Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Friday, March 31, 2006

Week in Photo

Mayor Bong Gordon during the regular flag ceremony last Monday turned-over various welding equipment for the scheduled training program which will be held in West Bajac Bajc to give necessary skills to Olongapenos seeking employment at Hanjin Shipbuilding project.

Boy Scouts of the Philippines James L. Gordon Council had a change of command this week as CSE Ding Ancheta turned over the helm to OIC Mario Esquillo during a simple ceremony held at East Tapinac Elem School Conference Hall

StarStruck winner Jackie Rice welcomed by city residents during her visit to her native city Thursday afternoon. Motorcade followed the simple welcome ceremony at the City Hall Lobby

A Special Recruitment Activity was held Friday at Rizal Triangle Covered Court, more than one thousand job seekers participated in the whole day activity. the 1st online job matching service provided by www,jobs.subicbay.ph was utilized during the event.

Philippines aspires to be Asian grain hub

MANILA, (Reuters) - Alison Sy dreams of massive cargo ships docking at her automated grain handling facility in the northern Philippines after it opens in May or June.
The grains port, the biggest of three such terminals in the country, has ambitions to become a transhipment hub in Asia.

Sy will be the first port operator to test this set-up for grains in Asia, traders said. Singapore and Hong Kong are classified as transhipment hubs for container cargoes, they said.

Her terminal is a miniscule version of Rotterdam, Europe's busiest port, which handled 185 million tonnes of all types of cargo -- from animal feed, coal and crude oil to soybeans, tapioca and vegetable oils -- in the first half of 2005.

"My dream is to bring capesize ships into the country," Sy told Reuters as she leafed through shipping magazines at her office in Manila's Makati business district.

"If you order bigger ships to transport grain, it's cheaper. That's economies of scale," said Sy, whose family has been involved in local trading of rice and corn since 1969. ADVERTISEMENT

News that Sy's Nation Granary Inc. will open a 3.2 billion peso ($62.5 million) bulk terminal to accommodate ships holding more than 85,000 tonnes of grain created ripples in the market

It also raised eyebrows as the facility lies in the sleepy town of Sariaya in Quezon province, where there is lack of infrastructure and communist rebels are active.

"I think people would think twice about bringing a capesize with a cargo worth $30-$40 million to the Philippines, where support infrastructure is poor," said a chartering manager with a multinational grains trading firm.

Local grain traders were concerned about the security of the port and their cargoes when they were transported by truck to feedmills and poultry and hog farms in other provinces.

Communist guerrillas have attacked power pylons, telephone towers and police stations in various areas in recent years.

An executive at one of the country's largest feedmills said he had not seen any capesize vessel delivering grains to the Philippines as local buyers import only what they need each month to avoid additional stocking costs.

Capesize vessels can carry 85,000 to 150,000 tonnes of cargo and are built mainly to ship iron ore and coal.

"The transhipment concept is a questionable proposition," the executive said, adding it was costly to transfer the grain from a big ship to smaller vessels and then bring it to other countries.

He also said the bulk of Philippine imports of milling wheat come from the United States, while soybeans and soymeal come mostly from Argentina and pass through the Panama Canal, which can take only Panamax or smaller ships like Handymax vessels.

Panamax vessels carry 60,000 to 84,999 tonnes of freight, while Handymax vessels carry 40,000 to 59,999 tonnes.


But Sy insisted her concept was the future of the grains trade. "Capesize for grains is not for today. It's for the future. We expect 20 such ships to be coming on the grains market in 2007," she said.

Sy, chairwoman and chief executive of Nation Granary, recently imported 33,000 tonnes of Chinese corn, 55,000 tonnes of Argentine wheat and 30,000 tonnes of Argentine soymeal to test the unloader at her port.

They were the first grain imports for Sy, who also brings in liquid petroleum gas for the local market.

Grains experts say the possibility of the Philippines importing from non-traditional suppliers that can handle capesize ships hinges on the price of the commodity and freight charges.

"Economics dictate the market. You buy from the cheapest source," a trader said, adding that the Philippines has bought big volumes of feed wheat from Europe in the last two years.

The chartering manager with a grain trading firm agreed. "It's possible to bring capesize sometimes but not most of the time," he said. "It's nothing you can plan in the long term."


Traders said Nation Granary's new port will be busy handling imports for local consumption -- even if it does not become a transhipment hub.

The Philippines is one of Asia's biggest importers of rice, its main food staple, and other grains and feedstuffs because of its rapidly rising population and poor farming infrastructure.

The country bought 1.8 million tonnes of rice last year. In a typical year, it imports up to 3 million tonnes of both milling and feed wheat, 1.5 million tonnes of soymeal, 400,000 tonnes of soybeans and sometimes corn.

The Philippines does not grow wheat or soybeans.

"There is business locally," said Eduardo Alino, president of Subic Bay Freeport Grain Terminal Services Inc. "There is enough volume. You don't need to go into transhipment."

Alino's grain bulk handling facility at Subic, a former U.S. military base northwest of Manila, opened in January but he is already planning to double its capacity to 200,000 tonnes to meet the country's growing appetite.

Nation Granary will have capacity of 225,000 tonnes, while the Mariveles facility of Asian Terminals Inc. in Bataan, also on Luzon island, has a 180,000-tonne capacity.

Ric Pinca, vice president of the Philippine Association of Feedmillers Inc., said more grain ports would eventually reduce the cost of animal feed, bread, noodles, chicken and pork.

"All these developments should change the way the Philippines imports grain. As unloading becomes more efficient, our costs will be cheaper," Pinca said. "In the long run, this will be good for the country as this will reduce the cost of food."

Go after bigtime smugglers in Subic-Clark, Osmeña tells BoC

Senator Sergio Osmeña III challenged the Bureau of Customs (BoC) to also go after bigtime smugglers and not just on small retailers like those raided at 168 Shopping Mall in Divisoria two weeks ago.

Osmeña said the BoC was barking up at the wrong tree when they raided legitimate stall owners at 168 mall whose only fault was they bought their goods and wares without receipts.

According to Osmeña, BoC Commissioner Napoleon Morales should give priority to rampant smuggling operations at Subic Freeport in Zambales, Clark in Angeles City, Pampanga and Batangas City port.

Don’t raid retailers but the smugglers of goods in container vans. They are there in Subic, Clark and Batangas Ports, Osmeña said.

