27 March 2013

$70m pledged to Subic Bay Freeport in 2012

The Subic Bay Freeport recorded $70 million in committed investments in 2012 with a total of 351 new projects, raising its total cumulative investments since 1992 to $7.9 billion, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Roberto Garcia said in a recent speech.

In contrast, Subic’s net committed investments in 2011 only reached $51 million, Garcia said.

In 2012 it recorded a freight-on-board (FOB) value of $1.927 billion, or a 133-percent increase over the 2011 figure of $0.826 billion.

The biggest exporters in 2012 were South Korean shipbuilder Hanjin Heavy Industries Corp.-Phils. with $1.1 billion, Japanese precision motor manufacturer Sanyo Denki with $0.144 billion and Japanese wood products specialist Juken Sangyo with $0.083 billion.

Garcia also announced positive figures in employment generation, with a total of 89,104 jobs created in 2012, compared with 88,957 in 2011. Most of the new jobs were in the services sector with 42.64 percent, and shipbuilding and marine-related sector with 30.61 percent.

The Subic free port remitted a total of P7.615 billion last year, of which P6.329 billion was collected by the Bureau of Customs, and P1.286 billion by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

The SBMA recorded last year a 170-percent increase in net income, with P811 million, the highest profit the agency had made in its 20-year history. This also allowed SBMA to increase its net operating profit by 91 percent last year, or from P328 million in 2011 to P628 million in 2012.

In his speech, Garcia outlined a six-point strategic plan to fully turn the agency’s direction toward “building the new Subic.”

He said the plan calls for the SBMA, as manager of the Subic Bay Freeport, to maximize the land-use potentials of the free port; aggressively pursue the use of Subic as alternate port to decongest Manila; develop the airport for general aviation, aircraft repair, jet charters and other allied aviation activities; fully exploit tourism potentials by creating new attractions and destinations, promoting MICE, sports and theme parks to attract more tourists; invest in new equipment and infrastructure needed to support the SBMA’s strategic initiatives; and improve the agency’s financial performance to provide funds for the strategic plan.

Garcia added that the SBMA expects to further develop the tourism industry here this year, since most of the projects proposed for implementation in 2013 are tourism-related.

He said the free port, and the entire province of Zambales in general, was identified by the Department of Tourism in December last year as one of the top destinations in the country because of the availability of quality-standard tourist facilities in the area and the high volume of arrivals among local and foreign tourists.

The positive developments in the tourism sector, Garcia added, led to a 513-percent increase in the number of leisure-related new and expansion projects in 2012, the same year when the Subic Bay Freeport was cited by DOT-Region III as “Premier Convention Capital of Central Luzon.”

He reported that in order to maximize the land-use potentials of the Subic Freeport, the SBMA is expanding the Subic territory at the Redondo Peninsula to accommodate new shipbuilders, as well as in Hermosa, Bataan, for ecotourism projects.

Garcia said that because of the SBMA’s aggressive marketing of the Subic Bay International Airport, Astro Air International Inc. will open this June the Taiwan-Subic-Taiwan and Subic-Boracay-Subic commercial routes.

Aiming to duplicate its good financial performance last year, the SBMA is set to undertake more necessary measures to ensure profitability and sustainable operations.

These measures include creation of a joint SBMA-BOC Technical Working Group to more effectively combat smuggling; streamlining of business processes to reduce requirements and improve delivery of services; amending existing agreements with other agencies or implementation of new agreements; and enhancing safety culture through community watch campaign and installation of law-enforcement surveillance and security systems. (Henry EmpeƱo, BusinessMirror)