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14 December 2017

SBMA inks US tie-ups for Subic port expansion

Working overtime to realize further development and expansion of the Port of Subic, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is now networking with various ports in the United States to gain strategic knowledge and best practices for local application.

In a meeting with port officials in Los Angeles and Virginia Beach during a Philippine trade mission in the United States last month, SBMA Chairman and Administrator discussed Subic’s port expansion plans and business potentials, as well as the necessary upgrades to make Subic a global maritime trade player.


“We’re definitely moving seriously now into the expansion and development mode for the Port of Subic because this is what Subic Bay is all about—global maritime business,” Eisma explained.

“We may have the most strategic location and we may have the best potential in the region, but if our assets remained underdeveloped and underutilized, we’d end up zero just the same. So this is very, very important for Subic—it must start now, and it must be completed within just a few years,” she added.

Eisma said that in partnership with sister-ports, Subic will be developing a workable plan and a realizable timetable.

“Along this line, I have signed last month a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with John Reinhart, the CEO of Virginia Port Authority, for us to share best practices both in port development and trade promotion,” the SBMA official said.


“Likewise, we would be signing in March 2018 a similar agreement with the Los Angeles Port Authority (LAPA), so that we can learn technical expertise, particularly in break-bulk operation and cruise ship terminal operation,” Eisma added.

Eisma said that Jim MacLellan, who is LAPA Trade Development Director, has recommended to maximize Subic’s potential to be the next cruise ship playground in the ASEAN region, not only by increasing cruise ship arrival and port revenues, but also by developing downstream industries like arts and crafts, culture, music and related industries to promote a sustainable cruise tourism program.

She said that a direct port-to-port service route from the Port of Los Angeles to Subic Bay Freeport has also been discussed. This is being considered to cater to container port traffic demand between the West Coast and the Philippines, as well as increase efficiency and lower the cost of shipping.

Eisma added that the consolidation of cargoes in the West Coast is being considered with the Port of Subic Bay emerging as the possible gateway and transhipment point in the Philippines.


Eisma also said that the plan by SBMA and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) to draft and integrate their master plans for the next phase of development of the Subic-Clark Economic Corridor “fits nicely in the overall design for Subic port.”

Other port-related developments from the November trade mission to the United States include the proposed use of the Port of Subic for the distribution of agricultural products.

According to SBMA Port Marketing Manager Ronnie Yambao, who joined Eisma in the trade mission, a Mexican company supplying avocado to Japan would like to use Subic’s proximity to Japan as a unique selling proposition.

Yambao added that there was also a proposal to use Subic for cacao farming and production and for eventual distribution worldwide, as well as for the shipment of US-bound commodities produced by manufacturers based in Palawan and Bicol.

Yambao added that the plan by Mober, the latest mobile app-enabled, on-demand cargo-delivery company, to launch its service in Subic Bay in June 2018 would further increase the attractiveness of Subic as a transhipment and distribution hub. (HEE/MPD-SBMA)

PHOTOS:

[1] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma signs an agreement with Virginia Port Authority CEO John Reinhart to facilitate Subic’s strategic objective of expanding its global port network.

[2] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma, along with other members of the Philippine trade delegation to the United States, observes shipping activities at the busy Los Angeles port complex.

[3] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma joins other members of the Philippine trade delegation to the United States at the Port of Los Angeles.

Subic Freeport eyes major investments from US groups

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is now aiming to tap Filipino-American companies and private groups in the United States to gain fresh key investment packages for the industrial and maritime sectors in the Subic Bay Freeport.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma, who joined a trade mission organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), said she has met with several prospective investors from the Federation of Philippine American Chambers of Commerce (FPACC) during a week-long swing among key business centers from the East Coast to the West Coast last month.



The FPACC, which has 42 chapters in the United States and around 5,000 member-companies, bridges U.S.-Philippines trade and commerce, and promotes goodwill and mutually beneficial projects between the two countries. It renewed its memorandum of understanding with the PCCI on Nov. 11 in a ceremony in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“It’s a very promising situation as far as the FPACC members are concerned, and we have at least two major investment prospects and two port agreements as a result of the trip,” Eisma said.

“We are looking forward to more engagement with these interested parties so that we can finally clinch a business deal with them,” she added.

Eisma said that an estimated $1-billion investment is being considered by an American-Chinese venture to develop a portion of the Redondo Peninsula in Subic for a possible industrial, maritime and mixed-use complex that will generate more jobs and economic opportunities for the country.



Aside from this, Eisma said that a company based in California is also planning a $20-million investment for a waste-to-energy project and related renewable energy projects in the Subic Bay Freeport.

During the trade mission, Eisma also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Virginia Port Authority CEO and Executive Director John Reinhart to facilitate Subic’s strategic objective of expanding its global network and promote the growth of trade and commerce between the two ports.

In Los Angeles, meanwhile, Eisma worked out an agreement with Trade Development Director Jim MacLellan of the Los Angeles Port Authority for the sharing of expertise in port development, particularly break-bulk shipping and cruise ship terminal operation.


An MOU is set to be signed in March 2018 to jumpstart this initiative, Eisma added.

The SBMA chief also announced that two technical supervisors from Google, which operates the Internet’s most utilized search engine, will visit the Subic Bay Freeport in June 2018 to conduct robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) seminars for students in and around the Subic community as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) program.

Eisma said this will be a significant development, as the SBMA plans to eventually develop in Subic a center of excellence in this field.

Trade Commissioner Celynne Layug of the Philippine Trade Investment Center in San Francisco has reportedly suggested another trade mission in March 2018 to promote the Subic Bay Freeport among businessmen in San Francisco and key cities in the West Coast.

Meanwhile, in the course of the business mission, the SBMAS chief was interviewed by two local media outfits—one based in Chicago on Nov. 11, and another in Arizona on Nov. 12 during the PCCI- FPACC event. Both interviews focused on the Subic Bay Freeport success story and the economic miracle created here in the last 25 years.