The senator from Cebu stated that legitimate retailers are just buying their goods from known importers and usually they do it without receipts since they have been used to it ever since in Divisoria.

“When you buy from a supplier, say a T-shirt, do you ask if taxes were paid for the T-shirt?,” Osmeña said.

Earlier, BoC and Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agents raided the 168 Mall in Division following mounting complaints aired by the Philippine Retailers Association (PRA) to President Arroyo about the alleged rampant selling of smuggled goods at very low price in the said mall that affected their business.

It is estimated that there are about 800 stall owner at 168 mall while about 3,000 vendors and helpers were affected as a result of the lightning raid conducted by the BoC. (Rolly T. Carandang -Tempo)

Thursday, March 30, 2006

YNN readies downpayment for Masinloc plant

By Donnabelle L. Gatdula, Philstar

YNN Pacific Consortium Inc. is ready to deliver its committed $222-million initial cash payment for the purchase of the 600-megawatt (MW) Masinloc coal-fired power plant in Zambales, industry sources said.

Sources privy to the ongoing talks between the consortium and the state-run Poser Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corp. (PSALM) said the former has "no choice but to pay," although there would be some minor "realignment of participation."

"The investors who have some concerns may lower their investments but the other members of the group may be willing to increase their participation in the power plant," a source said.

PSALM has given the YNN group, the winning bidder for the Zambales-based coal-fired facility, up to tomorrow (March 31) to deliver the cash, upfront or the $11.14-million performance bond posted by the consortium will be forfeited in favor of PSALM.

The performance bond will expire on August 2006 after PSALM allowed a four-month extension of the bond issued by Bank of China (Hong Kong) Ltd. which was supposed to lapse on April 7 this year.

Industry sources have speculated that YNN would backtrack on paying the upfront cash after it raised a number of concerns including political uncertainties that may affect its investment in Masinloc.

But a consortium insider insisted that they are "committed to working on the timetable as agreed upon with the government."

Hanjin Shipbuilding Impact

To the Point
Emil Jurado, Manila Standard

There has been no media hype, but the ship-building facility to be constructed in Subic by the Korean firm Hanjin Shipping and Industrial Co. Ltd. will have a far-reaching impact on the economy of the surrounding communities and the whole country as well.

The project is said to be the biggest ship-building venture in the country and will cost some $1 billion, or more than P51 billion at the current exchange rate. Reportedly, this will mean some 20,000 jobs during the construction phase and when actual operation starts, this will open employment opportunities for about 7,000 wielders and painters alone.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, the provincial officials of Zambales, Subic officials and residents of the site where the facility is located, have cooperated beautifully to jumpstart the project. The 196 families in the 50-hectare site affected by the initial construction have agreed to be relocated and have received compensation for their homes and crops. In addition, at least one qualified family member will be employed in the project.

The Korean may have started the South Korean invasion of the country with their “kimchinovelas,” watched by hundreds of thousands over television. The Korean invasion of the economy is also just as real.

Clark, Kuwaiti group to forge deal on technopark

The Manila Times Reporter

Clark Development Corp. (CDC), the state-owned firm overseeing the former US airbase-turned-economic zone, plans to forge a lease agreement with the ruling Al-Sabah family in Kuwait to develop the Clark Technopark.

Antonio Ng, CDC president, said the Al-Sabah family will fund the development of the 228-hectare technopark to the tune of P1.3 billion through Peregrine Development International.

In a recent seminar for business journalists, Ng said the technopark "is a self-contained community industrial estate for light manufacturing with support services, park and open spaces." It is expected to generate 20,000 jobs once its development is completed in three years.

The technopark is one of the projects included in the master land-use plan to reflect the four main engines of growth of CDC.

CDC is tasked to develop 32,000 hectares of land in Clark Field, Pampanga. The whole area is divided into a 4,400-hectare main zone and a 27,600-hectare subzone.

The main zone will be divided into three areas for industrial, tourism and aviation purposes.

But all those plans may come to naught if the Supreme Court turns down CDC’s request for a tax amnesty for hundreds of Clark locators. If that happens, the state-run firm may also be open to lawsuits and huge financial losses.

Ng said the CDC locators can file a case against the company for an unfavorable decision of the Supreme Court because they will have to pay the 30-percent corporate income tax instead of the 5 percent stipulated in their contract with the CDC if the tax amnesty is not granted.

A motion for reconsideration filed by the CDC sought the approval of the Court for a tax amnesty to be given to more than 300 locators since the time the ecozone was created until the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) agreed to give some exporters incentives on March 11, 2006.

He said that if the locators will sue, CDC’s future gains will be threatened. CDC now provides jobs to around 37,000 employees, which require P4.5 billion in salaries and benefits.

The CDC is also responsible for P54-billion worth of exports, P40-billion worth of investments in the country, and a P1.2-billion worth remittance to the Bureau of Internal Revenue in 2005.

The state-run firm is pushing for the approval of House Bills 4900 and 4901, which will grant tax amnesty to locators. It had also asked the Department of Finance to give the tax amnesty its blessing.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Sa pakikipagtulungan ng City Public Employment and Service Office (PESO), at www.jobs.subicbay.ph, isang JOB FAIR FESTIVAL ang hatid ni Mayor James "BONG" Gordon, Jr. Para sa mga 2006 graduates at job-seekers.
This whole day affair scheduled on March 31 , 2006 8am-4pm @ Rizal Triangle Covered Court, will have the following activities:

* On-the-spot hiring & Recruitment
* Overseas Employement
* On-line job registration
* training registration para sa welding at livelihood skills
* Manpower Pooling

kaya ihanda ang inyong resume at iba pang supporting documents para sa isang malaking JOB FAIR FESTIVAL NG TAON

Olongapo City Public Affairs Office

Reader's comment of Subic Fishermen being held in Vietman


I really hope that the Philippine government can get these seven fisherman released from Vietnam. It is like holding them for ransom. I would be willing to help with a donation if that would help. I would ask all the readers of subicbay news to help in any way that they can. Maybe someone can do a formal letter to the Vietnam government signed by many people asking for there return to the Philippines. In my opinion it is outragous that they were not sent home immediately.
Billy Thompson, Kenai, Alaska > > bdt557@yahoo.com
Reader's Comment on Subic Rape Case
From: "markk1pe" <markk1pe@yahoo.com>

Rape charges against soldiers defending our country against Abu-Sayef? For a girl whose brothers knowlingly dropped her at a bar in the evening, with no plan to pick her up? The same girl drunkenly went in a Van with several men in all hours of the night? And we are to give up all to fight for her? Stop propping up her unthinking lawyers, support out country and our import/export concerns instead. What has this 22 year ols party girl and her brothers done for us lately?

