16 December 2010

Hermosa hopes for industrialization thru EO 675

HERMOSA, Bataan — Local government officials in this town have expressed enthusiasm in bringing to life Executive Order No. 675, which provides for the development of “additional secured areas” that may be operated as special economic zones under the supervision of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).

Hermosa mayor Danilo Malana said in a dialogue with SBMA officials that local community leaders here are amenable to the implementation of EO 675, as they believe this will help realize their vision of an industrialized municipality.

EO 675 was issued in November 2007 to allow the extension of the secured area of the Subic Bay Special Economic and Freeport Zone (SSEFPZ) to areas within the SSEFPZ but outside the presently fenced-in former US Naval Base.

Malana and members of the Hermosa town council received a briefing on EO 675 from SBMA administrator Armand Arreza at the Sangguniang Bayan Conference Room in the town’s municipal hall.

“We are amendable to Executive Order 675,” said Malana. “The only missing link is the exit (from the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway) to Hermosa, and then we can declare an area as extension of the Subic Freeport,” he added.

Malana told Arreza that the municipality has already identified 400 hectares of generally flat land at Sitio Mabiga in Barangay Tipo for the proposed extension area of the Subic Bay Freeport. Mabiga is about 10 minutes drive from Subic Freeport and about 25 minutes from Clark.

“Travel time will be shorter if an SCTEx exit road right in the proposed extension area is opened,” Malana pointed out.

Arreza said that under EO 675, the SBMA may declare areas outside the former US Naval Base as “additional secured areas” that may be operated as a “special economic and freeport zone” to be supervised by the SBMA.

The additional secured areas will be entitled to all tax, fiscal and other investment incentives (except real estate tax for privately-owned property) under Subic’s free port regime. However, only establishments in secured areas may avail of the duty-free
privileges enjoyed by businesses in the free port.

The declaration of an additional secured area may only take effect after a concurrence by a resolution of the concerned town or city council.

Arreza said that many new investment proposals submitted to the SBMA cannot be approved, as the Subic By Freeport has no more space available for industrial parks or even for expansion projects.

“The solution can be found along the stretch of vacant and available spaces along the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway which are agricultural or undeveloped,” he said.

Arreza also noted that Olongapo City, which is near the Subic Freeport, does not have enough flat land and open space for industrial use, while the road going to Subic town is narrow and not suitable for trucks and trailers.

With its more than 400 hectares of available open space and its wider access road, “Hermosa is the ideal expansion site for the Subic Bay Freeport,” Arreza added. (SBMA Corporate Communications)