment protection.

“We only have one home and this is our home. What you are trying to do here is a testament to what I am trying to say. I hope you'll continue to do it," Eisma said.

The SBMA chief added that she would like to join the next “Scubasurero” event. "Hopefully, next time I'll join you. I'll go back to diving again," she said.

The “Scubasurero” event was held in celebration of the third anniversary of SBMEI’s Camayan Divers PADI Five Star Dive Resort. The clean-up activity was spearheaded by the Camayan divers in cooperation with Project AWARE and the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force.

Camayan Divers officer-in-charge Juanito Soriano also announced after the clean-up that his group will donate P10,000 to Project AWARE, a global network of scuba divers and water enthusiasts who seek to promote protection of the world's water resources.

“Together, there's a lot we can accomplish,” Soriano said, dedicating the “Scubasurero” event to Project AWARE. “We are giving divers a chance to extend their passion for the care of the environment," he added. (JRR/MPD-SBMA)

PHOTOS:

[1] Divers prepare to board a motorized boat that will ferry them to their designated dive sites to collect underwater trash during the “Dive Heroes Festival-Scubasurero” at the Subic Bay Freeport on Dec. 2. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

[2] A couple snorkel near the shore to look for underwater trash while volunteer divers prepare for a dive in deeper waters during the “Dive Heroes Festival-Scubasurero” at the Subic Bay Freeport on Dec. 2. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

08 December 2017

SBMA honors Subic-based SAF Marawi veterans

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) formally honored on Monday the members of the Subic-based Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) contingency team who volunteered for the operations to free Marawi City from the ISIS-led terrorists of the Maute Group.

During the flag ceremony here last Monday, SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma led officers and employees of the agency in recognizing the courage and heroism of each of the 42 members of the 2nd Special Action Battalion who are headquartered at the Naval Magazine Facilities in the Subic Bay Freeport.



“None of us is perfect by nature, but you are perfect in showing us what we can do to defend our country and its people,” Eisma told the police contingent under the command of Police Superintendent Mario Mayames Jr.

“You volunteered to fight the terrorists, and you did a great service to our nation,” Eisma added.

During the recognition ceremony where employees cheered the police officers, Eisma announced that aside from a certificate of commendation, the SBMA will give each policeman P10,000 cash as a token of appreciation for upholding peace and order in the Freeport and other parts of the country.

The SAF were part of the joint military and police forces that ended the war in Marawi after five months of fighting.



For his part, Mayames recalled that before deployment to Marawi, the SAF volunteers underwent a two-week refresher course in combat skills, armaments and equipment. Yet their training in mountain, jungle and urban warfare did not prepare them for the Marawi experience, he added.

“The situation in Marawi was very rare. Unlike before where we conducted urban warfare and our enemies were holed in one or three buildings, in Marawi the enemies were in all the buildings and had a 360-degrees firing range. Our firing range was only 180 degrees,” Mayames said.

Still he noted that after the three months in Marawi, the Subic-based 2nd SAF battalion only suffered two wounded among its 42 members.

Mayames also recounted feeling pity for the devastation suffered by the city. “And I can’t help asking myself, was it really heroism that we did in Marawi?” he added.

“We just went there killing the enemies and (in effect) destroyed all of Marawi. Was it really heroism?” an emotional and teary-eyed Mayames asked.

The SBMA employees cheered and said, “Yes.”

The SAF commander also explained later why it was necessary to bomb and destroy the whole Marawi.

“We could not penetrate each building because of snipers who were holed up for cover underground,” he recalled. “The aerial bombings were necessary to put the enemy at bay so that the soldiers and police could launch an assault against them.” (RAV/MPD-SBMA)


PHOTOS:

[1] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma expresses the agency’s commendation of the courage and heroism of Subic-based SAF officers who volunteered to serve in the operations to free Marawi City from terrorists. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

[3] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma presents the agency’s recognition of the courage and heroism of Subic-based SAF officers who volunteered to serve in the operations to free Marawi City from terrorists. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

07 December 2017

SBMA to support Ayta tribe in biodiversity conservation

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) will be a partner of the Magbukun Ayta tribe here in their effort to protect and preserve their indigenous environment and culture.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma pledged the agency’s support to the Magbukun tribe on Saturday at the launching of the Indigenous Communities Conservation Area (ICCA) under the auspices of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).



The project, which will be implemented with the support of the local government unit of Morong and the Philippine Association for Intercultural Development (PAFID), places the Ayta tribe at the forefront of conservation efforts since they live in the conservation site, which forms a part of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

“We will be giving our all-out support to this endeavor not only because the project will be implemented within the Freeport Zone, but also because we at the SBMA consider environmental protection our fundamental advocacy,” Eisma said at the sidelines of the ceremony.

She recalled that the SBMA has initiated the social-fencing concept at the Freeport to make residents of upland areas in the zone be part of the overall strategy to preserve Subic’s natural environment.



Eisma also noted that the SBMA has been successful in a similar program with the Ambala Ayta tribe at the Pastolan village in the Subic Bay Freeport, for which the agency has been recognized as the best in social responsibility initiative.

“What we have successfully done for the Pastolan Ayta tribe, we also hope to do with the Magbukun folk,” she added.

Under the ICCA program, residents living within or nearby the conservation area will serve as protectors of the environment, while the local government unit will take the lead in implementing conservation and protection activities.



According to the UNDP, ICCAs are spaces de facto governed by indigenous peoples or local communities with evidently positive outcomes for the conservation of biological and cultural diversity.

Some ICCAs are situated in remote ecosystems that have had minimum human influence, while others encompass areas of various regulations and magnitudes within regions strongly affected modified by human occupation.

The ICCAs can be classified as sacred areas or ritual grounds for the indigenous communities residing near it and may include forests, mountains, shorelines, wetlands, fishing areas, and other bodies of water.

The UNDP hopes that through the ICCAs, the continuation, revival or modification of traditional practices or even new initiatives may succeed in protecting and restoring natural resources and cultural values in the face of new threats or opportunities. (JRR/MPD-SBMA)

PHOTOS:

[1] Members of the Magbukun Ayta tribe, assisted by some local government officials, launch the Indigenous Communities Conservation Area (ICCA) in Morong, Bataan on Saturday, Dec. 2. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

[2] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma (center, front row) join members of the Magbukun Ayta tribe during the launching of the Indigenous Communities Conservation Area (ICCA) in Morong, Bataan on Saturday, Dec. 2. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

[3] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma with elderly Ayta members of the Magbukun Ayta tribe during the launching of the Indigenous Communities Conservation Area (ICCA) in Morong, Bataan on Saturday, Dec. 2. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)