In Chicago, Eisma was also chosen by a publication as finalist in the “Chicago Filipino-Asian American Hall of Fame Award in Government.” Among the past awardees in its list was former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez. (HEE/MPD-SBMA)

PHOTOS:

[1] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma discusses business opportunities in infrastructure and energy in the Subic Bay Freeport to prospective investors from the Federation of Philippine American Chambers of Commerce during a recent Philippine trade mission to the United States

[2] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma, along with SBMA Seaport Marketing manager Ronnie Yambao (right), discusses expansion plans for the Port of Subic with Los Angeles Port Authority Trade Development Director Jim MacLellan during a recent Philippine trade mission to the United States

[3] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma receives a symbolic key to Virginia Beach from Mayor William D. Sessoms, Jr. during a recent Philippine trade mission to the United States.

09 December 2017

Subic divers clean up bay in ‘Scubasurero Festival’

Scuba divers from the Subic Bay area conducted volunteer community work on Saturday to clean Subic Bay under the “Dive Heroes Festival-Scubasurero” event, bringing into the shore more than 50 kilos of various wastes that have found their way into the water.

The annual “Scubasurero,” which is a play on scuba and basurero, the Filipino word for garbage collector, enlists the help of volunteers in cleaning Subic Bay, particularly the area in the vicinity of Grande Island.



Around 200 volunteers, along with 50 certified divers, participated in the clean-up drive organized by the Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium, Inc. (SBMEI), operator of the Ocean Adventure marine park and Camayan Beach Resort, and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).

Scuba-diving groups such as the Subic Bay Dive Association, Arizona, Boardwalk Dive Center, Johann's, Deep Blue Scuba and Wow Shark contributed their personnel and resources for the event.

Under “Scubasurero”, volunteers working on the shoreline collected a total of 7 kilos of nets, 9 kilos of ropes, 10 kilos of plastic, 3 kilos of styropor packaging, 1.5 kilos of plastic bottle, and 5 kilos of plastic.



Meanwhile, the underwater team of divers hauled in 6 kilos of rubber slippers, 5 kilos of plastic, and 11 kilos of bottle after some 40 minutes of dive in 14-meter deep waters at the Camayan reef area, and near Grande Island.

SBMA Chairperson and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma, who graced the activity to encourage the participants, thanked everyone involved in the event and emphasized their invaluable role in environment protection.

“We only have one home and this is our home. What you are trying to do here is a testament to what I am trying to say. I hope you'll continue to do it," Eisma said.

The SBMA chief added that she would like to join the next “Scubasurero” event. "Hopefully, next time I'll join you. I'll go back to diving again," she said.

The “Scubasurero” event was held in celebration of the third anniversary of SBMEI’s Camayan Divers PADI Five Star Dive Resort. The clean-up activity was spearheaded by the Camayan divers in cooperation with Project AWARE and the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force.

Camayan Divers officer-in-charge Juanito Soriano also announced after the clean-up that his group will donate P10,000 to Project AWARE, a global network of scuba divers and water enthusiasts who seek to promote protection of the world's water resources.

“Together, there's a lot we can accomplish,” Soriano said, dedicating the “Scubasurero” event to Project AWARE. “We are giving divers a chance to extend their passion for the care of the environment," he added. (JRR/MPD-SBMA)

PHOTOS:

[1] Divers prepare to board a motorized boat that will ferry them to their designated dive sites to collect underwater trash during the “Dive Heroes Festival-Scubasurero” at the Subic Bay Freeport on Dec. 2. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

[2] A couple snorkel near the shore to look for underwater trash while volunteer divers prepare for a dive in deeper waters during the “Dive Heroes Festival-Scubasurero” at the Subic Bay Freeport on Dec. 2. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

08 December 2017

SBMA honors Subic-based SAF Marawi veterans

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) formally honored on Monday the members of the Subic-based Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF) contingency team who volunteered for the operations to free Marawi City from the ISIS-led terrorists of the Maute Group.

During the flag ceremony here last Monday, SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma led officers and employees of the agency in recognizing the courage and heroism of each of the 42 members of the 2nd Special Action Battalion who are headquartered at the Naval Magazine Facilities in the Subic Bay Freeport.



“None of us is perfect by nature, but you are perfect in showing us what we can do to defend our country and its people,” Eisma told the police contingent under the command of Police Superintendent Mario Mayames Jr.

“You volunteered to fight the terrorists, and you did a great service to our nation,” Eisma added.

During the recognition ceremony where employees cheered the police officers, Eisma announced that aside from a certificate of commendation, the SBMA will give each policeman P10,000 cash as a token of appreciation for upholding peace and order in the Freeport and other parts of the country.

The SAF were part of the joint military and police forces that ended the war in Marawi after five months of fighting.



For his part, Mayames recalled that before deployment to Marawi, the SAF volunteers underwent a two-week refresher course in combat skills, armaments and equipment. Yet their training in mountain, jungle and urban warfare did not prepare them for the Marawi experience, he added.

“The situation in Marawi was very rare. Unlike before where we conducted urban warfare and our enemies were holed in one or three buildings, in Marawi the enemies were in all the buildings and had a 360-degrees firing range. Our firing range was only 180 degrees,” Mayames said.

Still he noted that after the three months in Marawi, the Subic-based 2nd SAF battalion only suffered two wounded among its 42 members.

Mayames also recounted feeling pity for the devastation suffered by the city. “And I can’t help asking myself, was it really heroism that we did in Marawi?” he added.

“We just went there killing the enemies and (in effect) destroyed all of Marawi. Was it really heroism?” an emotional and teary-eyed Mayames asked.

The SBMA employees cheered and said, “Yes.”

The SAF commander also explained later why it was necessary to bomb and destroy the whole Marawi.

