SubicNewsLink | Subic Bay Freeport News: SBMA, Business, Tourism, Community

12 October 2018

SBMA renews pledge to help develop Subic indigenous communities

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has reiterated its commitment to help develop indigenous people’s communities in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone and renewed its vow to promote the rights of the tribes to their ancestral domain here.

During the kick-off of the celebration of the National Indigenous Peoples (IP) Month here on October 8, SBMA officials led by Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma recognized the contribution of the various Ayta tribes in protecting the Subic Bay Freeport Zone and promised to help them in in both development and conservation efforts.

Among those present were representatives of the Ambala tribe of Pastolan, Hermosa, Bataan led by chieftain Conrado Frenilla; Cawag tribe of Subic, Zambales led by chieftain Antonio Cabalit; and the Magbukun tribe of Kanawan, Morong, Bataan led by chieftain Rodelio Tamondong.

“Last week (October 1) our Ayta brethren from the Magbukun tribe in Morong declared the boundaries of the 6,000-hectare Indigenous Community Conservation Area (ICCA) under a project of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP),” Eisma said. “The SBMA will continue to promote the socio-economic development of our brother Aytas in Subic,” she added.

“This is not a job for one person, but for all of us, so I reiterate my call for ‘malasakit’,” Eisma also said. “Let us not forget that we all have a job to do, and we all have the duty to protect Subic.”

In June this year, the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) approved the Magbukun tribe’s ancestral domain claim over some 12,000 hectares of land that straddles part of the Subic Freeport in Morong. A similar claim has been won by the Pastolan Ayta tribe several years ago with the help of the SBMA.

Magbukun chieftain Tamondong, meanwhile, pledged his community’s support and involvement in the SBMA’s projects to develop the area.

“Magkaiba man tayo ng kulay, wika, at antas sa lipunan, pero iisa ang dugong dumadaloy sa ating balat. Kami pong mga katutubo ay kaisa ninyo sa pag-abot ng pangarap para sa isang masagana at malayang Pilipinas (We might have different color, dialect and status in the society, but we are of the same blood. The indigenous people are with you in working towards a progressive and free Philippines,” Tamondong said.

Meanwhile, Armie Llamas, manager of the SBMA Public Relations Department, said as part of the IP Month celebration the agency would undertake on October 26 the 1st Indigenous Peoples Conference that would tackle propagation of medicinal plants, as well as government programs that tribal communities can avail of.

The SBMA has also scheduled the blessing of a clinic and high school building at the Pastolan Ayta village in Hermosa, Bataan on October 24.

A medical mission was likewise set at the Iram resettlement area in New Cabalan, Olongapo City on October 16 by St. Theresa’s College Quezon City alumni batch ’74, in partnership with the Olongapo City Medical Society (OCMS) and under the coordination of Dr. Asean Briones of the SBMA Public Health and Safety Department.

The group will similarly hold a lecture on Early Child Development for special education and day-care teachers, and parents at the James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital conference room.

Under Proclamation No. 1906 of 2009, the National Indigenous Peoples Month is observed each October in recognition of the rights of indigenous cultural communities and the preservation of these rights within the framework of national unity and development. (RFD/MPD-SBMA)


[1] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma with Magbukun Ayta children during the declaration of the tribe’s Indigenous Community Conservation Area in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone on October 1. (MPD-SBMA)

[2] Tribal leaders of Magbukun show the boundaries of their conservation area to SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma (left) and Grace Tena, program analyst of UNDP, during the declaration of the tribe’s Indigenous Community Conservation Area in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone on October 1. (MPD-SBMA)

03 October 2018

US Marines, AFP begin "Kamandag 2" military exercises at Subic Bay

Subic Bay — The 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade (3d MEB) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) opened exercise KAMANDAG 2 with a ceremony at the Subic Bay International Airport on Monday (October 1).

KAMANDAG 2 will take place October 1 to 10, 2018, at multiple locations on the island of Luzon.

KAMANDAG 2 is an exercise between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States which also features participation from Japan.

The Philippine-led exercise will include military-to-military exchanges between the AFP and U.S. forces with a focus on counterterrorism and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief capabilities.

KAMANDAG 2 will enhance cooperation and interoperability between Philippine and U.S. forces as part of both countries’ commitments to support each other as friends, partners, and allies.

Service members will practice humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, an amphibious landing, live fire training, close air support, jungle survival training, urban operations training, and combat lifesaving during KAMANDAG 2.

“In its first iteration last year, KAMANDAG gave rise to many inaugural advancements between our militaries,” said Brig. Gen. Chris A. McPhillips, 3d MEB Commanding General. “I’m looking forward to all that we’re going to achieve together this year.”

The U.S. and Philippines will partner for a variety of community relations events during KAMANDAG 2. Engineering and construction projects are ongoing at a school and two daycare centers in Ternate, Cavite. While in Ternate, U.S. and Philippine military medical teams will teach hundreds of Ternate residents about lifesaving skills, disease prevention, and dental hygiene. 