Grand times at Grand Seasons

Manila Bulletin

Vacations are always grand at the Grand Seasons Hotel. With an excellent location, superior rooms, convenient amenities and personalized service, the deluxe Grand Seasons Hotel promises to live up to its name.

Located just 20 minutes away from Subic Bay International Airport and within the business district of Subic Bay Freeport Zone, Grand Seasons Hotel is the ideal place to be. The duty-free shopping centers are nearby, and so is the bay itself for romantic bay cruises. The white sand beaches and the jungle trails are just a ride away for those family trips.

Grand Seasons Hotel is the ideal base for all recreational activities with its spacious, 155 elegantly furnished guest rooms spread out in four pavilions, each one named after a season of the year. Guests can have a choice from the standard, deluxe, junior suite and executive suite rooms. Each room has IDD telephone facility, safety deposit box, inhouse movies, cable and a mini-bar stocked with snacks and drinks.

Take a dip in the swimming pool or practice your putt in the putting green. Or just take a stroll around Grand Seasons Hotel’s lush tropical garden or a massage in your room. You can also roll out the dice at the casino and win the jackpot.

At the Four Seasons Restaurant, savor dimsum and other Cantonese dishes as well as Western dishes masterfully prepared by our Hong Kong chefs. Four Seasons Restaurant is open round the clock. Feng Huang Restaurant, on the other hand, is open from 11 a.m. for authentic Chinese hotpot cuisine or shabushabu.

Guests can avail of shuttle service to several points in Subic Bay, 24-hour medical service, and baby sitting services. The business travellers may also use the facilities of the business center. For inquiries, call 732-9888.

Subic manager denies smuggling activities in ecozone

Administrator Armand Arreza of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) said there is no smuggling at the Subic Freeport.

Arreza was reacting to a statement by Senator Sergio Osmeña III that smugglers are lurking in Subic, Clark and the Batangas port, and not in an obscure retail mall in Divisoria called 168.

Osmeña has said that the raid on the 168 Mall was a "zarzuela (a farce)" and an attack on legitimate retailers who unknowingly purchased goods from smugglers. He said authorities could stop smuggling by apprehending container vans at the Subic, Clark Freeport zones and at the port of Batangas.

He added that until now the government has yet to arrest or charge a big-time smuggler.

Arreza, in a roundtable discussion with President Arroyo and other officials of the Subic and Clark Freeports, said Osmeña's statement is part of an "old perception" because the SBMA and Customs authorities make sure that there is no smuggling in the area. (JMR) Sun Star

Nearby communities to be developed for spillover Subic investments

Government authorities project an overflow of foreign direct investments (FDI) in Subic Bay Freeport in a few years' time and are already preparing to direct these to communities adjacent to this former US naval base.

In a recent meeting here, the top executives of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), the Subic-Clark Area Development (SCAD) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) discussed the need to work with local government units in developing nearby communities for prime investments.

NEDA Director General Romulo Neri and Presidential Adviser for SCAD Edgardo Pamintuan affirmed SBMA Administrator Armand C. Arreza's projection that the Freeport will soon be "overflowing with FDIs."

"We are considering tapping the adjacent communities of the Subic Freeport as the catch basin for the spill-over effect of the imminent overflow of these investments," Arreza said.

"It is high time that these communities benefit directly from these investments aside from the annual one percent share that local government units (LGUs) get from the gross income taxes paid by businesses and enterprises within the Freeport Zone," Arreza said.

Based on data from the SBMA Business Group, of the US$ 3.348 billion total committed investments in the Freeport, US$ 2.7 billion or about 80 percent are FDIs.

"In a few years' time, the Freeport will be full to the brim with local and foreign investments. The biggest chunk of Freeport territory is the Redondo peninsula, which is 300 hectares, and has already been taken by Hanjin," he said.

Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction (HHIC) of South Korea will be constructing a shipyard in the Redondo Peninsula infusing a billion-dollar worth of investments in the Freeport.

Pamintuan said that the completion of the Hanjin project would also spur development throughout the area in terms of employment and greater revenues.

The Korean shipping firm is expected to generate up to 20,000 employment opportunities from the construction phase to its actual operations.

Neri said that Subic's growth would definitely enhance the potentials of nearby communities of Subic Bay and Clark, including prime areas such as the former naval communications base at San Miguel in Zambales; and Dinalupihan, Bataan, where the Subic-Clark-Expressway would pass through.

High court moves Subic rape case to Makati

MANILA -- The Supreme Court (SC) ordered on Tuesday the transfer to the Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC) of the trial of four US servicemen accused of raping a 22-year-old Filipino woman in Subic last November.

In a press briefing, SC spokesman and assistant court administrator Ismael Khan Jr. said the en banc court decided to transfer the venue of the trial from Olongapo City to Makati City at the end of its regular weekly session Tuesday. - Sun Star

GMA lauds Subic, Clark Development primemovers for job well done

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo gives high marks to the prime movers of the development projects in and around the Subic-Clark corridor in a live television roundtable discussion on Monday.

The top executives of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and Clark Development Corporation (CDC), and the Subic-Clark Alliance for Development (SCAD) project were lauded for doing a good job in implementing development projects designed to position Subic and Clark as a major service and logistics hub of Asia.

In a roundtable discussion aired over the government television network, SCAD Chairman Eduardo Pamintuan, SBMA Chairman Feliciano G. Salonga and Administrator Armand C. Arreza, and CDC President Antonio Ng took turns in reporting the status of the government’s two flagship projects – the Subic-Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEP) and the Subic Port Development Project – as well as other development projects in their respective areas.

Pamintuan assured the Chief Executive that the SCTEP, which will cut travel time between Subic and Clark to 30 minutes, will be completed before the end of 2007 and will be regarded as the most valuable real estate in the country.

Pamintuan added the convergence of Subic and Clark would produce the most competitive international service and logistics hub in this part of the globe in accordance with the President’s 10-point legacy agenda.

Pamintuan was recently appointed to oversee SCAD, which is actually a development strategy intended to “synergize” the assets and facilities of the two former US bases, linking its gateways – the airport in Clark and the air and sea ports in Subic thru a new highway.