“We could not penetrate each building because of snipers who were holed up for cover underground,” he recalled. “The aerial bombings were necessary to put the enemy at bay so that the soldiers and police could launch an assault against them.” (RAV/MPD-SBMA)


PHOTOS:

[1] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma expresses the agency’s commendation of the courage and heroism of Subic-based SAF officers who volunteered to serve in the operations to free Marawi City from terrorists. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

[3] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma presents the agency’s recognition of the courage and heroism of Subic-based SAF officers who volunteered to serve in the operations to free Marawi City from terrorists. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

07 December 2017

SBMA to support Ayta tribe in biodiversity conservation

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) will be a partner of the Magbukun Ayta tribe here in their effort to protect and preserve their indigenous environment and culture.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma pledged the agency’s support to the Magbukun tribe on Saturday at the launching of the Indigenous Communities Conservation Area (ICCA) under the auspices of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).



The project, which will be implemented with the support of the local government unit of Morong and the Philippine Association for Intercultural Development (PAFID), places the Ayta tribe at the forefront of conservation efforts since they live in the conservation site, which forms a part of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

“We will be giving our all-out support to this endeavor not only because the project will be implemented within the Freeport Zone, but also because we at the SBMA consider environmental protection our fundamental advocacy,” Eisma said at the sidelines of the ceremony.

She recalled that the SBMA has initiated the social-fencing concept at the Freeport to make residents of upland areas in the zone be part of the overall strategy to preserve Subic’s natural environment.



Eisma also noted that the SBMA has been successful in a similar program with the Ambala Ayta tribe at the Pastolan village in the Subic Bay Freeport, for which the agency has been recognized as the best in social responsibility initiative.

“What we have successfully done for the Pastolan Ayta tribe, we also hope to do with the Magbukun folk,” she added.

Under the ICCA program, residents living within or nearby the conservation area will serve as protectors of the environment, while the local government unit will take the lead in implementing conservation and protection activities.



According to the UNDP, ICCAs are spaces de facto governed by indigenous peoples or local communities with evidently positive outcomes for the conservation of biological and cultural diversity.

Some ICCAs are situated in remote ecosystems that have had minimum human influence, while others encompass areas of various regulations and magnitudes within regions strongly affected modified by human occupation.

The ICCAs can be classified as sacred areas or ritual grounds for the indigenous communities residing near it and may include forests, mountains, shorelines, wetlands, fishing areas, and other bodies of water.

The UNDP hopes that through the ICCAs, the continuation, revival or modification of traditional practices or even new initiatives may succeed in protecting and restoring natural resources and cultural values in the face of new threats or opportunities. (JRR/MPD-SBMA)

PHOTOS:

[1] Members of the Magbukun Ayta tribe, assisted by some local government officials, launch the Indigenous Communities Conservation Area (ICCA) in Morong, Bataan on Saturday, Dec. 2. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

[2] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma (center, front row) join members of the Magbukun Ayta tribe during the launching of the Indigenous Communities Conservation Area (ICCA) in Morong, Bataan on Saturday, Dec. 2. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

[3] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma with elderly Ayta members of the Magbukun Ayta tribe during the launching of the Indigenous Communities Conservation Area (ICCA) in Morong, Bataan on Saturday, Dec. 2. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

Comteq’s unpaid P19-M debt ‘indisputable’; SBMA clarifies issue

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has clarified misinformation about the ejection of the defaulting Comteq Computer and Business College from the building it previously occupied here, pointing out that the P19.97 million the school owed in terms of unpaid rentals was indisputable.

In a statement issued over the weekend, the SBMA said that Comteq has occupied Bldg. Q-8131 since 2011 and collected tuition fees from students studying in the premises, but “has not paid even a single cent” from the use of the building.


“Bldg. Q-8131 is government property and rent is due for such use,” the SBMA said, reacting to a statement attributed to Comteq president Danny Piano that the P19.97-million back rentals they owed the SBMA was “debatable.”

It added that the need to pay rent for property used and profited from was not debatable, as there was nothing in writing between the parties that said the use of the facility was “rent-free.”

The Subic agency peacefully took control of Bldg. Q-8131 on November 25 after the Comteq management failed to settle its hefty financial obligation with the SBMA.

As early as April this year, the SBMA Legal Department already sent Comteq a “Notice to Vacate with Demand to Pay” because the school administration has been operating without securing any lease agreement or business registration for the school.

Following the takeover, officials of the debt-ridden school blamed the SBMA for not issuing a lease agreement and a Certificate of Registration and Tax Exemption (CRTE), and claimed this prevented them from paying rent over the years.

However, the SBMA said it cannot issue any lease agreement and CRTE then because the Comteq management “did not submit the required payment scheme proposal for it to be able to settle its accounts” and instead asked the SBMA to give them a “rent-free period” from 2011 to 2015.

The SBMA Board, however, disapproved the said request because it was disadvantageous to the government and was not allowed by the Commission on Audit (COA).

The SBMA also noted that the statement of account purportedly showing zero balance in Comteq ’s record only reflected payment for utilities and other billings that were automatically charged for buildings occupied by business locators.

However, a validated computation from the agency’s Accounting Department showed the school management’s unpaid rental dues at P19,971,435.68 as of November 30, 2017.

Comteq officials had also taken the SBMA to task for being “insensitive” to the fate of students, whose studies were disrupted by the takeover. But the SBMA pointed out that the continued occupation by Comteq of Bldg. Q-8131 since 2011 without any rental, as well as the six-month extension it granted the Comteq administration last April, happened “precisely because SBMA is concerned about its students.”

It added that while it had allowed Comteq to operate for years despite the lack of a lease agreement or a CRTE because it was an educational institution, it can no longer tolerate the “blatant abuse and profiteering” by the Comteq management, which disregarded the repercussion of its growing debt on its students from whom they collected tuition and other school fees.

The SBMA added that in ejecting the defaulting business locator, it was just doing its job as estate administrator of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. “It is not about money,” the agency made it clear. “It is about the obligation to collect rental dues for the use of the property of the government.”

