09 May 2009

SBMA bats for development of areas between Subic and Clark

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is actively promoting the further development of the Subic-Clark growth corridor, saying that only an outward push from the two neighboring economic zones to nearby areas would maximize their effects as growth catalysts.

In a meeting with members of the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce (SBFCC) recently, SBMA officials explained the agency’s concern about the limited land area for development in Subic and said an expansion into nearby areas is crucial.

“Our concern about the limited area for industrial use in Subic can be resolved if we start developing additional industrial estates along Subic-Clark corridor,” said SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza.

He also said that the SBMA is continuously receiving investment proposals, but some of these had to be turned down because of limited space in the Subic Freeport.

Arreza added that if the areas between Subic and Clark were developed into industrial estates, the SBMA could push through with its expansion program that is projected to create 150,000 new jobs.

“Our chances of getting more and more investments depend on the development of the areas between Subic and Clark,” Arreza pointed out. “If you happen to drive along the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx), you would see so much land there, and a large part of them are idle.”

He also said that the SBMA’s expansion plan also considers the development of areas in the nearby communities of Olongapo City, Subic town in Zambales, and Morong, Hermosa and Dinalupihan in Bataan.

Arreza pointed out that these areas, as well as those along the SCTEx, would be ideal for manufacturing firms, which would also create the volume of goods needed for Subic and Clark to really become globally-competitive logistics centers.

However, Arreza stressed the need to put more exits along the expressway before any developments can start, pointing out that as of now, the nearest expressway exit from Subic Freeport is the Hermosa Exit that actually leads to the Layac junction in Dinalupihan, Bataan.

He also cited the case of the Hermosa Industrial Park, which boasts of more than 400 hectares of cheap lands, but had not realized much investment because of the need for a separate exit.

“Whether you like or not, manufacturing facilities should be along expressways where the working population is, and where cheap lands are available,” Arreza said.

He also clarified that new investors who will locate beyond the fenced-in area of Subic, but still within the Subic Special Economic and Free Port Zone (SSEFPZ), will nevertheless enjoy tax- and duty-free privileges as provided for under Executive Order No. 675, signed by President Arroyo on November 5, 2007.

Arreza likewise said that the SBMA expansion calls for the development of more parks and leisure resorts in the coastal barangay of Minanga in Morong, the Cawag area in Subic town, and barangay Barretto in Olongapo City, as major tourist resort destinations.

The SBMA expansion plan also takes into consideration the need for further improvement of water and power utilities, development of housing facilities, reforestation and conservation activities, and the promotion of indigenous peoples’ rights and welfare. (SBMA Corporate Communications)

PHOTO: Surrounded by mountains and the sea, the Subic Bay Freeport has little area available for business expansion. The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority is now calling for the development of areas between Subic and the Clark Freeport to maximize the opportunities for economic growth.