Participants in exercises like KAMANDAG 2 develop lifelong friendships and connections that bring the U.S. and Philippines closer together as friends, partners, and allies.

KAMANDAG is an acronym for the Filipino phrase “Kaagapay Ng Mga Mandirigma Ng Dagat,” which translates to “Cooperation of Warriors of the Sea,” highlighting the partnership between the Philippine and United States militaries.

KAMANDAG 2 will increase overall U.S. and Philippine readiness, improve combined responsiveness to crises in the Indo-Pacific region, and strengthen both countries’ decades-long partnership. (US Embassy)


Brigadier General Chris McPhillips, Commanding General of the 3d Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Major General Nathaniel Casem, Inspector General of the Philippine Navy, and Brigadier General Melquiades Ordiales, Deputy Commandant of the Philippine Marine Corps, open exercise KAMANDAG 2 during a ceremony at Subic Bay International Airport. (

01 October 2018

RDC-3 lauds SBMA cruise tourism program

The Central Luzon Regional Development Council (RDC-3) has commended the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) for developing this premier Freeport into a premier cruise ship destination in the country.

In a resolution passed during its 9th regular full-council meeting at the National Economic and Development Administration (NEDA) Regional Office on September 20, RDC-3 recognized the SBMA for its cruise ship tourism program and pledged its support to the agency effort.

“The growing number of cruise ship arrivals enabled the economic growth in Subic Bay Freeport and its surrounding provinces, namely Bataan, Zambales and Pampanga,” the RDC-3 noted.

The RDC 3 noted that the Department of Tourism has identified the cruise tourism industry as one of the economic drivers in achieving the annual target of 7.5 million tourists visiting the Philippines.

It also recognized that the development of the regional tourism sector was one of the key components of the SBMA’s ten-point program.

NEDA Assistant Regional Director Agustin C. Mendoza, who is also secretary of RDC 3, presented the citation to SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma during a visit here on Tuesday.

In citing the SBMA, RDC-3 pointed out that Subic Bay Freeport “has accommodated cruise ship arrivals in February to June 2018 with an estimated value of more than P85 million of economic activity.”

This came in the form of income generated from cruise ship passengers’ visits to theme parks, local transportation costs, port fees, purchase of local products, dining, and other services provided by tourism-related establishments.

Eisma, who started the agency’s cruise tourism program, said that generating additional revenue for the Subic community, as well as neighboring areas in Central Luzon has been the goal of the program.

“That is what the SBMA was planning all along, to develop the Subic Bay Freeport into a premier cruise ship destination in the Philippines, and hence the gateway to other tourism destinations in the region,” Eisma said.

She added that Region 3, with Subic as entry-point, has all the potentials for a sustainable cruise ship program because of its diverse attractions that included nature parks, historical landmarks, sports and wellness facilities, as well as tailored experiences.

“It is an honor to receive recognition from the Central Luzon Regional Development Council. But we believe that the cruise ship tourism industry here has barely scratched the tip of the proverbial iceberg. There are a lot more that Subic and the rest of Central Luzon can accomplish and gain,” Eisma also said.

The Subic Bay Freeport Zone is ideally suited as a cruise ship hub because of its 15 piers and wharves that are capable of handling all types of sea vessels.

Likewise, Subic is prized as a maritime hub because of its strategic location in the Southeast Asian region, and its accessibility via a network of highways that also connect to major air terminals like the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila and the Clark International Airport in Pampanga.

Subic has hosted 17 cruise ship arrivals since February this year. The SBMA Tourism Department said that from five to 10 more will be coming before the yearend, while 20 bookings have already been confirmed for next year. (JRR/MPD-SBMA)


[1] MS Ovation of the Seas, the biggest cruise ship operating in the Asian circuit, arrives in the Subic Bay Freeport in June (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

[2] NEDA Assistant Regional Director Agustin C. Mendoza hands over to SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma a copy of the RDC-3 resolution citing the Subic agency for its cruise tourism program. (MPD-SBMA)

SBMA bans single-use plastics in workplaces

Starting October 1, single-use plastics which are used only once before they are thrown away or recycled, will no longer be allowed in workplaces of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the agency has banned single-use plastics as part of its solution to the growing global problem of pollution.

Single-use plastics, or disposable plastics, include plastic bags, straws, coffee stirrers, as well as soda and water bottles which form part of most food packaging.

“We should show good example and walk the talk,” Eisma said in a September 19 advisory to SBMA employees. “I implore everyone in SBMA to refrain from using single-use plastics in their workplace,” she added.

She said that canteens, stores and other food establishments in SBMA buildings have already been advised not to use plastic articles anymore.

Exempted from this regulation are goods in original plastic packaging. These, however, cannot be placed in new plastic bag or container upon purchase by consumers.