It also said that it cannot be faulted for taking over Bldg. Q-8131 as it did, because it was school president Danny Piano who assured the SBMA Board in a letter that they would vacate the premises by October 31 this year, after the six-month extension given by the SBMA last April. (HEE/RBB/MPD-SBMA)

04 December 2017

Subic fishers dispute ‘alarmist’ yarn on LNG operations

Local fishermen have disputed claims by leaders of some activist groups in Central Luzon that the ship-to-ship transfer (STS) operations of liquefied natural gas (LNG) on Subic Bay endanger fisher folk in the area and that locals were not consulted about the project before its approval by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).

Resty del Rosario and Laureano Artagame, both officials of local Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Councils (FARMC), dismissed the claims and pointed out that the negative reports came from personalities who do not represent the legitimate concerns of fishermen from Subic Bay.



The news item came out in the alternative news website Kodao and quoted Pamalakaya Central Luzon coordinator Alberto Roldan as saying that STS operations for LNG in Subic “endanger fisher folk as well as civilian establishments and communities in Olongapo City.” Pamalakaya stands for the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya, which is the national federation of fishermen’s organizations.

The report also quoted Marcelito Clemente, coordinator of the Central Luzon Alliance for a Sovereign Philippines (CLASP), as saying that the project was “simply another case of profit above public safety for SBMA.” CLASP, a left-leaning group, had called for the withdrawal of U.S. military bases in the country and had opposed the holding of Balikatan military exercises with American armed forces.

The local fisher folk leaders, however, said the reports do not mirror the sentiments of local fishermen.

“We support the SBMA on this project 100 percent,” said Del Rosario, who chairs the Subic Bay Integrated Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Management Council, which whose members include fisher folk in Olongapo City, Subic and San Antonio, Zambales and Morong, Bataan.

“Is the LNG operation safe? We believe so, because the SBMA wouldn’t place that project there without examining and addressing the risks involved,” Del Rosario added.



He noted that the critics of the STS project are far too removed from the area, and hence are unaware of the local situation.

“How would they know what happens down here? How can they be the voice of the locals? They are just being alarmists,” an exasperated Del Rosario said.

“As local leaders representing the mostly poor and marginalized fishermen in the locality, we will not be a party to anything that will harm our people. We will not agree to it,” Del Rosario added.

Artagame, meanwhile, emphasized that the SBMA has not been remiss in consulting local fishermen about the LNG project during its inception in 2016. He recalled that the Jovo Group, China’s leading clean energy service provider which operates the project, conducted a consultation in October last year before making the first ship-to-ship transfer in April this year.

“We were invited during the consultation and it was amply shown to us that the LNG is clean and safe,” Artagame said. “Of course, we gave our suggestions regarding the operation, and the SBMA officials assured us that they will stop the operation if ever there will be any harmful effect. By the grace of God, no such effect had ever come our way since then,” he added.

Aside from the perceived safety of STS operations here, Del Rosario also pointed out that the area where the transfer is being handled is no longer a part of the community fishing grounds ever since the US Navy had used Subic Bay as a military base.

“We are fishing elsewhere, a little farther from the location of the LNG and even father out of the bay, and the SBMA is even helping us restore coral reefs that have been damaged over the years by illegal fishing,” Artagame said.

Ever since the LNG project was approved, only two transfers have been made: the first was made on April 27 and the second on November 19. (HEE/MPD-SBMA)

PHOTOS:

[1 ]Laureano Artagame, Provincial Chairman of FARMC Zambales and Vice-Chairman of FARMC of the Municipality of Subic.

[2] 3The first LNG ship-to-ship transfer operations on Subic Bay made last April.

02 December 2017

SBMA chief to Subic outstanding workers: Be ‘malasakit’ advocates, too

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma has challenged outstanding workers here to lead the Subic workforce in caring for the Freeport with “malasakit” and passion.

During the recent awarding ceremony for the Ten Outstanding Freeport Workers at Cinema 4 of Harbor Point Ayala Mall here, Eisma encouraged the winners to cultivate and practice a sense of community, as they are considered model employees.


“You are the Ten Outstanding Freeport Workers. I salute you,” Eisma said. “But, I challenge all of you to be the leaders to lead your people, to lead your company and co-workers to care for this place, to make us even better.”

The SBMA official told the awardees and the audience that what motivated the pioneer employees in Subic 25 years ago should still apply today, pointing out that she was among those who came forward and volunteered their services to give the community a better future.

“And here we are now. Can you imagine? Before the Americans left, they created 35,000 jobs. But now, we have more than 120,000 workers employed by more than 2,000 investor- companies. And you have to keep this going,” she said.

Eisma added she felt sorry that some Freeport stakeholders had lost the value of malasakit or passion for the common good, given the way people are taking care of each other and the community they are living in.

“This is our home and it is not my sole responsibility to fix this. It’s also yours. So, I challenge all of you to take care of one another, to take care of the Subic Bay Freeport,” she also said.

As an example, Eisma pointed out that instead of simply noticing the trash in some areas in Subic and posting them on social media, stakeholders should take the initiative to pick them up, or report the same to her office.

“I’m not saying we should cover up problems like this, but the business of SBMA is tourism, and the business of the Freeport is investments. If we keep on washing our dirty linen in public, it will only shoo away the tourists and the investors. So, please reach out to me,” she said.

Eisma added that stakeholders can even punch 8888, a MalacaƱang hotline dealing with complaints against government officials. “I really want to keep this place clean. You know why? Because this is my home, and even after my term as chairman and administrator, you would still see me here,” she added.

Today’s crop of top workers included a former dish washer, a welder, and a warehouseman who were honored for excellent performance and remarkable dedication and commitment to their respective jobs.

Eisma also encouraged the winners to give their all their best, reminding them that “Here in Subic, it doesn’t matter what kind of job you keep; what really matters is how you do it well.”

A total of 11 workers won the recognition this year, according to the Subic Bay Workforce Development Foundation, Inc. (SBWDFI, which gives out the awards, because two finalists had tied up in one place.

