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Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (MPD-SBMA)

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21 March 2009

17 years after RA 7227: SBMA cites Subic Freeport’s economic contributions

Officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) said that Subic Bay has significantly achieved its business objectives of attracting investments and generating employment opportunities after 17 years of existence as a special economic zone and free port.

SBMA Chairman Feliciano Salonga and SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza jointly cited Subic’s economic contributions on Thursday, after the agency marked the 17th year of the passage of Republic Act 7227, which created, among others, the Subic Special Economic and Freeport Zone (SSEFZ).

RA 7227, also known as the Bases Conversion Development Act of 1992, mandated the development of the SSEFZ into a self-sustaining, industrial, commercial, financial and investment center to generate employment opportunities in and around the zone and to attract and promote productive foreign investments.

It was signed into law by President Corazon C. Aquino on March 13, 1992, after its consolidated version was finally passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate the month before.

“The Subic Bay Freeport, we are proud to say, has consistently delivered on its objectives in the past 17 years,” Salonga said. “And it will continue to deliver despite the hurdles brought about by the ongoing global economic slowdown,” he added.

“One bright note here is the continuing increase of our labor force, which grew by almost 18 percent last year. The biggest chunk of this – or more than 41 percent – are employed in the services sector; followed by shipbuilding/marine-related services, which employ some 35 percent of our work force,” Salonga said.

He also pointed out that the 87,502 jobs in the Subic Freeport as of December 2008 “is more than thrice the number of workers employed by the US Navy at the heydays of the then Subic Naval Base.”

Arreza said meanwhile that in the 17 years since the Subic Freeport has existed, the SBMA has generated $5.75 billion in committed investments, $11.21 billion in exports, and P2.21 billion in seaport revenues.

He added that with the operation of various investor-firms since 1992, the Subic Freeport had also contributed to the national treasury a total of P9.93 billion in collections by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), and P55.35 billion in cash and non-cash collections by the Bureau of Customs (BoC).

Arreza also revealed that despite the global economic downturn, the agency is actually eyeing further growth through a new development roadmap that has identified five major investment areas in the free port – namely, logistics, manufacturing, shipbuilding, tourism, and business process outsourcing and knowledge-based industries.

“After fulfilling our mandate of attracting investors and creating jobs, we have to re-invent the purpose of the SBMA. Now we’re aiming to take the Subic Freeport, as well as the neighboring communities, to a higher level — creating a multiplier effect in Central Luzon and the rest of the national economy,” said Arreza.

Arreza added that the importance for the SBMA to deliver on its key metrics cannot be overemphasized “because Subic has always been an enabler from the time it was born 17 years ago to today.”

“If Subic succeeds, it creates a positive image for the country as well. If Subic goes down, it can drag the rest of the country, too. This is why our biggest moral purpose is to unite around a sense of achievement for the sake of our country,” Arreza concluded. (SBMA Corporate Communications)

PHOTO:
The SBMA head office at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone: continuing to deliver 17 years after its creation in 1992.

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