SBMA okays ‘win-win’ deal for Subic school takeover

August 19 2017 by SBMA Media Team

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has greenlighted the takeover by a new company of the debt-ridden property previously leased out to the Lyceum of Subic Bay, Inc. (LSBI), saying the agreement provided for a “win-win” solution for the Subic agency to collect more than P31 million in overdue rent payments and other arrears.

SBMA Administrator & CEO Wilma T. Eisma said a resolution approved by the SBMA Board of Directors last Thursday, Aug. 10, allowed the LSBI to assign its leasehold rights to Premium Technical Training and Facilities, Inc. (PTTFI), which shall assume its financial obligations and continue with the development commitments under its lease.
This was made possible by the withdrawal of the company from coverage of the SBMA policy granting educational institutions a 75% discount in rentals, which are supposed to be plowed back by the schools to scholarship programs and facilities improvement.

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Gordon bats for Central Luzon investment corridor

September 4 2017 by SBMA Media Team

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – Senator Richard Gordon has called on the Subic Bay Freeport business community to support his proposal to establish an investment corridor in Central Luzon that will encourage more business and livelihood activities and spur further development in the area.

Speaking during the North Luzon Business Conference here last week, Gordon said he has filed Senate Bill No. 1325, or “An Act Creating the Regional Investment and Infrastructure Corporation of Central Luzon,” to facilitate the creation of an investment corridor in the region.
The senator explained that the proposed Regional Investment and Infrastructure Corporation (RIIC) aims to attract more foreign investors by way of providing for a road network system that will interconnect airports and seaports in Luzon.
He added that the proposed legislation will provide tax incentives for companies and will utilize the area to help ease the traffic currently weighing down the Metro Manila area. This will further ease the congestion of the seaports and airports in Manila, he said.

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2017 International Coastal Clean Up / Protect our Bay Advisory

September 5 2017 by SBMA Media Team

Please be informed that the 2017 International Coastal Clean-up (ICC) activity will be held at the Waterfront Beach on 16 September 2017 (Saturday). An opening program will be held at the Waterfront Event Center at 6AM.

As such, the Ecology Center is inviting all locators, organizations, employees, residents and individuals of the Freeport to participate in the ICC and bring the needed beach clean-up tools and materials such as garden rakes, shovels, spades, stick brooms, used sacks and garbage bags for this activity.
We also encourage participant to bring their own water in re-useable containers to avoid adding plastic bottles to the event.

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Kapihan with SyCip in Subic: Updates on Labor and Immigration Law

September 25 2017 by Go To Plus Inc HRD

SyCip Salazar, Hernandez & Gatmaitan, in coordination with SBMA Labor Department and Subic Bay Workforce Development Foundation, Inc. (SBWDFI) conducted a successful Kapihan with Sycip in Subic on Labor and Immigration Law update last June 30, 2017 at the Subic Bay Travelers Hotel and Event Center.

The following were the topics discussed;
1. Data Privacy in the Workplace
2. Post-Employment Issues and labor updates
3. Expatriates in the Philippines: Bringing the Culture Gap-address potential conflicts between expatriates and employees by providing cultural contexts and practical advice on working with Filipinos, Koreans and Japanese.
4. Breakout/ Consultation Sessions with the participants.

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Malacañang appoints Eisma SBMA Chair and Administrator

September 26 2017 by SBMA Media Team

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte on Monday (September 25, 2017) appointed SBMA Administrator Wilma T. Eisma Chairperson and Administrator of the Subic authority for a term expiring on June 30, 2022.

Eisma’s new appointment was made under Executive Order (EO) No. 42, which was signed by the President also on Monday. The new EO expressly repealed EO No. 340 signed in 2004 by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, which essentially split the powers and duties of the highest position in the Subic Agency.
Section 3 of EO 42 provides for the appointment by the President of “the Administrator of the SBMA, who shall be the ex-officio Chairman of the SBMA Board.”
Eisma, a lawyer and former SBMA volunteer, was appointed SBMA administrator in December 2016, two months after Malacañang named former Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) official Martin Diño as chairman of the Subic Agency.
The new EO also noted that EO 340 “has created confusion with regard to the scope of authority, powers, functions and duties of the Chairman of the SBMA Board and the Administrator of the SBMA that has adversely affected the operations of the SBMA, as well as the numerous investors and locators” in the Subic Bay Freeport.
The Palace decision to keep just one top SBMA official was immediately hailed by Subic investors, community leaders and SBMA employees, who had earlier urged Malacañang to resolve the conflict and prevent further confusion among Subic stakeholders.
Business locators in Subic, as well as local government units in Zambales and Bataan, had earlier urged Malacañang to intervene in the conflict, and called for the appointment of a capable administrator-chairman to head the SBMA.

