10 June 2013

Top Timor-Leste officials visit Subic Bay Freeport

Top officials of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste visited the Subic Bay Freeport last Saturday as part of the five-day state visit to the country of Timor-Leste Prime Minister Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Roberto Garcia, along with members of the SBMA board of directors, welcomed the delegation and briefed them on developments in the free port.

The delegation was composed of Jose Luis Guterres, Minister of State and of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation; Bendito Freitas, Minister of Education; Gastão de Sousa, Minister for Public Works; Mariano Assanami Sabino, Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries; Francisco Kalbudi Lay, Minister for Tourism; Dirce Carolina de F. Soares, Director for ASEAN Affairs; and Julio Martins, National Director of Finance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Garcia oriented them on the history of the Subic Freeport, its development into one of the premier free ports in Asia, its facilities, and the incentives given to investors here.

The SBMA official also told the visitors how the Subic agency was able to make a financial turnaround last year and recover from the net loss in the previous years through sound fiscal management.

The Timor-Leste officials said they were particularly interested on how the SBMA conserves the natural resources in the free port, particularly the forests and coastal areas, and how the community takes part in environmental protection.

The delegation was also interested on how SBMA promotes eco-tourism, which they see as a potential attraction for Timor-Leste, and how it promotes Subic as a shipbuilding center among other countries.

The Timor-Leste officials also toured the Subic Freeport after the briefing with Garcia.

Gusmão, who was unable to join the delegation during their visit to Subic, arrived in the country last June 5 for a five-day state visit in connection with his country’s bid to join the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Gusmão has met with President Benigno Aquino at the Malacañang palace and the two heads of state discussed areas of mutual interest and cooperation in such areas as education, trade and investment, infrastructure, and defense. (FMD/MPD-SBMA)

SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia (right) welcomes officials of Timor-Leste led by Minister Jose Luis Guterres, Minister of State and of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, during their visit to the Subic BayFreeport on Saturday.