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Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (MPD-SBMA)

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09 March 2012

SBMA mulls redevelopment of Subic airport into world-class tourism facility

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is considering the possibility of turning the Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) into a major world-class tourism destination.

According to SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia, the operation and maintenance of the Subic airport cost SBMA huge money, leading the SBMA to think of sustainable alternatives like converting it into an integrated family-oriented tourism facility.

Garcia said there are compelling reasons behind the idea to redevelop the SBIA, which he admitted is the most challenging concern the SBMA is facing.

“The Subic airport is superfluous because of Clark, and it is losing. And lastly, it is one of the last remaining prime real estate assets of SBMA,” he reasoned out.

“Huge problems require huge actions for huge solutions. The plan is very bold and very ambitious, but with the support of everyone, this plan will come through,” Garcia added.

The SBMA official also noted that the agency will not spend a single peso on the project because it will be implemented through a joint venture where SBMA will use the value of the land, currently occupied by the airport, as capital.

Since the project requires a big amount of money, the SBMA is hoping to bid the project internationally to attain international standards for the plan and design, he said.

Garcia explained that the basic idea is to turn the airport into something like Sentosa, a popular family-oriented resort in Singapore. The redeveloped SBIA will still be accessible because Subic is now just 45 minutes away from the international airport at the Clark Freeport because of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway.

The planned leisure complex will house at least two or three international theme parks, a new golf course, duty free shops, hotels and casino, an entertainment complex, a promenade, and a new marina and yacht club, among others.

“The opportunities that exist today are very tremendous, believe me,” Garcia said. “And with the help of every hand, our ambition of turning our airport into a major international tourism destination will come true.” (RAV/MPD-SBMA)

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