The 2017 outstanding workers in Subic are: Philip Villa, chef at Segara Villas and Hotel; Vergel Osorio, warehouseman at CRESC Inc.; Nilo Del Rosario, welder/pipefitter at Philippine Coastal Storage and Pipeline Corp.; Engr. Marnue Veneracion of the General Facilities and Design Engineering Section of Nicera (Phils.); Engr. Alexander Poblete, Product Engineer II at Nicera (Phils.); May Ordaz, planning and purchasing supervisor at Koushin Mechatronics; John Louis Ducus, Meter and Revenue Protection Engineer at Subic Enerzone Corp.; Joseph Paje, Logistics Specialist at SubicWater; Joseph Malana, inventory controller at PTT Philippines Corp.; Jaylyn Zapata, external relations assistant at PTT Philippines; and Engr. Reynante Reyes, maintenance engineer at Philippine Coastal Storage and Pipeline Corp. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)

PHOTO:
Winners in the year’s search for the 10 Outstanding Freeport Workers like up after receiving their awards from officials of the SBMA and the Subic Bay Workforce Development Foundation, Inc. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

Subic Freeport holds first Pride Parade

More than a hundred participants from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community joined in the first Pride Parade here in the Subic Bay Freeport on Sunday to help promote equality, diversity and inclusion among various sexes.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma and Bataan Representative Geraldine Roman, the first transgender woman elected to the Congress of the Philippines, led the parade to show support to the LGBT community.



The parade featured LGBT members in colorful costumes, who competed in a contest that sought to express and affirm the culture and pride of the LGBT community.

LGBT pride is the positive stance against discrimination and violence toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people to promote their self-affirmation, dignity and equality rights, as well as to increase their visibility as a social group, build community, and celebrate sexual diversity and gender variance.



SBMA Chairman Eisma said the Subic agency firmly supports the LGBT community’s demand for equality and equal rights regardless of religion, color, or sexual preference.

Delegates to the event included members from LGBT Barretto in Olongapo City, which had the biggest number of participants; The Antonio’s Family of San Felipe; The Antonio’s Family of San Narciso; Bi Alliance of Bataan, Olongapo and Iba; Proud Gays of Olongapo; The Montero Sisters; and The Smith Sisters.



In an interview during the event, Rep. Roman said she is proud that the Anti-Discrimination Law has been passed in the Lower House via unanimous decision, and that the bill will be passed on to the Senate for review.

“So, it’s up to Senator Risa Hontiveros (to work for) the enactment of the bill,” she added.

Roman also said that House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez is pushing for civil partnership for all genders. She explained that this is different from the same-sex marriage that the LGBT Party Ladlad is pushing for. The civil partnership act will cover all genders, not just the LGBT community.

Roman said that the Anti-Discrimination bill will punish anybody who discriminates or make derogatory remarks against any LGBT person. The violator will be jailed for five years and fined P20,000.

Meanwhile, Chairman Eisma expressed hope that the Pride Parade will be bigger the next time around, as she reiterated the full support of the SBMA to gender equality, anti-discrimination, and human rights.

The event was organized by a group headed by Gigs Estalilla, who is an officer of the SBMA Gender and Development Focal Point Committee.

The parade was held as the SBMA capped its month-long 25thAnniversary celebration on Sunday. (JRR/HEE/MPD-SBMA)

PHOTOS:

[1] Participants in the first ever Subic Bay Pride Parade march along the Waterfront Road in the Subic Bay Freeport on Sunday (Nov. 26). Pride parades are held by members of the LGBT community to demonstrate their culture and pride and also to call for gender and legal rights.

[2] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma and Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman join the first ever Subic Bay Pride Parade held at the Subic Bay Freeport on Sunday (Nov. 26). Pride parades are held by members of the LGBT community to demonstrate their culture and pride and also to call for gender and legal equality rights.

[3] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma pose with participants in colourful attires during the first ever Subic Bay Pride Parade march along the Waterfront Road in the Subic Bay Freeport on Sunday (Nov. 26). Pride parades are held by members of the LGBT community to demonstrate their culture and pride and also to call for gender and legal rights.



28 November 2017

SBMA recalls past struggles in building PHL’s first free port

Hundreds of former volunteers and current employees and officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) on Friday recalled the hardship they overcame in building the first Philippine free port and renewed their commitment for a sustainable and more progressive Subic.

In a ceremony graciously attended by former heads of the agency, participants and guests in the culminating activity of the month-long SBMA 25th Anniversary Celebration remembered momentous events since Subic Bay Freeport was established in 1992.



Foremost among the images evoked here was the historic time when the Stars and Stripes was lowered for the last time in this former American military base, and an enormous 20-by-40 foot Philippine banner was raised.

On Friday, as SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma Eisma led in unveiling a marker for the country’s biggest national flag here, she reminded everyone of the parallelism between the struggles for national independence and the sacrifices made by SBMA volunteers to forge a brighter and better future for the community and the nation.



“It is on this very site where battles have been fought between foreign countries, seeking dominion over these precious waters and land; where the Filipino nation finally gained full sovereignty over this place; and where 8,000 volunteers answered the clarion call of SBMA founding chairman Richard Gordon and stood united and undaunted by the huge task of securing the facilities around after the Americans left in 1992,” Eisma said.

“Which is why it is but necessary for us to consecrate this ground as a witness to the sacrifice and courage of Filipinos, and for the flag as a symbol of their bravery and pride,” she added.



“Flying the Philippine flag here 24/7 permanently should be a matter of pride and honor, not just for us at SBMA or the Freeport, but for every Filipino. For it is indicative of the kind of nationalism that is expected from each and every one of us,” Eisma also said.

The anniversary celebration also served as a reunion for former top officials of the Subic agency.
Among those who arrived to remember Subic’s historic past were SBMA’s founding chairman and administrator and now Senator Richard J. Gordon; former Chairman and Administrator Felicito C. Payumo, who succeeded Gordon; former Administrator Armand C. Arreza; and former Chairman and Administrator Roberto V. Garcia.