Aside from enforcing the single-use plastics ban, the SBMA will urge business locators here to join the “strawless” campaign, the recyclables collection program, and cooperate in an intensified anti-littering drive that will be implemented this coming October to further strengthen the agency’s War on Waste (WOW) campaign.

Eisma said that single-use plastics account for most of marine pollution in the Subic Bay area, as could be seen from the trash that periodically pile up on the Freeport’s coastline mostly after typhoons or heavy rains.

“These plastic items are not only pollutive and harmful to wildlife and humans alike, but they also become an eyesore that negatively impact on the image of Subic as world-class Freeport,” Eisma said.

“There is already a standing ban on the use of plastic bags and Styrofoam packaging in the whole Subic Freeport, and now we are backing this up with the ban on single-use plastics and our strawless campaign because there is really an urgent need to save the environment — and this includes public health — from further degradation,” she added.

According to SBMA Ecology Center manager Amethya dela Llana, the intensified no-littering policy to be implemented in the Subic Bay Freeport aims to stop the dumping or throwing of garbage, rubbish or any kind of waste in parks, roads, beaches, forests, rivers, streams or on any open or public place in the Subic Freeport.

The same policy also makes it illegal for anybody to urinate, defecate or spit in public places, or throw cigarette butts anywhere in public areas.

Dela Llana added that it would also be illegal to dispose of litter from a boat or ship into a water body, and to transport uncovered, spilling, or leaking waste or waste containers within the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

The SBMA has set penalties for violators of the anti-littering rule: P1,500 for individual offenders and pet handlers, who would have the option to render four hours of community service instead; and P50,000 for companies or establishments per day until the violation is corrected.

The public is enjoined to report incidents of littering, as well as particulars like the license plate number of violators, to the SBMA Law Enforcement Department at 911 (landline) or 9111 (mobile) or to the No Kalat Hotline at 09176852528. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)


Volunteers pick up wastes washed up along the shore in the Subic Bay Freeport. (MPD-SBMA)

25 September 2018

Wyndham Group eyes first 5-star hotel in Subic Freeport

Wyndham Hotel Group, one of the biggest hotel chains in the world, will be establishing a five-star hotel here, committing P5 billion for a leisure complex near Subic’s popular seafront event Boardwalk Park.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said this marks the first time that a five-star hotel will be set up in Subic, 26 years after the former military base was converted into a special economic and free port zone.

She said the Wyndham Group is set to construct, develop, manage and operate the Citic Hotels and Leisures Corp. here, taking a 10,517-square meter seafront location at Subic’s Central Business District.

“I am sure that this branded hotel project will raise the bar for the Subic Bay Freeport and put it among the best tourist destinations in the Southeast Asian region,” Eisma added.

Wyndham Hotel, which is reputed to be the world's largest and most diverse hotel company, has approximately 8,000 hotels with more than 600,000 rooms in 66 countries under 15 hotel brands.

In the Philippines, the hotel group operates the Days Hotel and Microtel chains across the country, as well as the Ramada and TRYP hotels in Manila.

According to SBMA Deputy Administrator for Business and Investment Kenneth Rementilla, Wyndham has committed P5 billion to build a 14-storey five-star hotel with from 300 to 400 rooms within three years.

The hotel building would house restaurants, entertainment, leisure and events management facilities, including ballroom and convention hall.

The hotel will be built in a 6,310-sqm area within the 10,517-sqm open space opposite Subic’s Boardwalk Park and Event Center.

Apart from this, the proponent has also committed to develop a 4,207-sqm area for the operation of a Subic-Manila ferry service in another open space to be developed for public use.

The firm also pledged to develop an amphitheatre and a public park with commercial stalls in the next two years.

According to SBMA figures, hotel occupancy rate in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone increased by two percent to 67.24% in 2017 compared to 65.83% in 2016.

The SBMA Tourism Department attributed the growth to increased tourist arrivals from the rising number of conferences and sporting events being held in Subic. (RFD/MPD-SBMA)


Citic President Chi Jian Li and SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma sign a contract for the construction of a 5-star hotel in the Subic Bay Freeport. Witnessing the signing are (from left): Citic staff Atty. Edward S. Ong, Edmond Lee, Ma. Agnes Marixie San Diego, SBMA Deputy Administrator for Business Kenneth Rementilla, and SBMA Chief of Staff Vicente Evidente.(AMD/MPD-SBMA)

21 September 2018

Biggest obstacle race successfully held in Subic Freeport

The Subic Bay Freeport scored another first when around 3,300 participants from all over the globe participated in what is touted as the biggest obstacle course race (OCR) in the country, the Spartan Southeast Asia (SEA) Series Finale Trifecta that was held here over the weekend.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma welcomed the athletes who came from countries like the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, during the opening of the race.

Eisma herself joined the phalanx of Spartans and ran the Sprint event that included a six-kilometer course with more than 20 obstacles that runners had to go through. The SBMA chief is considered the first top official in the Subic Bay Freeport to finish a Spartan Race.

