25 March 2013

SBMA announces 2013 plans

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Roberto Garcia has disclosed on Friday a six-point strategic plan to fully turn the agency’s direction towards “building the new Subic.”

In his second State of the Freeport Address (SOFA), Garcia said that with the Philippine economy taking off in the past few years, the best is yet to come for the Subic Bay Freeport.

In sum, Garcia said the SBMA, as manager of the Subic Bay Freeport, would maximize the land use potential of the Freeport; aggressively pursue the use of Subic as alternate port to decongest Manila; develop the airport for general aviation, aircraft repair, jet charters and other allied aviation activities; fully exploit tourism potential by creating new attractions and destinations, promoting MICE, sports and theme parks to attract more tourists; invest in new equipment and infrastructure needed to support SBMA’s strategic initiatives; and improve the agency’s financial performance further to provide funds for the strategic plan.

Garcia said that of the six thrusts, the development of Subic tourism is expected to have full sway, as most of the projects planned this year are tourism-related.

He noted that in December last year, the Subic Bay Freeport, and the entire province of Zambales in general, was identified by the Department of Tourism (DOT) as one of the top destinations in the country due to its wide array of quality-standard tourist facilities and the level of visitation it generated from local and foreign tourists.

The recognition, Garcia said, was attributed to the 513% increase in the number of leisure-related new and expansion projects in 2012 led by the Ayala Land’s Harbor Point Mall.

Prior to this, DOT-Region III also chose the Subic Bay Freeport as “Premier Convention Capital of Central Luzon.” This milestone, Garcia added, was achieved after Subic recorded 293 meetings, incentives, conventions and events (MICE) held in the Freeport in 2012, surpassing the 141 MICE record in 2011 or an increase of 108%.

The 2012 MICE events in the Subic Freeport recorded a total of 129,000 participants, or a 20% increase over the 2011 figures.

To maximize the land use potentials of the Freeport, the SBMA is now expanding the Subic territory at the Redondo Peninsula to accommodate new ship builders. A similar expansion is being made in Hermosa, Bataan, and other areas that might be offered to prospect investors, Garcia said.

With regards to the JICA recommendation to use Subic as alternate port to decongest Manila, Garcia said the SBMA has been aggressively marketing its seaport for increased utilization of the New Container Terminals 1 and 2. This strategy also includes the opening of feeder lines to Singapore and Japan to open the Subic Port to ships sailing to and from Europe and the Middle East.

Meanwhile, SBMA’s aggressive marketing of the Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) paved the entry of Astro Air International, Inc. which will open the Taiwan-Subic-Taiwan and Subic-Boracay-Subic commercial routes starting this June.

In addition, the annual Balikatan exercises will be held at the SBIA’s southwest and southeast aprons, while another portion of the airport will be occupied by the Department of National Defense under commercial terms.

Chairman Garcia also revealed in his SOFA that the agency has also determined to further improve its financial position in the coming years, after increasing its net operating profit by 91 percent last year.

To ensure success and sustainability of this strategy, some necessary measures shall be implemented, Garcia pointed out in his SOFA.

These include the creation of a joint SBMA-BOC Technical Working Group to more effectively combat smuggling; streamlining of business processes to reduce requirements and improve delivery of services; amending existing agreements with other agencies or implementation of new agreements; and enhancing safety culture through community watch campaign and installation of law enforcement surveillance and security systems.

The SOFA is an annual event¬ organized by the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (SBFCCI) to give the SBMA chairman the opportunity to inform Freeport stakeholders and neighboring communities of the agency’s accomplishments, developments and action plan for the year. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)

SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia stresses a point during his 2nd State of the Freeport Address (SOFA) before business locators, and representatives from Local Government Units and the academe at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center .