The former officials assisted Chairman and Administrator Eisma and other agency officials in giving recognition to pioneer investor-companies, former Subic volunteers, and current SBMA employees.

Gordon, in his message at the unveiling of SBMA memorabilia here, indicated the continuing concern of former SBMA officials for the Subic Freeport and revealed some level of cooperation among them. He said that he and Payumo share their endorsement of the proposed underground road network that would interconnect Subic with Manila.


A tribute to Subic volunteers that was held at the Volunteers Shrine became the culminating event of the month-long celebration that began on November 6.

The other culminating events included a pass-by air show by the Philippine Air force, water salute by Salvtug tugboats, a silent drill by Philippine Merchant Marine Academy cadets, and an exhibition by the SBMA Marching Band.



Starting Friday, the SBMA and various tourism establishments in the Freeport also held a night bazaar and food festival at the Remy Field here, which included two nights of musical entertainment.

The Subic Pride Parade scheduled on Sunday, Nov. 26, was also included in the program to cap the celebration. (HEE/RAV/MPD-SBMA)

PHOTOS:

[1] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma, assisted by National Historical Commission Executive Director Ludovico Badoy (left) and SBMA Deputy Administrator for Administration Ruel John Kabigting, unveils a marker authorizing the permanent hoisting of the Philippine national flag at the Subic Bay Freeport during the SBMA 25th Anniversary Celebration on Friday, Nov. 24. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

[2] SALUTE TO SBMA: Tugboats execute a water salute while Philippine Air force planes do a pass-by overhead during the SBMA 25th Anniversary Celebration on Friday, Nov. 24, at the Subic Bay Freeport. AMD/MPD-SBMA)

[3] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma and SBMA Senior Deputy Administrator for Support Services Ramon O. Agregado return a salute by honor guards during a pass in review held on the SBMA 25th Anniversary Celebration on Friday, Nov. 24. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

[4] Senator Richard G. Gordon, opens an SBMA memorabilia exhibit at the Harbor Point Ayala Mall during the SBMA 25th Anniversary Celebration on Friday, Nov. 24. Assisting him are, from left: former SBMA COO Rodolfo “Inky” Reyes; SBMA Directors Julita Manahan, Maria Cecilia Bobadilla-Bitare and Benny Antiporda; former SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza; SBMA Senior Deputy Administrator for Operations Mar Sanqui; and SBMA Port Marketing manager Ronnie Yambao. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

[5] Senator Richard G. Gordon and former SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza peruse SBMA memorabilia exhibited at the the Harbor Point Ayala Mall during the SBMA 25th Anniversary Celebration on Friday, Nov. 24. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

[6] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma joins a parade of employees during the SBMA 25th Anniversary Celebration on Friday, Nov. 24. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

SBMA takes over computer school for failure to pay obligations

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) on Saturday (Nov. 25) peacefully took control over the facilities of a computer school for failing to settle its financial obligation to the SBMA amounting to more than P19 million.

The move came after the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Olongapo City denied the application of a Comteq Computer and Business College Inc.to restrain the SBMA from serving an eviction notice due to its failure to settle outstanding obligations.


The SBMA’s Legal Department, assisted by personnel from the Law Enforcement Department, entered the premises of COMTEQ Computer and Business College at about 6:30 in the morning and informed the school’s personnel of the takeover.

Atty. Melvin Varias, lead of the SBMA team who took over said, that although COMTEQ shall be closed to its students and personnel, students and faculty of the nearby UP Extension Program in Olongapo (UPEPO) shall be allowed to enter the complex and use the facilities it has been sharing with the computer school.

In an order issued on Nov. 20, 2017, Judge Richard A. Paradeza of RTC Branch 72 refused to grant Comteq Computer and Business College, Inc. a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the SBMA in the absence of a reason for its issuance.

“One of the requisites for the issuance of a temporary restraining order is the presence of a substantial right that needs to be protected,” Paradeza said in his order.

However, “It is clear that (Comteq) has no clear existing and unmistakable right in esse that is entitled to legal protection, a violation of which would justify the issuance of the injunctive relief applied for,” Paradeza ruled.

The court in its order noted that Comteq filed an application for TRO to prevent the SBMA from taking over the classrooms and offices that the school occupied in Bldg. Q-8131 located at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. The school also sought “to prevent the harassment of students, teachers and staff by padlocking the classrooms, sequestering books and learning equipment, and preventing students and teachers from conducting their right to attend classes.”

However, Paradeza noted that on Nov. 14, 2017, the SBMA had already issued a notice giving Comteq until Nov. 19, 2017 to vacate the subject premises and to pay its outstanding obligation with the SBMA that amounted to P19,971,435.68.

He also noted that the SBMA has allowed Comteq to use the said facilities up to Oct. 31, 2017 for humanitarian reason, and that Comteq “had even wrote a letter dated April 27, 2017, asking SBMA that it be given up to the end of October to look for a new building to relocate to.”

Paradeza said that Comteq had essentially argued that pursuant to Batas Pambansa 232, or an Act for the Establishment and Maintenance of an Integrated System of Education, as well as Section 32 of the Manual for Regulations for Private higher Education, the termination of a school year shall be effected only at the end of an academic year.

But the judge also ruled that Comteq’s right to occupy the subject premises “had already expired on Oct. 31, 2017, pursuant to SBMA Board Resolution No. 17-05-0167 dated May 10, 2017” and that a similar notice to vacate and demand to pay had been sent by the SBMA to Comteq on March 30, 2017.

“It would appear that ample time was already given to the plaintiff to vacate the subject premises,” Paradeza said.

“The fact that the eviction notice was given in the middle of academic year is not substantial enough to prove the plaintiff’s right in esse. Besides, plaintiff already agreed to vacate the subject property at the end of October 2017 per letter dated April 27, 2017,” the judge added.

“Therefore, at this stage of proceedings, it cannot be said that plaintiff Comteq Computer and Business College, Inc. has substantial right on the subject premises that needs to be protected,” hence the court’s refusal to grant a TRO, Paradeza added. (30)

The SBMA issued Comteq a notice to vacate its facilities it is occupying at Building Q-8131 on Manila Avenue at the Central Business District after the school failed to meet requirements for its continued operation here.

