Posts in:February 2018 | SubicNewsLink

27 February 2018

SBMA, Thai firm OK feasibility study of major infra projects

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Bangkok-based Mahanakorn Partners Group Co., Ltd. (MPG) for the conduct of studies on the viability of various infrastructure projects proposed for construction inside this premier Freeport.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma and MPG managing partner Luca Bernardinetti on Tuesday signed the agreement here that would allow MPG to conduct studies free of charge on infrastructure undertakings under the proposed “Greater Subic Bay Freeport Multimodal Transport and Access and Logistics Support Projects.”

According to Eisma, the proposed projects are in support of President Duterte’s “Ten Point Agenda” to accelerate infrastructure spending and pump-prime economic development through productivity, trade and investment.

“The projects focus on the different infrastructure developments to be established in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone to catalyze its upgrading towards being a premier free port zone in Asia and the Pacific,” Eisma said.

“We want to help resolve congestion at the Port of Manila and ease traffic gridlock in the metropolis while shifting the momentum of development north toward the corridor of new wealth in Subic and Clark,” she added.

Eisma said that Subic and Clark are now at the epicenter of development as drivers of economic growth in the country.

Part of the study to be conducted will focus on the proposed construction of a 17.273-kilometer bypass road connecting the Subic seaport terminals directly to the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) to provide exclusive routes for cargoes brought in and out of Subic Freeport.

Another project for study is the proposal to build a 17-kilometer bypass road Subic seaport to Segment 7 of the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), a two-lane cargo trucks expressway and railway system, and a 25-kilometer bypass road from Tipo Road in Bataan to Castillejos, Zambales en route to the Redondo Peninsula to open up a 3,000-hectare new industrial site.

The MOU also covers the proposed upgrading of the existing Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) to world-class status, making it a viable alternative to the heavily congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), as well as a strategic transshipment and logistics hub in the Asian region.

Eisma said that under the agreement, the feasibility studies to be conducted by MPG on the proposed projects is free-of-charge and has no future legal or financial commitment from the SBMA.

The agreement between the two parties will remain in force for one year, but may be extended upon mutual consent.

The Mahanakorn Partners Group is a holding company based in Bangkok, Thailand. It is comprised of several firms providing services on business consulting, legal and trade finance, as well as property management and development, among others. (JRR/MPD-SBMA)


SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma and Mahanakorn Partners Group managing partner Luca Bernardinetti sign a memorandum of understanding for the conduct of feasibility studies of major infrastructure projects in the Subic Bay Freeport. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

23 February 2018

Lucio Tan eyes PAL flying school in Subic Freeport

Dr. Lucio Tan, chairman and chief executive officer of Philippine Airlines (PAL), is looking into the establishment here of a flying school under his flagship airlines brand.

The business tycoon flew into the Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) here last Sunday for an ocular inspection of airport facilities, and was welcomed by Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma.

During the visit, Tan inquired about the state of facilities at the airport terminal, as well as other business potentials and tourism facilities that would complement an aviation-related trade.

“He was all smiles since the moment he landed at the SBIA on board his helicopter,” Eisma said. “The SBMA technical working group made a presentation showing the full potential of the Subic airport and I believe he was very much impressed.”

The PAL chairman, along with his entourage, closely inspected the Subic airport terminal, and asked for areas that could possibly be used for restaurants or passenger lounges.

Eisma, meanwhile, briefed him of the design and purpose of the terminal and pointed out that it used to accommodate local and international flights.

“Despite not being fully utilized, the SBIA equipment all work properly. We have kept them in tip-top shape,” Eisma pointed out.

The SBIA, which was completed in 1996 in time for Subic’s hosting of the APEC summit, boasts of a 10,000-square meter passenger terminal that has two gates, two jet ways, a closed-circuit television system, and a 9,000-foot runway.

It also has a military ramp at the southwest area, which is used by US Air Force planes under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the United States. Meanwhile, its midway ramp is being utilized by a flight school here for aircraft parking.

Tan and his group also went on a rolling tour of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, and looked into areas such as the Alava Wharf and the Cubi residential area.