Complementing the SCTEP is the Subic Port Modernization project, which is designed to serve exporters and importers in Central and Northern Luzon thereby decongesting Manila. Salonga, a former shipping executive, assured the President that the Subic port project is also on track and will be completed towards the end of 2007.

The SBMA Chair also reported that he has just returned from an official trip to Japan, during which he checked on the two gantry cranes to be installed in Subic’s container terminal. The installation of these cranes will increase the capacity of the Subic port to 600,000 TEUs.

Ng reported that the United Parcel Service (UPS) intends to implement its expansion project in Clark as part of the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA)’s operations in the Subic-Clark corridor.

The Chief Executive meanwhile assured that the Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA)’s operations would still be maintained.

Moreover, she particularly lauded the huge cut on aeronautical fees that the SBMA has recently implemented in a bid to entice more tourists to the Freeport.

“We are making our airport fees competitive to attract more tourists;” Arreza said. “We are giving 80 percent discount from Monday to Thursday, and 60 percent from Friday to Sunday,” Arreza said. = balita.org

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Hanjin opens 6,500 jobs in biggest job fair in Subic
Gerry's Grill


Subic, Zambales. Zambales vice governor Ramon G. Lacbain II appeals to secretary Alberto Romulo of the Department of Foreign Affairs to intervene in the immediate release of seven fishermen who are now being held in a hotel at Phuyen City in Vietnam since March 9, 2006 after they were found by a Vietnamese ship on top on their capcized and damaged fishing boat F/B JR Rodel 3 along the territorial waters of Vietnam.

Lacbain who is a resident of Subic, Zambales said that these fishermen are all his townmates from barangay Calapandayan which include Ian Jasper Tabio, 24; Harold Evangelista, 26; Efren Taytay, 35; Norman Rentillo, 29; Judy dela Cruz, 24; Jerry dela Cruz, 28 and Joffry Gobalani, 28.

These fishermen left Subic last February 22 to go on fishing at Red Bank Island in Palawan but they were carried away to Vietnam due to bad weather condition. They have been floating on top of their capsized and damaged fishing boat since March 3, 2006 until they were rescued by crews of a Vietnamese ship in the evening of March 9, 2006.

"The wives of these fishermen came to my office and said that Loie Vicente received a call from his nephew Ian Tabios telling that they safe and curently billited in a hotel in Phuyen City, Vietnam. But they are being held because of their mounting hotel bills and alleges that they are being asked to pay US5,000.00" for their rescue.

I wish these allegations for such payments are not true. How can we expect these fishermen to settle their hotel bills and to pay for their rescue? So I am calling on our government authorities at the Philippine Embassy in Vietnam and also the Department of Foreign Affairs headed by secretary Romulo to do their best to help our countrymen" , according to Lacbain.

Vice governor Lacbain yesterday sent an official letter to secretary Romulo appealling in behalf of the families of the victims to order the Philippine Embassy in Vietnam facilitate the return of these fishermen to Subic, Zambales since their families are now worried.

Proclamation 1035 restores tax breaks for Clark locators

By Rendy Isip - Manila Standard Today

CLARK FIELD, Pampanga— President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has signed Proclamation 1035, placing the Clark Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) under the jurisdiction of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) and restoring tax and customs privileges to firms located in the 33,765-hectare economic zone.

Proclamation 1035 also reiterated Proclamation 163, signed by former President Fidel Ramos, which designated the former Clark military reservation and contiguous areas, including the area covered by the former Sacobia Development Authority, into a special economic zone.

Proclamation 1035 effectively remedied the effect of a Supreme Court ruling that nullified the tax and duties exemptions enjoyed by foreign companies that have set up manufacturing facilities in the economic zone.

Clark Development Corp. (CDC) president Antonio Ng and Peza director general Lilia de Lima also recently signed an agreement arising from Proclamation 1035, designating Clark’s 33,765 hectares as special economic zone effective March 10.

The signing was witnessed by Trade Secretary Peter Favila and CDC chairman Rizalino Navarro.

Despite the signing of Proclamation 1035, however, thousands of workers, investors and other major stakeholders inside the CSEZ pressed their appeal for Congress to pass measures that would amend the law governing the CSEZ.

Workers are worried that investors may pull out their investments if Congress continues to delay enactment of House Bills 4900 and 5064 (formerly HB 4901). The bills are intended to resolve tax incentive and duty-free privilege issues to four economic zones in the country.

HB 5064 calls for amendments to Republic Act 7227, or the Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992, particularly Section 12 which provides tax and duty-free privileges to Subic Freeport. HB 4900 calls for the declaration of a one-time tax amnesty on tax and duty liabilities, including fines, penalties and interests incurred by locators inside special economic zones and freeports.

In his sponsorship speech at the House, Tarlac Rep. Jesli Lapus, who chairs the House committee on ways and means, urged his colleagues to correct some of the provisions of RA 7227 that would rationalize the tax incentives and duty-free privileges enjoyed by companies in economic zones.

Lapus said more than 37,000 workers in 370 companies in Clark stand to lose their jobs should investors pull out as a result of congressional inaction.

These investment projects in Clark contribute more than P4.1 billion in annual salaries, which are being plowed back to the local economy, he added.

He added that Clark has also registered 15 percent export growth with P54 billion annual income, including the remittance of taxes of P1.2 billion to the national treasury.

Some P35 billion worth of investments have been poured in Clark since the creation of the economic zone here in 1993. These may all go down the drain if no legislative measures are undertaken to restore tax and duty-free privileges for Clark investors, he stressed.

Subic adjacent towns tapped as 'catch basin' ....

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), Subic-Clark Area Development (SCAD) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) are tapping the adjacent communities of the Subic Freeport as the catch basin for the spill-over effect of the imminent overflow of these investments, an SBMA official said.

"Subic Freeport will soon be overflowing with Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) so we call the adjacent communities of the Subic Freeport to be the catch basin for this," SBMA Administrator Armand C. Arreza said.

He added, "it is high time that these communities benefit directly from these investments aside from the annual one percent share that local government units (LGUs) get from the gross income taxes paid by businesses and enterprises within the Freeport zone.

"In a few years time, the Freeport will be full to the brin with local and foreign investments. The biggest chunk of Freeport territory is the Redondo Peninsula, which is 300 hectares, and has already been taken by Hanjin," he said.

Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction (HHIC) of South Korea will be constructing a shipyard in the Redondo Peninsula infusing a billion-dollar worth of investments to Subic Freeport.