SBMA concerned over fate of Comteq students

Earlier, the SBMA aired its concern over the fate of students of Comteq Computer and Business College, all because of the latter’s failure to pay its rental dues despite the leeway the agency has given for the school to meet its obligations.

“It’s because of the students that the SBMA has given Comteq enough consideration for far too long. This has been a lingering case of irresponsibility on the part of Comteq owners and I am sorry to say that we cannot extend any more generosity to them,” SBMA Chairperson and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said.

Eisma said that as early as April this year, the SBMA Legal Department has already issued a “Notice to Vacate with Demand to Pay” because the school has been operating without any valid lease agreement nor business registration with the SBMA, as well as failing to pay obligations with SBMA in the amount of Php17,771,863.19.

Eisma explained that the SBMA has actually taken over the Comteq facility last April, but the Board has granted another extension of six months for humanitarian reasons.

“However, during this final extension of six months, Comteq should have either settled their arrears with SBMA or should have responsibly arranged for the migration and transfer of their students, but they did not. Instead, they filed a case in court, thus betraying the kindness of SBMA,” she added.

In a letter dated April 27, 2017, Comteq president Danny J. Piano argued that the basis for the SBMA back pay rent of P17.7 million “is highly debatable” and added that the school “just have no capacity of paying back even a significantly reduced back pay rate.”

“Because of this, the new Board of Trustees of Comteq have come to the decision to transfer Comteq College out to Olongapo City where the rates are much lower,” Piano said.

Piano also asked for “a sufficient-enough transition” for the transfer, which he said can be successfully achieved by the end of the 2017 first semester or end of October.

With this, the SBMA Board allowed a six-month extension, but ordered that the school “should be fully out of the Subic Bay Freeport facility before the start of the 2017 second semester, or until October 31, 2017.”

SBMA records indicated that Comteq, which offers courses in preparatory, secondary, and tertiary levels, originally leased Bldg. Q–7932 starting 2008. In 2011, when construction of the Harbor Point Mall began, Comteq relocated to Bldg. Q-8131 where it occupied 10 rooms with a total area of 808.61 square meters, as well 188.55 square meters of common area.

Comteq’s transfer to the new location, however, met some problems as the building was also occupied by the University of the Philippines Extension Program in Olongapo (UPEPO), which wanted to solely occupy the building. After the SBMA Board finally approved Comteq’s lease proposal in August 2015, Comteq asked for a “rent-free” period from January 2011 when it transferred to Bldg. Q-8131, to August 2015 when the SBMA approved its lease. The SBMA, however, denied this request.

In May 2016, the SBMA reiterated its denial of Comteq’s “rent-free” request and further advised the school of its total back rentals amounting to P13.12 million. It also asked Comteq to submit a payment scheme proposal on the settlement of its rental obligations so that SBMA may process a contract for 25 years under the policy on educational institution.

However, without any positive response from the school on these matters, the SBMA Legal Department declared in August 2016 that because Comteq did not have any lease agreement with SBMA, or a sublease agreement with other Subic locator, or a valid certificate of registration, it was engaged in unauthorized operation inside the Freeport and in illegal use of SBMA property.

In January this year, the SBMA Board of Directors approved the issuance of a Notice to Vacate against Comteq and instructed management to file a case against the original owners for collection of the company’s outstanding obligations. (HEE/RBB/MPD-SBMA)

Statement on the Issue of Canadian Trash in the Subic Bay Freeport

The Canadian wastes that have found their way into the Subic Bay Freeport Zone are a nagging concern that bedevils the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

For one, these Canadian wastes have been classified as hazardous as per Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Waste and Control Act of 1990, or Republic Act 6969, and their transport to the Philippines is in contravention of the Basel Convention on the Control of Trans-boundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, of which both the Philippines and Canada are a party to.


Second, it should be noted that the 23 container vans of hazardous wastes from Canada that arrived in Subic were just part of the 741 freight boxes transferred here by the Bureau of Customs in August 2014 in an effort to decongest the Port of Manila.

However, even with the discovery of hazardous wastes inside, little has been done by concerned parties in the interim to remove these items that were brought here illegally, and are now posing potential harm to the local environment and its people.

At the moment, eight of the original 23 containers remain at Subic’s New Container Terminal-1, as 15 others have been shipped for disposal at the Metro Clark Waste Management Corporation’s landfill in Capas, Tarlac in 2015. The remaining eight freight boxes are supposed to be sealed tight from within and without, but could we be sure that they won’t eventually leak the longer they remain in Subic stockyard?

For its part, the SBMA has called out this problem as early as 2015. We have demanded the removal of these hazardous wastes from the Subic Bay Freeport then. Now, as public attention has re-focused on this issue, we again call on concerned parties to re-examine our position on this matter.

Specifically, should Subic continue to suffer the unintended consequences of its effort to help decongest Manila? Should the Philippines be allowed to become a dumpsite for foreign trash? Should we be a party to some violation of an international accord that was specifically designed to prevent the transfer of hazardous wastes from developed to less-developed countries?

Clearly, we need to work out a solution to this problem. And we need to seal out the loopholes that had caused this problem in the first place.

We therefore join the Filipino nation in calling for the return of these wastes back to their Canadian shipper, and urge concerned parties to step up measures to ensure and hasten this end.


Wilma 'Amy' T. Eisma
Chairperson & Administrator

16 November 2017

LOOK: More scenes from the month-long celebration of SBMA's 25th Anniversary

Runners take on various hues at the start of the “Color Run”, one of the more colorful activities in the run-up to the 25th Founding Anniversary Celebration of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority on Nov. 24.


Workers and residents in the Subic Bay Freeport participate in a Zumba session along the Waterfront Road in the Subic Bay Freeport, as part of the program in the run-up to the 25thFounding Anniversary Celebration of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority on Nov. 24.