The businessman, who asked if there were enough hotels that could accommodate the possible influx of airline passengers in Subic, was reportedly thrilled over the tourism sites that abound in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

Early this month, leaders of the Hong Kong-based Asian Business Aviation Association said in a forum here that the SBIA could be developed as a business and general aviation (BA/GA) airport to help increase people mobility, as well as boost business operations in the region.

Eisma said the agency is now aggressively promoting Subic as an aviation hub and is entertaining all possible options to maximize the use of its airport facilities.

“It is a challenge to us to get SBIA running. We’re all for these suggestions to turn Subic into an aviation hub that would cater to tourists, as well as traders because that would mean more business for the Freeport,” she added. (JRR/MPD-SBMA)


SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma and Dr. Lucio Tan discuss the potentials of the Subic Bay International Airport when the business magnate visited Subic on Sunday.

16 February 2018

Subic Freeport to host Ad Summit 2018

The country’s biggest annual advertising convention will return here next month with the staging of the 2018 Ad Summit Pilipinas on March 7 to 10 at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center (SBECC).

Atty. Wilma T. Eisma, chairman and administrator of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on Tuesday with officials of the Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies (4As) for the holding of said event here for the third time.

Eisma said the return of Ad Summit Pilipinas to this premier free port “again shows just how much the Subic Bay Freeport has become the top-of-mind location for the biggest event in local advertising industry.”

She noted that the 4As convention had historically brought a record-number of visitors to the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

Under the signed MOA, SBMA will provide the venue and manpower needed in staging Ad Summit Pilipinas, with the agency’s Tourism, Media Production, and Law Enforcement departments providing key support to the organizers.

Eisma said that with an expected 5,000 delegates coming from various sectors, the Ad Summit “is set to further push tourism figures in Subic this summer.”

“And we will be ready for this,” she added, pointing out that Freeport establishments could accommodate the expected number of delegates, as well as their families who might want to tour the Subic Bay Freeport Zone at the same time.

Ad Summit Pilipinas 2018 overall chair Norman Agatep said this year’s event will be themed “DIY Your ROI,” with the original meaning of Return of Investment creatively repurposed into topics like “Return on Ideas”, “Return on Innovation” and “Return on Impact.”

He added that organizers already have a full line-up of speakers for the four-day event, who are expected to wow the crowd with lectures on new paradigms and innovative creative solutions.

“We are gathering some of the most brilliant minds in the world to enlighten attendees on how best to measure brand success in the fast-evolving marketing communication industry,” Agatep said.

“Monetary profit is no longer the only relevant metric today,” he added. “It’s time to DIY your ROI.”

Ad Summit participants are also expected to watch for the Kidlat Awards, which are given out by the Creative Guild of the Philippines.

Fast on its way to becoming the most prestigious creative advertising competition in the country, Kidlat recognizes campaigns and efforts that perfectly bring themes such as “DIY Your ROI” into reality. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)


SBMA Chairman Wilma T. Eisma (second from right) signs an agreement for the staging of the 2018 Ad Summit Pilipinas in the Subic Bay Freeport with (from left): 4As President Sue Ann Nolido, Ad Summit 2018 Chairman Norman Agatep, and 4As Philippines Chairman Bong Pacia. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

Subic becomes next cruise ship playground in Asia with ‘Costa Atlantica’ visit

The cruise ships are coming to Subic Bay!

Warmly welcomed by the Subic Bay community, the Italian-flagged cruise ship Costa Atlantica arrived here at 7:00 in the morning Saturday bringing in more than 2,000 passengers, mostly Chinese, to the Freeport.

Costa Atlantica’s visit is just the first of some 15 cruise ship visits expected in this Freeport for the year.

“Subic’s time to become the next cruise ship playground of Asia has already begun” said SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma who, along with SBMA officials and members of the Board, led the community in welcoming the cruise ship at the Alava Pier.

“We are very excited,” Eisma said. “I hope that this will spark our dream of making Subic a part of the inter-island itinerary of international cruise ships.”

Costa Atlantica’s arrival is a litmus test for Subic, which is raring to draw foreign tourists to the various attractions on its shores.

Eisma had earlier announced the arrival in Subic of the Royal Caribbean cruise ship MS Ovation of the Seas in June, to be followed by the Voyager of the Seas in August.

