15 October 2015

SCADC renews push for Clark, Subic expansion

The Subic-Clark Alliance for Development Council (SCADC) is pursuing plans to expand the areas of the neighboring Subic Bay and Clark free ports to attract more investors and help solve the problem of congestion in Metro Manila.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Roberto Garcia, who is also chairman of SCADC, said on Monday that council members have agreed to develop new industrial estates within the corridor between Subic and Clark.

“Accordingly, there are about 100,000 hectares of land suitable for development on both sides of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway [SCTEx],” Garcia said in a media briefing here.

“Initially, we’re looking for a 1,000-hectare pilot area. We’d allow Japanese or Korean investors to construct facilities there at their own expense to convince others that it’s beneficial to locate along the Subic-Clark corridor,” he added.

Garcia said that plans for the expansion of the Subic and Clark free ports have been in existence since the administration of former SBMA Chairman Felicito Payumo and former Bases Conversion and Development Authority President Rufo Colayco, but these did not push through.

The integrated development of Subic and Clark, as well as the vast corridor of flat lands between them, had been set as the objective of SCADC, which also seeks to harmonize programs and policies pertaining to Clark and Subic.

SCADC is composed of representatives from the BCDA, SBMA, Clark Development Corp., Department of Trade and Industry, Clark International Airport Corp. and, lately, North Luzon Railways Corp.

Subic, which has a total land area of 67,852 hectares, and Clark, which has 4,500 hectares, had since been developed into separate but complementary economic zones connected by the 94-kilometer SCTEx.

However, Subic, in particular, increasingly suffered from lack of space, as most of its mountainous territory is designated as a nature preserve and only less than 3,000 hectares have been put up for lease to business locators.

Garcia said that with the worsening traffic situation in Manila, as well as the diminishing space for industrial and commercial use in Subic, there is a need to find alternative investment sites to sustain economic growth.

“Foreign investors no longer find Manila attractive because of the traffic congestion,” Garcia pointed out. “But there’s no congestion, no truck ban and no flood in Clark and Subic.”

Garcia said it would be ideal for new investors to locate near Subic and Clark to make use of the distinct advantages the two free ports can offer.

“If investors need to deliver materials fast, there is Clark with its airport; and if they need to bring in heavy machinery, then there is the port of Subic,” he added. (Henry EmpeƱo, Business Mirror)