Meanwhile, Ian Deeth from the United Kingdom dominated the men’s Beast Elite division while Colleen Agustin from Malaysia destroyed the competition in the women’s Beast Elite division.

Other participants who made the top five places in the men’s division are: Callum Meehan of New Zealand, Christoph Lex of Germany, George Crewe of United Kingdom, and Leoniel DG of Malaysia.

Agustin led the women’s division along with Magdalena Cvetkovic of Hong Kong, Joelle Fiore of Singapore, Melba Vergara of the Philippines, and Lucy Matthews of United Kingdom. Vergara was the only Filipina who ranked in the top five of the Beast Elite category.

Spartan Race Director Michael Reyes said that although Typhoon Mangkhut ravaged the Ilanin Forest where the course would take place on the first of the two-day event, all of the participants were eager to duke it out on the second day.

Reyes added that all three races were held on Sunday, showing that nothing could stop participants from achieving their goals of becoming a part of the so-called Trifecta Tribe.

The Spartan Race Trifecta Weekend is part of the South East Asia (SEA) Series Finale that held three races in one Sunday: Spartan Sprint, a six-kilometer-long, 20-obstacle course; Spartan Super, a 13-kilometer-long, 25-obstacle course; and the Spartan Beast, a 21-kilometer-long, 30-obstacle course.

Ocean Adventure Founder Scott Sharpe said that the event has certainly boosted the number of guests at their marine theme park and the Camayan Beach Resort. He assured everybody that the Ilanin Forest is kept clean despite having so many participants traversing the area.

He added that their Camayan Beach Resort will create a small obstacle course to give tourists who frequent their theme park and resort a taste of Spartan Race, and also create a fitness community based on the OCR. (HEE/MPD-SBMA)


[1] Spartans begin the race deep in the Ilanin Forest of the Subic Bay Freeport

[2] Participants hurdle obstacles during the Spartan Race Trifecta Weekend in the Subic Bay Freeport

[3] SBMA Chairman Amy Eisma (second from right) beams with pride as SBMA employees show off their medals after finishing the Spartan Race in the Subic Bay Freeport

(Photos by MPD-SBMA)

18 September 2018

Subic airport gears up for international flights

The Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) is gearing up with a multi-million rehabilitation program to recapture its lost glory as a major port for international commercial flights.

“The government is set to pour P502 million for various landing instruments and communications systems, with funds from the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM-PS), said Wilma Eisma, chairman and administrator of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).

Eisma said the DBM-PS will also bid out the component projects that will include procurement of Air-Ground VHF radio communication system, Area Navigation (RNAV) design, Doppler Very High Frequency Omni Directional Range (DVOR) for homing aircraft, Airfield Ground Lightings (AGL), Movement Area Ground Signages (MAGS), Airport Rescue & Fire Fighting (ARFF) vehicles, Air Passenger Boarding Bridges (APBB), and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B).

Some P232 million worth of equipment will also be needed for the airport. These include X-ray machines, closed circuit television (CCTV), ambulance, sweeper truck, Flight Information Display System (FIDS), Fire Detection and Alarm System (FDAS), aerial platform, and pickup trucks and passenger vans, she said.

The SBMA started refurbishing the SBIA with a new P51 million Automated Weather Observation System (Awos), which provides continuous, real-time information on weather conditions. The Awos is not covered by the P502 million funding, Eisma said.

“The AWOS is already installed and operational, which is why Subic is now ready to accommodate planes because its communications and night-time capability are fully functioning. In fact, Subic recently took in flights from Bangkok that were diverted from Clark Airport,” she said.

She added that SBMA is also arranging for other commercial operations at the Subic airport, including maintenance repairs for Gulf Stream, flying school for the Philippine Airlines, Subic-Macau-Subic flights for Royal Air, as well as for China Eastern Airlines.

According to SBIA manager Zharrex Santos, the Subic airfield can accommodate almost all types of modern aircraft at more than 20 movements per hour because of its 2,744-meter runway with effective width of 45 meters. It also has ramps and aprons that could take in 24 wide-body aircraft for parking at one given time.

Meanwhile, the two tubes at the SBIA terminal building can process 700 passengers per hour, Santos said.

Recently, Senator Richard Gordon called for the immediate upgrading and operation of the Subic airport after a runway mishap caused hundreds of flight cancellations at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).

Gordon said the national government has already appropriated P553 million from the 2017 General Appropriations Act for the restoration of facilities and procurement of instruments at the SBIA.

The Subic airport, which was built in 1951 as the US Navy’s Naval Air Station Cubi Point, was converted into a commercial airport under the SBMA and became the Asia One hub of Federal Express until 2009.