Eisma said the Subic Bay Freeport promises to offer the best tourism facilities and services for tourists from the arriving ships, with memorable and tailored-tourism experiences to meet the expectation of visitors.

The visiting Costa Atlantica is an 85,619-ton, 292.56-meter Spirit-class cruise ship owned and operated by Costa Crociere (Costa Cruises), an Italian cruise line based in Genoa, Italy and owned by Carnival Corporation & Plc.

The Costa Cruises brand currently operates 15 cruise ships that provide cruise holidays in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Caribbean, Indian Ocean, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and South America.

Costa Atlantica is renowned for having all of its decks named after the movies of Italian movie director Federico Fellini. Each deck is said to be elegantly adorned with Italian-inspired decors of arts and furniture that brings its passengers to the admiration of wonderful arts, lights and scenery day and night.

The ship is described to be full of large, open spaces offering all kinds of entertainment, from the Caruso Theatre to the Disco Dante, to the fashionable shops in Via della Spiga. (RAV/RBB/MPD-SBMA)


[1] The M/V Costa Atlantica, a 85,619-ton Spirit-class cruise ship with around 2,000 passenger tourists, mostly Chinese nationals, arrives in Subic Bay Freeport Saturday (Feb. 10) for a port visit. 

[2] Wellwishers welcome the arrival of M/V Costa Atlantica, a 85,619-ton Spirit-class cruise ship with around 2,000 passenger tourists mostly Chinese nationals at the Alava pier of Subic Bay Freeport. 

[3] Costa Atlantica Captain Enzo Di Nuncio (middle) hands over a scale replica of the ship to SBMA Chief Atty. Wilma Eisma upon the arrival of the famed cruise ship at the Alava Wharf Saturday (Feb. 10). The arrival of the 2,000 passenger cruise ship marks the start of Subic Freeport's prominence as the next cruise ship playground in Asia. 


15 February 2018

SBMA releases P147-million LGU shares

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) recently released a total of P147 million representing revenue shares to eight local government units (LGUs) adjacent to the Subic Bay Freeport.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the revenue shares were given to help finance development projects in health, education, peace and order, and livelihood programs so that the contiguous communities can keep pace with developments in the Subic Bay Freeport and Special Economic Zone.

Based on SBMA records, Olongapo City received the highest revenue share with P34.35 million, followed by the municipality of Subic, Zambales, with P22.46 million, and Dinalupihan, Bataan, with P18.32 million.

The other municipalities in Zambales that received the LGU share were Castillejos, with P13.69 million; San Marcelino, P17.66 million; and San Antonio, P12.65 million.

On the other hand, Morong and Hermosa towns in Bataan received P12.79 million and P15.31 million, respectively.

The shares were personally received from Chairman Eisma by Mayors Rolen Paulino of Olongapo, Jay Khonghun of Subic, Jose Angelo Dominguez of Castillejos, Elvis Soria of San Marcelino, Estela Antipolo of San Antonio, and Joseph Inton of Hermosa.

Eisma said the P147.22 million distributed last week represented LGU shares for the second half of 2017. The amount was 6.96 percent lower than the P150.46 distributed for the same period last year.

“SBMA is continuously working on every possible means to attract more investors to create more jobs and increase the LGU shares,” Eisma said during the turnover at the SBMA head office last Friday.

However, she urged the LGUs to help the SBMA develop estates in their respective areas and to start planning for the extension of the Freeport’s fenced-in areas because the SBMA is already running out of space to meet the space requirement of new and bigger investors.

“If we could no longer accept new investors, the LGU shares from SBMA would not improve further, and, worse, could even diminish,” she noted.

“We have to find ways to extend the Freeport area, so that we could grow and develop more businesses and create more livelihood opportunities for local residents,” she added.

Locators and investors operating within the Subic Bay Freeport remit to the SBMA percent of their gross income. Of the five percent gross revenue, three percent goes to the national treasury, while two percent is distributed by the SBMA among the eight neighboring LGUs.