Arreza furthered that it is a clear indication of growth because the SBMA's trust has been for more FDIs to come in so that the country would have more resources to augment the capital generation from the local businesses.

He said that with a good financial package of 5 percent tax incentive and a competitive cost, more FDIs are definitely be attracted to invest in the Freeport.

Presidential Adviser for SCAD Edgardo Pamintuan said that the completion of the Hanjin project will also spur development throughout the area in terms of employment and greater revenues.

He added that with a 20,000 balloon in employment, the shipbuilding firm would eventually hold the title for the biggest employer in Subic Bay. The said shipyard is expected to generate up to 20,000 employment opportunities from the construction to its actual operations.

NEDA President Romulo Neri said that Subic's growth would definitely enhance nearby communities of Subic and Clark, which includes potential of prime areas such as former naval instillation in San Miguel, Zambales and Dinalupihan, Bataan where the Subic-Clark Expressway would pass through.

The representatives fo the three government agencies agreed that with the current state of investment the Subic Freeport is in, they would need to tap communities that are contiguous with Subic Freeport and develop it for prime investments.

Officials want more spur roads to SCTEX

CLARK FIELD, Pampanga— There should be more access roads to the P21 billion Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) to spur economic activity in the Clark Special Economic Zone and Angeles City, according to Subic-Clark Alliance for Development (SCAD) chairman Edgardo Pamintuan.

Pamintuan said during a meeting of the SCAD board at the Clark Development Corp. (CDC) on March 22 that officials are studying the possibility of building four interchanges and ramps in Clark Field.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) vice president for operations Antonio Rex Chan said a full diamond interchange in Clark will cost P60 million while a full interchange at the Friendship Bridge will likely entail P1.6 billion because the access road will be constructed underground.

Chan said an elevated full interchange should also be cleared with the Air Transportation Office (ATO) because it will hinder the operations of the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport. The airport’s runway is directly aligned at the Friendship Highway and any elevated structure must have the clearance of the ATO.

Presidential assistant for Northern Luzon Renato Diaz said three other alternative areas could be tapped for the project and these areas comprise three barangays in the city.

Diaz said he will ask Angeles City Mayor Carmelo Lazatin to approve the project and help secure right-of-way for the project.

The CDC Bureau of Utilities and Regulatory Department has been tasked to study if the areas are still within the territory of Clark Field.

Pamintuan said the four proposed access points will spur economic activities not only in Clark but also in Subic, Tarlac and Angeles City.

Chan welcomed the move but stressed that funds should be sourced for this four new proposals for the SCTEX, whose construction is now in full blast. It is expected to be completed by 2007.

Ng said that full logistic interchange area at the proposed Clark Techno Park at the industrial estate here will affect about 11,000 sqm of land area and a projected loss of $66,000 annual income for CDC. Rendy Isip, Manila Standard

Subic rape victim files motion for change of venue

The Manila Times Correspondent

OLONGAPO CITY - The lawyers of the 22-year-old Subic rape victim have confirmed they filed a motion for change venue following the inhibition of the judge trying the case.

The lawyer Evalyn Ursua told The Manila Times in a telephone interview that they have filed a motion for change venue of the case.

Ursua refused to give further details until the Supreme Court receives the motion.

A staff from Branch 75 of the Regional Trial Court in Olongapo City said the scheduled raffle of the case Tuesday might not push through.

Earlier, Olongapo RTC Judge Renato Dilag had recused from the case. He reasoned that his son used to work with the law firm that is now representing Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith, one of the rape suspects.

All-out campaign vs smuggling

No sacred cows - Palace

By GENALYN D. KABILING, Manila Bulletin

President Arroyo yesterday ordered Customs Commissioner Napoleon Morales, the government’s new anti-smuggling czar, to carry out the reinforced crackdown on smugglers and their cohorts in the Bureau without fear or favor.

"Customs Commissioner Napoleon as the new head of the anti-smuggling task force has the full backing of the Palace in going after smuggling syndicates and corrupt officials and personnel of the BOC," Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said in a statement.

"The President has made it clear to Commissioner Morales that there are to be no sacred cows in this all-out effort to fight smuggling," Bunye added.

Bunye noted the customs bureau has began the necessary reforms to increase its collection efficiency and improve its services.

The President recently named Morales to replace then Interior and Local Government Secretary Angelo Reyes who now heads the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

Also named to the task force were Armed Forces Chief Gen. Generoso Senga and Philippine National Police Chief Dir. Gen. Arturo Lomibao, among others. The new appointments were contained in Executive Order No. 509 dated March 15 which became effective immediately.

The President, meantime, ordered yesterday heightened inspection of imported goods outside the Subic and Clark economic zones amid reports some smugglers use the ports as entry points.

Mrs. Arroyo said more customs agents must be deployed at the gates of the two free ports to inspect and impose the proper taxes and duties on goods being brought out.

She said the government plans to develop warehouse services in the two economic zones en route to turning them into a world-class logistic hub in the region.

Sen. Sergio Osmena earlier said smugglers are thriving in Subic, Clark and Batangas ports and not in retail malls in Divisoria, Manila. He said the government must focus its crackdown on these ports instead.

The Arroyo government has embarked on an all-out campaign against smuggling because it deprives the government of needed revenues and unfairly compete with legitimate business

Subic Car body kits maker revs up exports

A MANUFACTURER of after-sales car body kits based in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, northwest of Manila, said Friday that its export venture had reached full throttle, shipping out as much as 160 sets a month.

George Ramirez, president of McGram Fusion Inc., said the company had reached its export target volume for car body kits made of fiberglass, carbon fiber and kevlar.

Ramirez said that the kits were primarily for car owners who want to enhance the aesthetic features of their vehicles.

"All our products, including the restored vehicles refitted with some modern parts, are for export," he said. "The restored cars are either left-hand-drive vintage or right-hand drive brand new models. That means none of our products would be allowed to be registered or used in the Philippines."

Ramirez's announcement came just as Subic authorities decided to push for the revival of the racing circuit at the Freeport.

Armand Arreza, administrator of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), said Ramirez's business would boost the revival of the Subic International Raceway.

"One of the reasons why Subic is a staple name in the racing industry is that we have one of the most difficult race tracks in the country," Arreza said.

The SBMA also said Finland-based Wartsila Land & Sea Academy Inc. would spend P6 million to expand its training facility in Subic.

WLSA plans to operate and manage a training center that would conduct maritime and power plant trainings.