Subic proved its capability as a major diversion airport in December 1995 during another problem at the NAIA when it served 1,674 passengers from international liners and 212 passengers from local airlines and in August 2007 when it sheltered 37 various aircraft, 19 of which were passenger planes from Taiwan, because of Typhoon “Sepat.” (Ric Sapnu, SunStar)


Aerial view of the Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA)

09 September 2018

SBMA signs business tie-up with Israeli port

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has established an alliance for cooperation with the Port of Eilat in Israel under an agreement signed during the historic four-day visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to the Jewish state.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma signed the memorandum of agreement with Eilat Port Company Ltd. CEO Gideon Golber on September 4 during a ceremony witnessed by President Duterte and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.

Eisma said the agreement for the promotion of an all-water route between Subic and Eilat, which is the only Israeli port on the Red Sea, “will open up doors in the area of port development and innovation between the two countries.”

“It will also serve to increase port traffic and revenue for Subic Bay, since trade routes for the movement of goods between Eilat and Subic will be firmly established,” she added.

Under the agreement, SBMA and Eilat Port Company Ltd. will cooperate to generate new shipping business by promoting the all-water route between Subic and Eilat, as well as to develop links to support trade and investment.

Specifically, the two parties will cooperate in the areas of marketing, data interchange, market studies, modernization and improvements, training, and technological exchange.

Eisma also said that the cooperation alliance with Eilat will further cement Subic’s global standing as a sea port and hub for maritime trade.

According to Philippine Ambassador to Israel Nathaniel Imperial, it was Eilat’s Golber who proposed last April a partnership between Eilat and a Philippine port in order for the latter “to become the bridge of Israel to the rest of the Far East.”

Imperial then referred the offer to the SBMA chief last May, pointing out that the SBMA “can work with the Eilat Port management to learn more about technological innovations of Israel, which ensure the efficient and professional services of the port to its international clients.”

The Port of Eilat, which is located at the northern tip of the Gulf of Aqaba, is mainly used for trading with Far East countries, as it allows vessels from Israel to reach the Indian Ocean without sailing through the Suez Canal. It is also Israel’s gateway to South Africa and Australia.

Imperial said Eilat Port was developed in 1965 and was privatized in 2013, with control going to American businessman Joseph Nakash, owner of Arkia Israeli Airlines, The Sitai boutique hotels, Jordache Enterprises, and Nakash Group of America.

About 60% of Israel’s vehicle imports from Japan, China, India, Thailand and Korea now enter through Eilat Port, he added.

President Duterte, who became the first sitting Philippine president to visit Israel, said the Philippines would seek a “robust relationship” with the Jewish state in areas of economic development, trade and investments, labor, as well as defense, security, and law enforcement.

The Subic-Eilat agreement was among the 11 memoranda of understanding, 3 memoranda of agreement, and 7 letters of intent signed during a forum attended by Duterte in Jerusalem last Tuesday. (HEE/MPD-SBMA)


SBMA Chairman Wilma T. Eisma (right) and Eilat Port Company CEO Gideon Golber (left) confirm their agreement for port cooperation, as Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez looks on approvingly. 

SBMA to undertake drainage, road projects to avert flooding

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) will undertake several road and drainage improvement projects to prevent flooding due to heavy rains and rising tides in this Freeport.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the Subic agency has already green-lighted flood-mitigation projects, including a PHP20-million drainage improvement project at the Argonaut Highway-Gateway Park area that is expected to curb tidal flooding in Subic’s Central Business District.

Eisma said the SBMA has also set other flood-mitigation projects like raising the elevation of the Dewey Avenue-Manila Avenue intersection, which suffers heavily from tidal flooding, and de-clogging storm drains at the vicinity of the SBMA Dispensary along Dewey Avenue.

The PHP20-million drainage improvement project will be bid out to contractors before the end of the year while the road improvement project is expected to start early next year, she added.

Eisma explained that aside from exceptionally heavy rains this wet season, flooding at low-lying areas in the Subic Freeport has been exacerbated by rising tide.

“As you know, most flat lands in the Subic Freeport, including the Central Business District, were reclaimed by the US Navy after the World War II to construct the biggest US naval facility outside the US mainland. This area was mostly swampland before it became a naval base,” she said.

“When our Engineering Department conducted water-level elevation checks in the past several months, they found out that some flooding occurred here during high tide even in the summer months,” she added.

Meanwhile, SBMA Engineering Department head Gary Fernandez said that the SBMA will start the rehabilitation of El Kabayo Road, which leads to the Binictican housing area here.

Fernandez said that El Kabayo is identified as one of the areas in the Freeport with perennial flooding problem, along with the Tipo Road-Maritan Highway junction.

The El Kabayo project will be undertaken with a PHP9.2-million fund from the SBMA’s corporate budget.

On the other hand, Fernandez said the NLEX Corporation, which operates the Subic-Tipo Expressway, has proposed to widen the Tipo Road into a four-lane highway, and elevate certain road sections to solve flooding problems.