The LGU share is computed based on population, 50 percent; land area, 25 percent, and equal sharing, 25 percent. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)


SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma with Zambales and Bataan local government executives who received LGU shares from the SBMA (L-R): Mayor Jay Khonghun, Mayor Rolen Paulino, Mayor Jose Angelo Dominguez, Chairman Wilma T. Eisma, Mayor Estela Antipolo, Mayor Elvis Soria, Mayor Joseph Inton, and SBMA Director Julius Escalona.

14 February 2018

Subic Bay commits to business aviation

As general and business aviation are slowly being squeezed out from Manila International Airport, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is hoping to capture this opportunity and has committed its airport to being a hub for business aviation, similar to Seletar Airport in Singapore.

“My vision is to make Subic Bay International Airport a business aviation airport, as well for general aviation, MRO, and charter flights," said Wilma Eisma, the chairperson and administrator of SBMA. “We can get spillover from neighboring airports like Clark, but I would rather court GA/BA heavily and have a niche for them to attract tourists with curated experiences.”

She told AIN during an Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA) visit to Subic Bay that they are in the process of privatizing the airport. The process is under guidance from the U.S. Trade Development Agency on the best methods. The aim is to complete the study this year and start privatizing by 2019, before the end of the Duterte administration in five years.

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06 February 2018

SBMA to host 18 major events in 2018

It is going to be a spectacular year for the Subic Bay Freeport. This is what Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma predicted it would be, as she announced several major events that are lined up in Subic this year.

Eisma said that as of Monday, Jan. 29, the SBMA has already calendared 18 major events that include cruise ship visits, national conferences, sports competitions, and festivals, aside from the regular tourism activities that the SBMA, through its Tourism Department, would be managing.

“Subic tourism industry is picking up again, just like in the early years of the Freeport when almost every tourist is looking towards visiting Subic. Now it is happening again,” Eisma said.

She also noted that among the event headliners this year, some will be happening for the first time here: the arrival of two of the biggest cruise ships in the world, the “Ovation of the Seas” and “Voyager of the Seas” onJune 3 and August 25, respectively, and the staging of the Century Tuna IRONMAN Philippines Triathlon in June, which will be the first-ever full distance IRONMAN race in the country.

Eisma said the SBMA is expecting at least 43,000 local and foreign tourists here because of these events, with some 10,000 foreign tourists arriving on board the cruise ships alone.

She added that the Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies of the Philippines (4AsP) will be bringing in around 5,000 delegates to the Ad Summit Pilipinas, which shall be held in Subic for the third time.

On the other hand, TF Adventure Travel, Inc., is expected to draw about 6,000 participants for the Summer Siren Festival 2018 Year 2, which will be held here on May 11 to 13. The Summer Siren Festival is a non-stop gig-and-party event that is popular among young professionals, as well as students on summer vacation.

According to Jem Camba, head of the SBMA Tourism Department, there were more sports activities scheduled in Subic this year. The first ones were the National Bicycle Organization, PhilCycling and PRU Life UK’s PRUride PH 2018 held on Jan. 11-14, and the Triathlon Association of the Philippines’ National Age Group Triathlon on Jan. 28.

Meanwhile, Run Bike Swim Incorporated will hold the Tri United 1 Standard Distance Triathlon on Feb. 25, with about 1,000 participants; followed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Beach Volleyball Championships on February 27 to March 2. Camba said the NCAA plans to make Subic the home of its annual beach volleyball event, as it “has proven to be safe and ideal for sports activities.”

Subic will also see spectacular action with the Subic-Boracay Race organized by the Saturday Afternoon Gentlemen Sailing Club this February, as well as the Boracay Cup Regatta and Commodore’s Cup Regatta in March and April, with about 250 sailors participating in each event.

The Freeport will also host this year the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TAP) - NTT ASTC Subic Bay International Triathlon on April 21-11, with about 1,000 participants; Sunrise Events, Inc.’s Century Tuna Ironman Triathlon Full Distance Ironman 70.3, Superbods Run, and Ironkids on June 1-3, with about 2,000 participants; and TAP’s Youth Olympic Games Qualifying Race for Asia/ Southeast Asian Triathlon Association Championships on June 17, with 230 contestants.

