13 November 2013

Subic Freeport, Nayong Pilipino turning in profits

CLARK FREEPORT—The financial viability of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and the Nayong Pilipino sa Clark Expo (Nayong Pilipino) appears to have turned for the better lately in spite of prevailing global economic uncertainties brought about by slow-downs in First World markets (the US and Europe) and political turmoil besetting the Middle East.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Roberto V. Garcia reported that the country’s first free-port zone sustained a profitable operation this year that began in 2012 ending a losing streak since it opened for business in 1992.

But due to increased expenditures, this year’s SBMA gains would somewhat be lower than last year’s P800 million on the back of projected year-round total operating revenues of P1.476 billion. In 2012 operating revenues reached P1.151 billion.

On the other hand, the losing Nayong Pilipino also began posting moderate gains beginning in 2012, when gross revenues soared to P24 million.

Nayong Pilipino trustee and Executive Director lawyer Apolonio B. Anota Jr. said the facility is now stronger financially both in gross and net revenues.

Anota traced the turnaround in the cultural-cum-resort venture of Nayong Pilipino in this free port to increased visitor arrivals in the past 20 months from a measly annual number of 20,000 to 300,000 as a result of improved management and introduction of new attractions.

Both Garcia and Anota were guests in Friday’s double media forum “Balitaan,” hosted weekly by the Capampangan in Media Inc. at its headquarters at the Bale Balita (House of News) here.

Garcia reported that locators’ committed investments in the SBMA this year could hit P24.8 billion, a hefty jump from the preceding year’s P2.3 billion.

The SBMA’s current 1,000 locators, which provide some 89.921-percent employment opportunities, are forecast to register a 33-percent dip in export receipts to $650 million this year from $963 million the previous year due to the global economic slowdown.

But there’s excitement in the Subic free port, Garcia said, brought about by the rising number of prospective locators, as well as those that have actually implemented their plans, led by the rising P20-billion complex of Resom Resort City Subic and the expansion of the floating terminal of Vale Holding Shipping Pte. Ltd., which services major iron-ore suppliers to China.

The SBMA, together with this free port, has been picked to host the senior ministerial meeting of next year’s scheduled Apec summit the Philippines is hosting, which could trigger the realization of the planned Subic-Clark business corridor, Garcia said.

As envisioned, the land on both sides of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway connecting Clark and Subic is to be developed into commercial-industrial areas to attract more local and foreign business locators.

“We’re also looking forward to generating fresh revenues from the prospective transfer of some of the operation of the Philippine Air Force to Subic,” Garcia said.

With its improving financial muscle, Garcia expressed optimism that the free port could finally pursue the programmed upgrading of its port and other facilities, as well as an increase in the compensation of SBMA personnel.

Sources said that the SBMA management has submitted to the Office of the President its proposed P65-million wage-hike package for SBMA employees. (Ashley Manabat, Business Mirror)