In 2001, WLSA started operating in Subic its regional training and research center for the Asia-Pacific rim, offering specialized nautical engineering courses and product services for seafarers. Ronnel Domingo, with INQ7.net

Land Dispute Led to Zambales Killing - Anakpawis

A land dispute over a quarrying operation may have led to the March 20 ambush here that nearly killed Zambales Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) coordinator Amante Abelon and caused the death of his 35-year old wife, Agnes, and five-year old son, Ervy John.

by A. Mangampo Ociones
Gitnang Luson News Service
Posted by Bulatlat

San Marcelino, Zambales (153 kms. north of Manila)– A land dispute over a quarrying operation may have led to the March 20 ambush here that nearly killed party-list Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) coordinator for Zambales Amante Abelon and caused the death of his wife and five-year old son.

Abelon’s wife, Agnes, 35, and their son Ervy John, 5, were killed in Sitio (sub-village) Mawaw, Barangay (village) San Pablo, Castillejos, Zambales after being shot in the head.

Abelon, 42, a village councilor in nearby San Rafael, San Marcelino town and vice chairperson of the Zambales chapter of the militant peasant group Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luson (AMGL, Peasant Alliance in Central Luzon) was on board a motorcycle along with his wife and son when waylaid by still unidentified assailants.

Local police authorities said Abelon recognized one of the assailants as an army agent. But military officials quickly brushed aside the allegation and told media to wait and “let the police do their job.”

Amante’s father, Severino Abelon, incumbent councilor and former vice mayor of San Marcelino told a fact finding mission led by KARAPATAN-Central Luzon March 21 that his son was popular and was involved in helping farmers with land problems throughout the province.

“Maraming naiinggit o nagagalit sa pagtulong niya at ito marahil ang dahilan ng kanyang pagkamatay,” (Many are envious or angry because my son was helping people and this may have led to his death), the elder Abelon told GLNS.


A community organizer who requested anonymity told the fact-finding mission team that Abelon is presently helping some farmers who were allegedly victims of land grabbing and who were displaced from their farms by a quarrying operation in Sitio Mamaw, Barangay San Pablo Castillejos town.

The quarry sits on a 250-ha. land that was covered by lahar and sand deposits from the 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruption.

It started in 2005 and is operated jointly by former San Marcelino mayor Joker Rodriguez and Manuel Arquero.

The land used to be very productive since it lies along the Sto. Tomas River.


After their farms were covered by lahar, the farmers tried to make a living through small-scale quarrying.

In 1993, San Antonio Farms (SAF), an agricultural company owned by a certain Laurel leased the land from the farmers for five years.

SAF conducted a survey to ascertain individual ownerships and boundaries before the land was cleared and planted with sugar cane.

Three years later, armed men strafed the bunkhouses of the company, residents said.


After the strafing, the farmhands hired by SAF fled to Pampanga and the land was abandoned.

The farmers once again prepared to scrape the lahar off their farms and make it productive.

In 2005, with the SAF gone, representatives of Arquero and Rodriguez arrived and claimed the land as theirs, brandishing a very old title under the name of Ceferino Rodriguez.

Ceferino Rodriguez was purported to be a very rich man who owned the entire Philippines — a claim described by the farmers as “preposterous.”

“E, maliit pa ako nagsasaka na kami diyan, paano naging kanya ang lupa?” (From the time we were still small we were already tilling the land, how can they claim that the land is theirs?) a close friend of Abelon and a batchmate at West Luzon Agricultural College (WLAC), who also asked not to be named, told GLNS.


Relatives and friends believe the quarry issue is the most probable cause of Abelon’s ambush, a claim supported by Anakpawis members here.

But all refused to be named because of fear.

“Gusto kasi nila masolo ang pera sa quarry,” (They want to keep the quarry profits to themselves.) a close relative said.

In the morning of March 20, Abelon and his family went to the Zambales Electric Cooperative (ZAMECO) office in San Marcelino to a report a busted electric connection, the fact finding mission learned.

Riding their motorcycle, the family later passed by the Castillejos Public Market to buy a few household items before proceeding to Bgy. San Rafael in San Marcelino town.

They were waylaid at around noon, a hundred meters away from the secondary dike in Sitio Mawaw in the same village where the quarry is located.

Running for his life

When they heard the first volley of shots, eyewitnesses interviewed by the fact finding mission said they ran and took shelter in a nearby hut.

The same eyewitnesses said they saw Abel running for his life while at least one armed man in a white shirt repeatedly fired at him. While running, Abel was reportedly able to call his employer and asked for help.

His wounded body was found some 70 meters away from his motorcycle and was first brought to the San Marcelino Emergency Hospital.


Witnesses further claimed a dark colored sports utility vehicle was seen some ten meters away from where Agnes and Ervy John were found dead.

The lifeless body of Agnes was found embracing her son, as if trying to cover him from danger, witnesses said. The two victims were found dead with a single bullet wound each on their heads.

The motorcycle was found parked by the roadside some 10 meters away from the victims. Witnesses said the victims may have not been immediately attacked. Abelon may have recognized the assailants and had parked his motorcycle before they were fired upon, witnesses said.

Nine bullets were removed from Abelon’s body. He is now under heavy guard at an undisclosed hospital. Gitnang Luson News Service/Posted by Bulatlat

Monday, March 27, 2006

2 Delegates sent to attendTraining for Leaders of Adult

The James L. Gordon Council, with its move to further professionalize the leadership of the local scouting council accepted the invitation extended by CSE Modesto Ancheta (former OIC of James L Gordon and currently the Scout Executive of Bataan Council) and sent two (2) participants to the Basic Training Course for Leader’s of Adult (BTC-LOA) held last March 24-26 at Paran Resort, Samal Bataan.
Hon. Edwin J. Piano (Council 2nd Vice-Chairman) and Mr.Mario Esquillo (Council’s officer-in-charge) attended the BTC-LOA 2006-001. The rare training which happens to be the first ever conducted in the Central Luzon Region was also attended by no less than 38 District Supervisors and Secondary School Principals coming from the Division of Bataan and facilitated by no less than the Regional Scouts Director William Chavez and his elite staff composed of 5 International Leader Trainers and 5 National and Assistant Leader Trainers.
Also part of our pride, Mr. Alberto C. Baviera,Jr. , former Council Scout Executive and currently serving as Administrative Officer of the James L. Gordon Council, was among the Leader Trainers who served as discussants during the training. The council’s next step to undertake now is to share the knowledge to scouts and scouters of the James L. Gordon Council. Very timely for the upcoming Summer Builder’s Leadership Training Academy (PLTC / CLTC /Advancement and Team Building Camp) intended for young leaders coming from several schools in Olongapo. As another trail ahead, the council’s very own Basic Training Course for Troop and Kawan Leaders is already being set for the month of June and July. With the additional knowledge gained, the James L. Gordon Council is looking forward for a more meaningful scouting life in months and years to come.