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SBMA sets P2.46 billion to rehabilitate Subic seaports

October 2 2017 by SBMA Media Team

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) will prioritize the rehabilitation of piers and wharves in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone in order to bring to tip-top form the so-called heart and soul of this premier maritime logistics center.

Newly-appointed SBMA Chairperson and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said in a media briefing on Wednesday that the Subic agency has allotted a budget of P2.46 billion to repair and further develop port facilities in Subic.
“The piers and wharves are undeniably the biggest assets of Subic Bay, and our sea port generates the biggest income among all the SBMA units,” Eisma said, pointing out that her administration will pursue the completion of the repair projects. “We need to put these assets in top condition so that we can service more vessels and also get top returns for our investments,” she added.
The Subic Bay Freeport has a total of 15 piers and wharves that can serve various purposes from transshipment of containerized and break-bulk cargoes, fuels and lubricants, grains and fertilizer, as well as servicing vessels and passengers.
Aside from this, the port of Subic also offers key services like cargo handling, pilot and tugboat services, ship chandling, bunkering and tendering, ship agents, onboard repair, cargo survey, underwater survey, and vessel lay-up and line handling.

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The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) will have a month-long 25th anniversary celebration with a kick-off on November 6, 2017 with exciting activities at the Waterfront Road.

There are also activities in store for the 11th and 18th of November. The celebration shall culminate on the 24th of November, the day of the anniversary itself, and shall conclude on the 26th with a pride parade.

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Subic Freeport wins ‘Best Sports Tourism Destination in Asia’ award

November 8, 2017

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – This premier free port reaped the highest recognition as Best Sports Tourism Destination of the Year during the Third Sports Industries Awards and Conference Asia (SPIA Asia) held in Bangkok, Thailand on November 7.

With the tourism theme “Funtastic Subic Bay”, Subic bagged the gold award in the sports destination category, followed by “Visit Victoria” of Australia which received silver, and “Amazing Thailand” which won bronze.

Aside from this prestigious award, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) bagged the silver for Best Sponsorship of a Sport, Team or Event (USD$250,000), which was one of the 17 international awards given in the occasion.

The awards were received by SBMA Senior Deputy Administrator Ramon Agregado, SBMA tourism manager Jem Camba, and tourism officer Raquel Junio during the awards ceremony held at the Centara World Convention Center in Bangkok.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma Eisma said the award “validates efforts by the agency and the whole Subic Freeport community to elevate the local tourism industry and draw more visitors via sports events.”

“It also speaks well of the natural drawing power of Subic’s unspoiled environment combined with modern amenities that visitors find very appealing,” Eisma added.

Camba, meanwhile, said the award stands as an accomplishment for “Team Subic Bay” because Subic stakeholders gave their full support and best service for every sporting event held in the Freeport.

She also expressed gratitude to the Department of Tourism in Region 3 (DoT-3) and DoT-3 Dir. Ronnie Tiotuico for being supportive of Subic’s efforts to become the sporting capital of the Philippines.

Camba also explained that the SBMA received the Best Sponsorship recognition for sponsoring triathlon events here in 2014 to 2016.

Industry records show that the Subic Bay Freeport earned a ranking of 85.80 percent in the 2015 Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship (APAC) overall satisfaction scores. The race ranking was just .09 percent shy of the global standard’s 85.89 percent and pushed Subic’s ranking above the Asia-Pacific standard of 83.95 percent.

The 2015 Ironman 70.3 APAC overall satisfaction scores placed Subic, along with Cairns in Queensland, Australia, at number six among the best triathlon sites in the Asia Pacific Championship series.
The list was topped in 2016 by Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia with a satisfaction rating of 90.20 percent.