Visitors take photographs of various military aircraft on display at the Subic Bay International Airport in the run-up to the 25th Founding Anniversary Celebration of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority on Nov. 24.


[AMD/MPD-SBMA]

Philippines’ biggest national flag to be hoisted permanently in Subic Bay

Local visitors and tourists alike can now enjoy the majestic view of Subic Bay with the dignified Philippine national flag flying on its pole 24-hours a day, including weekends.

This developed following the amendment of Republic Act No. 8491, also known as “The Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines,” to designate the Subic Bay Freeport Zone as a place where the Philippine flag should be permanently hoisted.


Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said that she has received from Executive Director Ludovico Badoy of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) a copy of NHCP Board Resolution No. 8, s. 2017, which amended Section 19 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 8491.

“This allows us to fly the Philippine flag 24 hours a day, and every day of the week,” Eisma said. “And this is an honor we gladly receive, and a matter of deep pride for the SBMA,” she added.

Eisma said that as the SBMA is holding a month-long celebration for its 25th year anniversary that will culminate on November 24, the Philippine flag would again be at the center of the celebration because most of the activities are held in front of the SBMA administration building where the huge flag is located.

She added that a plaque from the NHCP attesting to the agency’s privilege to continuously fly the Philippine flag will be installed on the base of the flagpole fronting the SBMA office along the Waterfront Road here.

In June this year, SBMA Deputy Administrator for Administration Ruel John Kabigting wrote the NHCP regarding the SBMA’s intention to keep the Philippine flag, the biggest in the country, constantly flying, even during weekends and holidays.

“We wanted to give thousands of tourists who come to Subic Freeport the opportunity to behold and pay homage to the Philippine flag,” Kabigting said.

He noted that Philippine flag at the SBMA office is 44 feet long and 22 feet wide, and because it is flown atop a 120-feet high flagpole, is highly visible from many points in the Freeport.

“However, it is pitiful that visitors coming during weekends only see the flagpole without the huge Philippine flag flying at its top,” Kabigting said.

Kabigting said that flying the biggest Philippine flag in the country is a matter of pride and honor for every Filipino, “especially at this time when our sovereignty, territorial and exclusive economic rights are being challenged in the West Philippine Sea, and most recently the rebellion in the Marawi City.”

According to SBMA Senior Deputy Administrator for Public Works Marcelino Sanqui, the flagpole upon which the biggest Philippine flag is hoisted also has historical symbolism.

He said the 94 feet in its total height of 120 feet stands for the 94 years of American occupation of Subic Bay; the next 18 feet for the heads of states who attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference in Subic in 1996; and the remaining eight feet for the 8,000 volunteers who helped preserve Subic Bay facilities when the United States Navy withdrew in 1992.

Sanqui, who supervised the erection of the said flagpole in 1997, said the flagpole itself symbolizes national dignity and liberty, volunteerism and malasakit, and progress and development.

“It is dedicated to all volunteers who served and contributed their time, effort and skills to preserve and protect the former US Naval Base, which is now a bustling industrial center and tourism destination,” he added. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)

PHOTO:

The biggest Philippine flag in the country flies proudly at the SBMA main office in the Subic Bay Freeport. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

14 November 2017

Subic Bay named Asia’s ‘Fastest Growing Free Trade Zone’

The Subic Bay Freeport Zone has again gained international attention when it garnered two awards in the International Finance Awards 2017 given out by the London-based International Finance Magazine (IFM), a financial market information group.

Under the Financial Awards category, the Subic Bay Freeport Zone was named the “Fastest Growing Free Trade Zone” in Asia while the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) was recognized in the same category for its “Best Social Responsibility Initiative”.



The IFM awards recognize and honor individuals and organisations in the international finance industry that make a significant difference and add value, as well as herald the highest standards of innovation and performance.

Organizers said the IFM awards make a concerted effort to shine the spotlight on organizations in niche segments and those that exhibit brilliance in the unsung corners of the finance industry.
The other winners from the Philippines are: BPI Asset Management, as “Best Asset Manager”; Omnipay, as “Best Payment Solutions Provider”; and RCBC Bankard Services Corporation, “Best Credit Card Offerings”.

The awards will be handed out next year during the IFM Annual Award Ceremony scheduled on January 26 in Singapore.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma Eisma said it is “both an honor and privilege to be counted among IFM’s roster of excellence.”

“These awards, which come on the eve of SBMA’s 25th year anniversary, inspire us not only to celebrate our past but more importantly, to forge our country’s future for the sake of our children and future generations by continuing to make a difference and adding value to Filipino lives,” she added.

Subic Bay’s first award recognized its emergence as a flagship of the Philippine economy and a catalyst of growth in the region.

To date, the Subic Bay Freeport has a total of more than 126,000 workers employed by a total of 2,897 companies variously engaged in shipbuilding and other marine-related business, tourism, ICT, manufacturing, and services. With committed investments surpassing the $1.4-billion mark in the first quarter of this year, SBMA officials expect Subic to make more significant strides in the Philippine economy in the coming years.

The second award cited the SBMA for identifying the social needs of the indigenous Ayta community in the Subic Freeport area and taking the initiative to positively impact the social status, earning potential and access to services of the members of the tribe.

Last week, the Subic Bay Freeport was also recognized as the Best Sports Tourism Destination of the Year during the Third Sports Industries Awards and Conference Asia held in Bangkok, Thailand.

In the same event, the SBMA won the silver award for Best Sponsorship of a Sport, Team or Event for sponsoring triathlon events here in 2014 to 2016.

Meanwhile, SBMA Chairman Eisma was adjudged among this year’s winners in the search for the “100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World”, which recognizes Filipino women who are influencing the face of leadership in the global workplace.

Eisma received the award during the 14th Filipina Leadership Global Summit scheduled on October 25-29 in Toronto, Canada. (JRR)


PHOTOS:

[1] Fastest Growing Free Trade Zone in Asia award

[2] Best Social Responsibility Initiative award