He said that should the road and drainage improvement projects be finished on time, tidal flooding will be minimized, if not totally eliminated by the next rainy season. (Ruben Veloria/PNA)


SBMA maintenance workers repair road damaged by floodwaters caused by recent heavy rains in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. (MPD-SBMA)

05 September 2018

SBMA community development officer to get Pagasa award

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), which stresses community volunteerism and malasakit among its employees and stakeholders in the Subic Bay Freeport, has produced another winner of the coveted Civil Service Commission’s Pagasa Award.

Rhea Jane Pescador-Mallari, who works as Community Development Officer at the agency’s Ecology Center, will receive the CSC Pagasa Award for individual category under Memorandum Circular No.15 Series of 2018 signed by CSC chairperson Alicia dela Rosa-Bal.

The CSC Pagasa Award is conferred for outstanding contributions resulting from an idea or performance that directly benefits more than one department of the government.

Mallari, who started out as a contract-of-service employee in 2007 and was hired as a permanent employee in 2013, was nominated for her initiatives in empowering members of the indigenous people in biodiversity monitoring, enforcement of environment laws, engagement of stakeholders in mangrove conservation, as well as for knowledge transfer among various community groups.

SBMA Ecology Center manager Amethya dela Llana noted that since her first appointment 10 years ago, Mallari had distinguished herself in initiating environment projects that engaged local community groups, particularly the Ayta tribe.

In last Monday’s flag ceremony, SBMA Senior Deputy Administrator Ramon Agregado congratulated Mallari for earning more honor for the agency, noting that she would be the fifth SBMA employee to be conferred the Pagasa Award since Security Officer Joel Viray received the accolade in 2008.

“This is to prove that SBMA employees continue to work hard to serve our people and the country in our own little way with excellence and malasakit,” Agregado said.

Meanwhile, Mallari shared her achievement with the Ayta tribesmen who had joined her projects in biodiversity management and conservation.

“The award is not my own alone. If the people I worked with did not believe in me, if the Ayta people did not believe in their capacity to improve themselves, then there will be no Pagasa Award for me, too,” Mallari stressed.

Mallari narrated the hardship she experienced in implementing environment projects while mentoring Ayta tribesmen to become biologists, foresters, reef checkers, and divers.

“Now, even in my absence, they can manage to perform their assigned tasks,” she said.

Mallari is a B.S. Biology graduate of the University of the Philippines in Baguio, and earned her Master’s degree in Biology from the Ateneo University in 2014 under a scholarship program.

She was named SBMA Employee of the Year in 2011, and received a special award as most outstanding graduate from the University of the Philippines Open University Faculty of Management and Development Studies in 2012. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)


SBMA’s Rhea Jane Pescador-Mallari inspects a specimen of “tamilok”, or woodworm, as part of her work in mangrove biodiversity management at the Subic Bay Freeport.

Subic 1st sem investment pledges hit P2.85 billion

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) approved 45 new investment projects worth a total of P2.85 billion from January to June this year, bringing the cumulative investment commitments here to P499.6 billion.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the total investment pledges in the first semester of 2018 was 290 percent higher than the P731 million generated in the same period last year.

The first semester projects are also expected to generate 2,439 new jobs in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, she added.

“This is a significant harvest of business commitments and opportunities for Subic, and it only goes to show that this free port remains to be one of the strongest economic drivers in the country today,” Eisma said.

“It also goes to show that businesses continue to grow in Subic, because 13 business locators here have proposed expansion projects in the first 6 months,” she added.

The expansion projects are worth a total of P276 million and are projected to generate 286 new jobs.

According to Kenneth Rementilla, SBMA deputy administrator for business and investment, the biggest investment commitment the SBMA signed up in the first semester was made by Citic Hotels and Leisures Corporation, a brand that carries the world-renowned five-star hotel chain Wyndham Hotel.

The Citic proposal was worth P1.34 billion and will generate 2,000 new jobs.

The second biggest new project was proposed by Air Juan Aviation for the operation of air transportation services and charter passenger flights to various points in the country. The firm will invest P671.47 million and hire 10 workers.

GGG Technology Inc., meanwhile, proposed a P200-million project that will involve an initial workforce of 110 to engage in manufacturing, assembly and refurbishing of high-technology consumer electronics.

The fourth largest project was that of First Aviation Academy Inc., an operator of aviation-related training and skills assessment center. It will offer various aviation-related courses to airline and non-airline employees and individuals, infuse P156.6 million into the business, and hire 28 workers.

The fifth biggest proposal came from Vortex Oil and Gas Solutions Corp., which will operate an office for the import and export, trading, selling and distribution of petroleum products with a committed investment of P100 million and a workforce of five employees.

Chairman Eisma said the Subic agency hopes to create more business opportunities here, as it arranges cooperation programs with neighboring communities to host additional investment projects.