The essentials, vision, mission, objective, purpose and different youth programs of the scouting movement were discussed in detail and were presented in the whole three (3) days session. Each participant internalized the topics presented and ended with the optimism to put everything in action and somehow fulfill the commitment to help the movement in its fight to ease the ills of society. Each of the participants were given their individual course assignment after the 3-day training. The said assignment must be completed within the period of three months. The BTC-LOA is the pre-requisite for the Advance Training Course for Leaders of Adult.
Positions and distinctions were disregarded during the training duration and humility was given emphasis in order for the training team to convey all the needed learnings effectively. Each participant learned all the aspect of scouting from the World Organization of Scouting Movements (WOSM) down to the smallest scouting unit in the movement. The expected output of the training are new breeds of commissioners and adult leaders who will work to live the scouting ideals with pride, honor and dedication; Leaders who are committed to extend and breathe new life to our nation’s precious treasures- the young boys and girls; Volunteers who share the value of building among our youth the foundation of strong Love-for God, Country, Fellowmen and One’s self.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Subic authority offers airlines 60% and 80% discounts


THE Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) said Wednesday it was offering airlines discounts of 80 percent on weekdays and 60 percent on weekends on aeronautical fees.

The fees cover landing and take-off, parking, lighting and other charges, such as for use of navigational equipment and radar.

"We are doing this to attract more airlines to come and use the Subic Bay International Airport," SBMA chief administrator Armand Arreza said.

The carriers using the Subic Bay International Airport include Inter-Island Airlines, which offers chartered flights to and from Taiwan, Mandarin Air with flights to and from Taiwan, Cebu Pacific Air with flights to and from Incheon in South Korea, and Air Philippines with flights to and from Hong Kong. With INQ7.net


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Sa bisa ng Resolution 21 (Series of 2006) ng Sangguniang Panlungsod, kinilala ang pitong (7) taong gulang na tinaguriang Aqua Boy ng Olongapo na si Lou Brad Nazareno-Ignacio.

Sa pangunguna ni City Mayor James ‘’Bong’’ Gordon, Jr. at ng buong City Council Officials ay ginawad kay Lou Brad ang Certificate of Recognition sa Flag Raising Ceremony nitong ika-13 ng Marso 2006 sa Rizal Triangle Covered Court sa harap rin ng mga kawani ng lokal na pamahalaan.

Ang kompetisyong isinagawa noong ika-10 ng Disyembre 2005 sa YMCA-Olongapo, ang nagbigay-daan sa batang kampeon upang makilala sa larangan ng swimming at pagwagian ang titulong ‘’Outstanding Swimmer’’ in the World Swim Malaria Competition-Male Division.

Si Lou Brad Nazareno-Ignacio ay grade 2 student mula sa Olongapo City Elementary School na binangsagang Aqua Boy ni Mayor Gordon, ‘’Sana ay dumami pa ang mga katulad ni Aqua Boy na humahataw sa pagbibigay-karangalan hindi lamang sa kanyang sarili kung hindi maging sa Lungsod ng Olongapo.’’

Dahil sa taglay na husay, disiplina, determinasyon at lakas sa larangan ng paglangoy ni Aqua Boy ay isinulong at sinuportahan ng buong konseho at Mayor Gordon ang sertipiko bilang inspirasyon sa mga kabataang nagtataglay ng kapareho ding galing.

Olongapo Public Affairs Office


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Isinabay sa Flag Raising Ceremony nitong ika-13 ng Marso 2006 sa Rizal Triangle Covered Court ang isang simple ngunit madamdaming Oath Taking Ceremony ng pinakabagong miembro ng Sangguniang Panlungsod na si Kgd. John Carlos Gordon delos Reyes.

Sa pangunguna ni City Mayor James ‘’Bong’’ Gordon, Jr. at ng buong pwersa ng Sangguniang Panglungsod kabilang na ang mga kawani ng lokal na pamahalaan ay malakas na palakpakan ang nangibabaw matapos ang kanyang panunumpa kay ng Judge Reynaldo Laygo ng Municipal Trial Court in the Cities Branch 3.

Sa ibinigay na maikli ngunit malaman na mensahe ng batang-kagawad kanyang sinabi na, ‘’Maraming malaki at magandang alok na trabaho ang aking natanggap habang ako ay nag-aaral ng abogasya, ngunit nangibabaw pa rin sa akin na pag-lingkuran ang Olongapo.’’

‘’At hindi ko bibiguin ang aking mga kababayan dahil lahat ay aking gagawin upang maging mabuting kagawad ng lungsod,’’ pagwawakas ng kagawad na lalong lumikha ng malakas na palakpakan.

Kasama ni Kgd. delos Reyes ang kanyang buong pamilya kabilang na ang kanyang may-bahay na si Dunia Valenzuela delos Reyes, tatlong anak na sina Gabriel, Santiago at Barbara Therese at mga magulang na sina Sonny at Barbara delos Reyes.

Saksi rin ang lola ni Kgd. delos Reyes sa espesyal na okasyon na si dating Congresswoman at Mayor Amelia Gordon na isa sa mga naging inspirasyon niya ng kanyang unang pasukin ang pulitika.

Nagsimula ang political career ni Kgd. delos Reyes noong 1995 ng magkaroon ng isang (1) puwang ang Nationalista Party lineup at i-alok ni dating Mayor Amelia Gordon ang puwesto bilang konsehal ng Olongapo.

Bagamat neophyte na matatawag, ay pumasok sa Top 10 ang pinagka-batang kagawad ng lungsod ng kanyang panahon at tatlong (3) taon niyang pinangunahan ang komite para sa mga kabataan.

Partikular na kanyang in-organisa ang Center for Youth Formation, upang ibahagi ang kahalagaan ng disiplina, self-control and love of God para sa mga kabataan ng lungsod.

Binansagan si Kgd. delos Reyes bilang Political Missionary ng isang babasahin dahil nakakitaan ito ng mga political ideologists, na batay sa kagustuhan ng Panginoon at hindi sa kagustuhan ng tao lamang.

