06 April 2010

PLDT, SBMA ready Subic’s emergence as ICT hub

Officials of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Corp. (PLDT) and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) have formally sealed a partnership to put this free port at the frontline of the country’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector.

Subic Bay’s take on knowledge-based industries was recently boosted by a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by the SBMA, PLDT, and its subsidiary PLDT Subic Telecom (Subictel) at the PLDT main office in Makati City.

The MOU, which would pave the way for tripartite collaborative projects, was signed by SBMA administrator Armand Arreza and PLDT Subictel chairman & PLDT senior vice-president Ernesto Alberto, PLDT first vice-president Nerissa Ramos, and PLDT Subictel president Dennis Magbatoc.

Arreza said the MOU calls for the promotion of Subic Bay Freeport’s IT capabilities through the SBMA-PLDT-Subictel caravan project, which will boast of PLDT’s recent ICT investments here worth more than P40-million.

Under the said project, the P20-million Innovation Laboratory (Innolab) unveiled by Subictel in October 2009, will be an essential part of this free port’s investor tour program. It will serve as a one-stop showcase of Subic Bay’s ICT capability in terms of infrastructure, and also highlight the available and “futuristic” IT solutions of PLDT for various industries.

On SBMA’s part, Arreza announced that the agency would establish an ICT park on a 17-hectare property here to put to use PLDT’s “ready-to-use” telecoms solutions and ICT infrastructure. These would include the Next Generation Network (NGN) fiber optics cable connecting this free port to Manila and the entire Luzon grid.

“Capacity comes first before opportunity,” Arreza said during the MOU-signing ceremony. “They (PLDT), too, saw our vision for the Subic-Clark economic corridor, and they acted in accordance with that vision.”

Arreza also revealed that international names in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry have been prospecting for business opportunities in Subic.

“It’s only a matter of time before the Subic Bay Freeport becomes synonymous with BPO and IT-related services, like back-office outsourcing, software and games development, engineering design, and digital animation, among others,” said Arreza.

PLDT’s Alberto, meanwhile, reaffirmed his company’s belief in the potentials of Subic Bay as an ICT hub, adding that since its establishment here, PLDT has invested “quite tremendously in the Subic-Clark corridor especially in the past few years.”

He said Subic and Clark have been “fibered” with the NGN technology, which increased network coverage and enabled new and innovative services to emerge in the market.

Through the Subictel Innolab, the fifth of its kind in the country, the public is also able to access “revolutionary business solutions and the latest ICT trends,” Alberto added.

“The Subic-Clark corridor will be the more prominent, if not the most prominent economic corridor this country will ever see in the next five to ten years,” Alberto also said. This explains the group’s investment in the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and their “aggressive” bidding for the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx), he added.

He said the PLDT group also sees the entry of Texas Instruments and Samsung in the Subic-Clark corridor as encouraging developments in the ICT sector.

Alberto added that PLDT officials “would like to partner with Mr. Arreza and the SBMA team for globally-competitive industries in the areas of cutting-edge healthcare, retail and trade, tourism, logistics and in the maritime industry.”

“Subic, in my view, is the place to be in the Philippines,” Alberto declared. “And by building my second home in Subic two years ago, I have put my money where my mouth is,” he quipped. (SBMA Corporate Communications)


PLDT and SBMA officials seal an agreement to promote the Subic Bay Freeport as in ICT hub.