As of June this year, the Subic Bay Freeport Zone hosts a total of 1,596 business locators that employ a total workforce of 133,940. (RFD/MPD-SBMA)


[1] SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma signs a memorandum of agreement with China National Heavy Machinery Corp. (CNHMC) Chairman and President Xiao Ping (2nd, left), CNHMC Vice President Zhang Fei, and Hermosa, Bataan Mayor Jopet Inton (right) for the development of a techno-industrial facility at the Subic Bay Freeport. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

[2] Citic President Chi Jian Li and SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma sign an investment contract for the development of a 5-star hotel in the Subic Bay Freeport. (AMD/MPD-SBMA)

03 September 2018

President Duterte visits Japan’s largest military ship in Subic

SUBIC BAY - President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Saturday, September 1, 2018, toured one of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s (JMSDF) Escort Flotilla Four ships, which is the JS Kaga (DDH-184), docked at Alava Pier in Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

Accompanying the President were National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Special Assistant to the President Secretary Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief-of-Staff General Carlito Galvez Jr., and Philippine Navy Flag-Officer-in-Command Rear Admiral Robert Empedrad.

Also present were Japan’s Parliamentary Vice Minister of Defense Keitaro Ohno, Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda, and JMSDF Escort Flotilla Four Commander – Rear Admiral Tatsuya Fukuda.

Upon boarding the JS-Kaga (DDH-184), one of Japan’s largest military ships, the Commander-In-Chief was given foyer honors by Japan’s Escort Flotilla Four crew. He then proceeded to the flight deck for a photo opportunity.

After visiting the flight deck, the Chief Executive signed the guest book and proceeded to meet with the Japanese delegation. President Duterte continued his tour after the private meeting.

Apart from the JS-Kaga (DDH-184) with five SH-60K patrol helicopters, two more Japanese destroyers, the JS-Suzutsuki (DD-117) and the JS-Inazuma (DD-105) consisting of around 850 officers and crew, are currently docked at the Alava Pier for a five-day goodwill visit to the Philippines.

This is Japan’s way to enhance its operational capability, promote cooperation, and facilitate interoperability with partner navies in South Asia and Southeast Asia. (PND)


[1-2] President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is accorded with honors by the Naval crew of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Escort Flotilla Four upon boarding the JS Kaga (DDH-184) helicopter carrier Japanese ship, which is anchored at the Alava Pier in Subic, Zambales on September 1, 2018. Accompanying the President are Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Carlito Galvez Jr., Sec. Bong Go of the Office of the Special Assistant to the President, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Japan’s Parliamentary Vice Minister of Defense Keitaro Ohno, and Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koji Haneda. ALFRED FRIAS/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

[3] The JS Kaga (DDH-184), Akuzuki-class destroyers JS Suzutsuki (DD-117), and Murasama-class JS Inazuma (DD105) arrived at Alava Port in Subic Bay Freeport at around 8 a.m.

SBMA pushes implementation of P10.2-B infra program

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is vigorously pursuing for the implementation of the PHP10.2 billion six-year infrastructure development program to be funded under the national government’s Build-Build-Build program.

SBMA chairman and administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the projects are seen to improve the core business infrastructure here and sustain the attractiveness of the Subic Bay Freeport as a globally-competitive trade and tourism center.

“We are now bidding out six major projects to set into motion the execution of a PHP530-million program to rehabilitate, upgrade and develop roads and other public facilities in the Subic Bay Freeport,” Eisma said.

She said the six major projects form part of the SBMA’s PHP10.2-billion six-year infrastructure development program that will be funded by the national government and set for completion by 2023.

Eisma said this will be the first time for the SBMA to avail of national funding for infrastructure projects.

“But we feel justified not only because of the scope, but also because we’d like to think that these projects are investments on the part of the government,” she said.

Eisma cited the importance of the projects, saying these will help Subic sustain its position as one of the biggest revenue contributors among investment promotions agencies in the country.

The SBMA chief pointed out that since the Americans left in 1992, Subic has not seen any major investment in infrastructure rehabilitation and maintenance of basic facilities like roads and docks, which are essential to business operations here.

“Even the security fence that defined the area of the former Subic naval base has already deteriorated,” she said.

The nationally-funded projects for this year include various road rehabilitation work amounting to PHP369.7 million; Phase 2 of the Naval Supply Depot (NSD) road network project, at PHP75.8 million; installation of navigational buoys, PHP47.5 million; installation of new traffic control systems, PHP9.6 million; repair of El Kabayo Road, PHP9.3 million; and drainage improvement at Argonaut Highway, PHP18 million.

Other projects in the PHP10.2-billion infrastructure development program will be implemented in phases starting with PHP524.5 million in 2019; and then PHP573.1 million in 2020; PHP1.32 billion in 2021; PHP2.35 billion in 2022; and PHP1.4 billion in 2013.

The other components of the program are various seaport and airport development projects, road widening and extension projects, and the construction of an SBMA Corporate Center, which gets the bulk of the budget at PHP3.8 billion.