Photo Caption: SBMA Senior Deputy Administrator Ramon Agregado (left), Tourism Manager Jem Camba (2nd left) and Tourism officer Raquel Junio (right) pose with SPIA Asia Judge Cynthia Carreon after receiving two prestigious awards: gold for Best Sports Tourism Destination in Asia, and silver for Best Sponsorship of a Sport, Team or Event (USD$250,000). - SBMA Media Team

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Subic Bay named Asia’s ‘Fastest Growing Free Trade Zone'

November 13, 2017

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The Subic Bay Freeport Zone has again gained international attention when it garnered two awards in the International Finance Awards 2017 given out by the London-based International Finance Magazine (IFM), a financial market information group.

Under the Financial Awards category, the Subic Bay Freeport Zone was named the “Fastest Growing Free Trade Zone” in Asia while the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) was recognized in the same category for its “Best Social Responsibility Initiative”.

The IFM awards recognize and honor individuals and organisations in the international finance industry that make a significant difference and add value, as well as herald the highest standards of innovation and performance.

Organizers said the IFM awards make a concerted effort to shine the spotlight on organizations in niche segments and those that exhibit brilliance in the unsung corners of the finance industry. The other winners from the Philippines are: BPI Asset Management, as “Best Asset Manager”; Omnipay, as “Best Payment Solutions Provider”; and RCBC Bankard Services Corporation, “Best Credit Card Offerings”.

The awards will be handed out next year during the IFM Annual Award Ceremony scheduled on January 26 in Singapore.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma Eisma said it is “both an honor and privilege to be counted among IFM’s roster of excellence.”

“These awards, which come on the eve of SBMA’s 25th year anniversary, inspire us not only to celebrate our past but more importantly, to forge our country’s future for the sake of our children and future generations by continuing to make a difference and adding value to Filipino lives,” she added.

Subic Bay’s first award recognized its emergence as a flagship of the Philippine economy and a catalyst of growth in the region.

To date, the Subic Bay Freeport has a total of more than 126,000 workers employed by a total of 2,897 companies variously engaged in shipbuilding and other marine-related business, tourism, ICT, manufacturing, and services. With committed investments surpassing the $1.4-billion mark in the first quarter of this year, SBMA officials expect Subic to make more significant strides in the Philippine economy in the coming years.

The second award cited the SBMA for identifying the social needs of the indigenous Aeta community in the Subic Freeport area and taking the initiative to positively impact the social status, earning potential and access to services of the members of the tribe.
Meanwhile, SBMA Chairman Eisma was adjudged among this year’s winners in the search for the “100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World”, which recognizes Filipino women who are influencing the face of leadership in the global workplace

Eisma received the award during the 14th Filipina Leadership Global Summit scheduled on October 25-29 in Toronto, Canada. - SBMA Media Team

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Philippines’ biggest national flag to be hoisted permanently in Subic Bay

November 14, 2017

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — Local visitors and tourists alike can now enjoy the majestic view of Subic Bay with the dignified Philippine national flag flying on its pole 24-hours a day, including weekends.

This developed following the amendment of Republic Act No. 8491, also known as “The Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines,” to designate the Subic Bay Freeport Zone as place where the Philippine flag should be permanently hoisted.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said that she has received from Executive Director Ludovico Badoy of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) a copy of NHCP Board Resolution No. 8, s. 2017, which amended Section 19 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 8491.

“This allows us to fly the Philippine flag 24 hours a day, and every day of the week,” Eisma said. “And this is an honor we gladly receive, and a matter of deep pride for the SBMA,” she added. Eisma said that as the SBMA is holding a month-long celebration for its 25th year anniversary that will culminate on November 24, the Philippine flag would again be at the center of the celebration because most of the activities are held in front of the SBMA administration building where the huge flag is located. She added that a plaque from the NHCP attesting to the agency’s privilege to continuously fly the Philippine flag will be installed on the base of the flagpole fronting the SBMA office along Waterfront Road here.

In June this year, SBMA Deputy Administrator for Administration Ruel John Kabigting wrote the NHCP regarding the SBMA’s intention to keep the Philippine flag, the biggest in the country, constantly flying, even during weekends and holidays.