In July, Run Bike Swim Incorporated will stage Tri United 2, with about 1,000 participants; Gold Gym’s Muscle Contest Philippines on Sept. 8, with about 5,000 contestants and delegates; Run Bike Swim’s Trek 100 Challenge on Oct. 21, with 1,000 participants; Sunrise Events’ T150 Triathlon, Ironkids and Fun Run on Nov. 3-4, with 1,500 participants; Xtribe, Inc.’s Subic International Marathon, with 1,500 expected contestants; and the National Duathlon Championship, on Nov. 11, with 300 participants.

The Subic Freeport will also be the venue for the Couples for Christ’s World Youth Congress on April 20-22, with some 3,500 persons attending; and the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals’ 38thNational Anniversary Celebration and General Assembly on April 27-28, with 6,000 delegates. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)

05 February 2018

SBMA, BOC close ranks to beat smuggling

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) threw its full support to the government’s anti-smuggling campaign by signing a cooperation agreement with the Bureau of Customs (BOC) to improve the latter’s capability in flushing out illegal activities in the Port of Subic.

SBMA Chairperson and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma signed an accord last Friday with Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña for the construction of a new building here to house the Port of Subic’s BOC office, as well as a training facility for the proposed Customs Academy.

The Philippines is reportedly one the few remaining countries in the world that lacked an official school for its Customs personnel.

“We’re a hundred percent in support of this project because we are aware of what this means to the Philippine economy, to law enforcement, as well as to the local industries and image of the Subic Bay Freeport as a center of commerce,” Eisma said.

“Smuggling bleeds the economy dry, and everything we have been building in Subic all these years would come to naught if illegal activities like this were not stopped,” she added.

Eisma pointed out that the SBMA, particularly its Law Enforcement Department, has been working closely with the BOC in combatting smuggling.

Last December, SBMA law enforcers foiled an attempt to bring out of the Subic Freeport some P40-million worth of expensive liquors. The agency’s Seaport Department also blacklisted brokers found to be involved in that smuggling operation, Eisma said.

Eisma and Lapeña, along with Port of Subic District Collector Fidel Villanueva and Philippine International Trading Corp. President and CEO Dave Almarinez, also inspected on Friday three shipments that were seized by the Subic BOC for various violations of customs laws.

The first shipment involved a 10x20 container van of Thailand white rice with an estimated value of P10 million that lacked the required import permit from the National Food Administration.

Lapeña said the supposed consignee, the Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC), which is the trading arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), had denied ownership of the said through its President, Dave Almarinez.

The Subic BOC also confiscated 18 units of Vespa scooters from Italy, a part of a 112-unit shipment worth P30 million, which were seized for gross undervaluation and falsification of import documents. Lapeña said the undervaluation resulted in a discrepancy of more than 70 percent of the dutie4s and taxes due thereon.

The third shipment consisted of 8,865 bottles of expensive liquors and spirits that the SBMA turned over to the BOC after seizure in late December.

Lapeña said the liquors were initially admitted into the Subic Bay Freeport for storage and eventual re-exportation, but were boarded in a close van in an attempt to smuggle them out of Subic to avoid payment of duties and taxes.

In the same day, the SBMA and the BOC recognized the top 10 companies in the Subic Bay Freeport that contributed the most revenue to the Port of Subic last year.

“These are two side of the same coin,” Eisma said at the sidelines of the awarding ceremony at the BOC office here. “We seize contraband to deter smuggling, but we also praise those who follow the law and help us grow the Subic economy.”

Among those cited as top revenue contributors in Subic are: Micro Dragon Petroleum Inc., United Auctioneers Inc., Filoil Logistics Corp., PTT Philippines Corp., Petron Corp., and Murami Subic Trading Corp. (HEE/MPD-SBMA)


[1] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma and Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña sign an agreement for the construction in the Subic Bay Freeport of a building to house the Customs office in the Port of Subic and a training facility for the proposed Customs Academy. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

[2] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma joins an inspection of smuggled Thailand white rice seized at the port of Subic with (from left): Port of Subic District Collector Fidel Villanueva, Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña, and Philippine International Trading Corp. President and CEO Dave Almarinez. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

[3] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma (standing in second row) joins Customs Commissioner Isidro Lapeña and other officials of the Port of Subic in recognizing the top 10 companies that contributed the most revenue to the Port of Subic in 2017. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)