Eisma said the SBMA has scheduled the projects based on the immediacy of Subic’s needs as a maritime logistics hub, with the first projects encompassing roads, traffic controls, drainage, as well as buoys and other equipment, and to be followed by seaport and airport improvements, road expansion, bridge and overpass projects, and finally, the SBMA Corporate Center.

Meanwhile, SBMA will plow in a total of PHP781.8 million in five years under its own capital expenditure program to complement the nationally-funded infrastructure program.

One of the bigger projects under the SBMA program is the construction of a new perimeter fence in critical areas of the former U.S. military base, with PHP18 million in the first year of implementation and PHP42 million in the second year. (Malou Dungog, PNA)

17 August 2018

SBITC, Royal Cargo team up for expansion

ICTSI subsidiary Subic Bay International Terminal Corp. (SBITC) has teamed up with Royal Cargo Inc. to provide seamless movement of goods to and from North and Central Luzon (NCL) and help small and medium-sized enterprises expand their operations.

The partnership between the two firms seeks to provide the business community in NCL a world-class and highly efficient fourth party logistics combination delivering superior customer service and attractive pricing.

Unloading at SBITC's Container Terminal 1 in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone

“The joint efforts of the terminal and Royal Cargo have increased cold-storage options that will improve the quality of refrigerated cargo coming in and out of the country in a fast and efficient manner. This creates opportunities within the value chain to allow local businesses to promote their market further outside of traditional centers like Manila,” SBITC president Roberto Locsin said.

“The north hub will take us one step closer to helping companies across the country achieve growth and expand the new markets such as the Asia-Pacific region. With SBITC, we are now able to provide a direct connectivity to major Intra-Asia and global ports which makes our operations a lot easier,” Royal Cargo president Elmer Sarmiento said.

According to SBITC, Subic’s terminal handling charges are 48 percent less expensive compared to other terminals despite being the first and only on-dock warehouse in Region 3 that can connect to NCL largest cold-chain facility operated by Royal Cargo.

“Businesses that ship via Royal Cargo can now take advantage of SBITC’s perks such as its one-stop shop service facilities and 10-day free storage period while enjoying the terminal’s world class container handling services, not to mention SBMA’s deferred payment of duties and taxes,” Locsin said.

SBITC said the completion of the Plaridel Bypass Road Phase 3 in Bulacan would also allow for faster delivery service, at the same time reduces travel time going in and out of the north hub.

“The best thing about this collaboration with Royal Cargo is its sustainable shipping services we can offer to the Filipino entrepreneurs in NCL despite their increasing logistics demands. NCL is a successful, strong business hub in the making and I couldn’t be more proud knowing SBITC is going to be part of that success,” Locsin said.

SBITC is a common-user, multi-purpose terminal, providing on and off-dock marine port cargo and container handling services in Subic Freeport Area. (Richmond Mercurio, The Philippine Star)


Aboitiz donates rescue boat, emergency gear to SBMA

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) received on Monday, August 13, a boat and other emergency response equipment from Aboitiz Foundation, Inc., the social development arm of the Aboitiz Group of Companies.

The donations were formally sealed with the signing of a memorandum of agreement between the Subic Enerzone Corp. (SEZ), an Aboitiz company represented by its senior vice president and COO Dante Pollescas, and SBMA chairman and administrator Wilma Eisma.

The equipment consisted of an aluminum rescue boat with engine, 10 heavy duty flashlights, two 200-meter polypropylene rope, two sets of heavy duty first aid kits, 10 life vests, 10 pieces of life ring buoy, and 10 pairs of heavy duty safety boots, with a total value of P247,000.

Eisma said the rescue equipment will augment the limited resources of the SBMA Emergency and Rescue Team, which also responds to requests for assistance during emergencies in the nearby communities of Olongapo City, Zambales, and Bataan.

She said that Enerzone and Aboitiz Foundation had always been partners in emergency response, pointing out that since 2007, Enerzone and Aboitiz Foundation have been allocating P125,000 annually for the maintenance of seven ambulances of the SBMA’s Emergency Medical Services through the “Adopt-an-Ambulance” program.

Aside from the SBMA, Pollescas said SEZ and Aboitiz Foundation had also donated disaster-preparedness and response equipment to community rescue groups in Olongapo City, including the barangays of Kalaklan, West Bajac-Bajac, Santa Rita, and Old Cabalan.

At the same time, the SBMA authorities also acknowledged the donation made by Crown Peak Estate Developers, Inc. which operates hotels and tourism and recreation facilities at the Upper Cubi Area in the Subic Bay Freeport.

Crown Peak president Anthony Trillo personally turned over the donation consisting of two motorcycles to SBMA senior deputy administrator for support services Ramon Agregado.

Also on hand to receive the donation were SBMA Law Enforcement Department (SBMA-LED) head Col. Vicente Tolentino and Maj. Jose Alquizar, head of the SBMA-LED physical security and community relations division. (Ric Sapnu, SunStar)