“We wanted to give thousands of tourists who come to Subic Freeport the opportunity to behold and pay homage to the Philippine flag,” Kabigting said. He noted that Philippine flag at the SBMA office is 44 feet long and 22 feet wide, and because it is flown atop a 120-feet high flagpole, is highly visible from many points in the Freeport. “However, it is pitiful that visitors coming during weekends only see the flagpole without the huge Philippine flag flying at its top,” Kabigting said. Kabigting said that flying the biggest Philippine flag in the country is a matter of pride and honor for every Filipino, “especially at this time when our sovereignty, territorial and exclusive economic rights are being challenged in the West Philippine Sea, and most recently the rebellion in the Marawi City.”

According to SBMA Senior Deputy Administrator for Public Works Marcelino Sanqui, the flagpole upon which the biggest Philippine flag is hoisted also has historical symbolism. He said the 94 feet in its total height of 120 feet stands for the 94 years of American occupation of Subic Bay; the next 18 feet for the heads of states who attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference in Subic in 1996; and the remaining eight feet for the 8,000 volunteers who helped preserve Subic Bay facilities when the United States Navy withdrew in 1992. Sanqui, who supervised the erection of the said flagpole in 1997, said the flagpole itself symbolizes national dignity and liberty, volunteerism and malasakit, and progress and development.“It is dedicated to all volunteers who served and contributed their time, effort and skills to preserve and protect the former US Naval Base, which is now a bustling industrial center and tourism destination,” he added.

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Subic Freeport eyes major investments from US groups

December 11 2017 by SBMA Media Team

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is now aiming to tap Filipino-American companies and private groups in the United States to gain fresh key investment packages for the industrial and maritime sectors in the Subic Bay Freeport.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma, who joined a trade mission organized by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), said she has met with several prospective investors from the Federation of Philippine American Chambers of Commerce (FPACC) during a week-long swing among key business centers from the East Coast to the West Coast last month.

The FPACC, which has 42 chapters in the United States and around 5,000 member-companies, bridges U.S.-Philippines trade and commerce, and promotes goodwill and mutually beneficial projects between the two countries. It renewed its memorandum of understanding with the PCCI on Nov. 11 in a ceremony in Scottsdale, Arizona

“It’s a very promising situation as far as the FPACC members are concerned, and we have at least two major investment prospects and two port agreements as a result of the trip,” Eisma said.

“We are looking forward to more engagement with these interested parties so that we can finally clinch a business deal with them,” she added.

Eisma said that an estimated $1-billion investment is being considered by an American-Chinese venture to develop a portion of the Redondo Peninsula in Subic for a possible industrial, maritime and mixed-use complex that will generate more jobs and economic opportunities for the country.

Aside from this, Eisma said that a company based in California is also planning a $20-million investment for a waste-to-energy project and related renewable energy projects in the Subic Bay Freeport.

During the trade mission, Eisma also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Virginia Port Authority CEO and Executive Director John Reinhart to facilitate Subic’s strategic objective of expanding its global network and promote the growth of trade and commerce between the two ports.

In Los Angeles, meanwhile, Eisma worked out an agreement with Trade Development Director Jim MacLellan of the Los Angeles Port Authority for the sharing of expertise in port development, particularly break-bulk shipping and cruise ship terminal operation. An MOU is set to be signed in March 2018 to jumpstart this initiative.

The SBMA chief also announced that two technical supervisors from Google, which operates the Internet’s most utilized search engine, will visit the Subic Bay Freeport in June 2018 to conduct robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) seminars for students in and around the Subic community as part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) program

Trade Commissioner Celynne Layug of the Philippine Trade Investment Center in San Francisco has reportedly suggested another trade mission in March 2018 to promote the Subic Bay Freeport among businessmen in San Francisco and key cities in the West Coast.

Meanwhile, in the course of the business mission, the SBMA chief was interviewed by two local media outfits—one based in Chicago on Nov. 11, and another in Arizona on Nov. 12 during the PCCI- FPACC event. Both interviews focused on the Subic Bay Freeport success story and the economic miracle created here in the last 25 years.

In Chicago, Eisma was also chosen by a publication as finalist in the “Chicago Filipino-Asian American Hall of Fame Award in Government.” Among the past awardees in its list was former Environment Secretary Gina Lopez.

Photo) SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma receives a symbolic key to Virginia Beach from Mayor William D. Sessoms, Jr. during a recent Philippine trade mission to the United States.

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