‘’Faith and politics are intertwined, and the solution to the country’s ills lies not in the hands of man but in the hand of God,’’ ayon kay Kgd. delos Reyes na magsisimula ng panunungkulan nitong darating na Miyerkules ika-15 ng Marso 2006 para sa lingguhang sesyon.

Olongapo City Public Affairs Office


Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Dumagsa sa Rizal Triangle Covered Court ang mga boxing aspirants na nais sumunod sa yapak nina Onyok Velasco at Manny Pacquiao. Ito ay dahil sa inorganisang Boxing Training Program ng pamahalaang lokal na ginanap noong Marso 11, 2006. Mapa-bata, matanda at kababaihan ay lumahok sa ginanap na training.

Si Manuelito Velasco, kapatid ng dating Olympic silver-medalist na si Onyok Velaso, at head ng Philippine Boxing Team, ang nagbigay ng training ukol sa basics ng sports na boxing. Tunay na de-kalibreng trainor ang kinuha ni Mayor James “Bong” Gordon Jr. upang seryosong mahasa ang mga participants sa ginanap na training.

Si Mayor James “Bong” Gordon Jr., na siyang may ideya ng naturang proyekto, ay masusing sumaksi sa naganap na training. Ikinatuwa ni Mayor Gordon na maraming nagkaroon ng interes at sa kanyang pananalita ay binati niya ang mga kalahok: “Pag-igihan ninyo ang pagsasanay, sapagkat ang lahat ng tagumpay ay nagsisimula sa pagtitiyaga at simpleng pangarap. Ang kabuuan ng malusog na pagkatao ay dapat na malusog sa isip, katawan at ispirito.”

Ang proyektong ito ay isang paraan para mahikayat ang mga kabataan na mahilig sa mga palaro. Ang sports ng boxing ay nagtuturo ng disiplina, kontol at pokus. Paraan din ito upang mailayo sa bisyo at masasamang barkada. Napapanahon din ang sports para may makabuluhang pagka-abalahan ang mga kabataan ngayong bakasyon.

“Ang maganda pa nito, oportunidad rin ito upang maging tanyag sa ibat-ibang larangan ng palakasan at maipanlaban sa mga palaro hindi lamang dito sa ating bansa pati na rin sa mga international competitions,” dagdag pa ni Mayor Gordon.

Olongapo City Public Affairs Office

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


Naging matagumpay ang isinagawang job fair ng Hanjin Heavy Industries nitong March 22, 2006 sa FSC ground, SBMA. Kasabay nito ay ang launching ng pinaka-unang on-line job matching service sa Olongapo ang www.jobs.subicbay.ph. Umabot sa humigit kumulang isang libong job hunters ang dumagsa para magpa-rehistro at magpa-interview.

Ayon kay Mayor Gordon, ang Hanjin ay ang ika-apat na pinaka-malaking Ship Builder sa buong mundo at mapalad ang mga taga Olongapo, Subic at Bataan dahil SBMA ang napili nito na pagtayuan ng kanilang kumpanya. Tinatayang aabot sa 7,000 libong trabaho ang maibibigay ng Hanjin sa pagbubukas nito.

Ibinahagi naman ni Administrator Armand Arreza ang puspusang paghahanap ng mga manggagawa ng Hanjin para sa pagpapasimula ng kanilang operasyon sa mga buwang darating. Bagay na dapat ikatuwa ng mga naghahanap ng trabaho lalo’t higit yung mga skilled.

Malaking tulong naman ang hatid ng pinaka-unang on-line job matching service na ilinunsad ni Mayor Bong Gordon sa tulong ni Kgwd. Edwin J. Piano. Ang www.jobs.subicbay.ph ay isang paraan para maiwasan ang mahabang pila, at magastos na pag-papa-xerox ng maraming resumes at mahabang oras na dapat gugulin sa paghahanap ng trabaho. Ang bawat aplikante na nag-parehistro ay magiging bahagi ng on-line database at tiyak na mababahaginan ng imporamsyon sa bawat vacancy na maipapasok sa website. Ang imporamasyon ay ihahatid sa pamamagitan ng email, text, tawag o di kaya’y sa pamamagitan ng mga Brgy. Job Placement Coordinators na personal na dadalaw sa bawat qualified na aplikante. Sa pamamagitan nito ay mas mapapadali ang ang paghahanap ng trabaho sa lungsod ng Olongapo at sa loob ng SBMA.

Ang nasabing job fair ay dinaluhan din ng ibat-ibang kinatawan ng SBMA Labor Center sa pamunuo ni Atty. Severino Pastor, PESO Manager Evelyn Delos Santos, mga kinatawan ng TESDA, DOLE at mga kawani ng lokal na pamahalaan ng Olongapo at SBMA.
Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
Councilor Edwin Piano tours SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza and Olongapo City Mayor Bong Gordon to the www.jobs.subicbay.ph website while job seekers line-up at the on-line registration booth during the job fair.
*ulat ni Mario Esquillo

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Justice secretary ready to lose Subic rape case?

POSTSCRIPT By Federico D. Pascual, Jr.
The Philippine Star

VFA COVER: If the Philippines did not sign the Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States, we would not be in this embarrassing situation of being denied custody of four American servicemen accused of raping a Filipina in Subic last November.

Without the VFA, the accused GIs would now be, or should be, in the physical custody of local authorities because they were off duty and on Philippine soil at the time they allegedly committed the heinous crime of rape in violation of a Philippine law and of the rights and dignity of a Philippine citizen.

With those preponderant circumstances, had there been no VFA, the GIs would have gone straight to a local detention cell while the case is being processed. They would not have gained a haven in the US embassy, which is technically US territory.

As a local expression goes, when we signed the VFA, we picked up a rock and hit ourselves in the head with it. * * *
TELEGRAPHED MOVE: The case is again on the front burner because Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez hinted over the weekend that charges may be dropped against some of the four GIs before their arraignment scheduled March 24 in Olongapo City.

"I think not all of them should be charged, but Smith should be charged," Gonzalez said, referring to Cpl. Daniel Smith, one of the principal accused. The GIs have insisted that only one of them had sex with the woman and that the act was consensual.

But why is Gonzalez telegraphing the move of the government on Smith’s plea for the rape charge to be dropped? He virtually announced that Smith will stay as charged while his companions will be off the hook.

Assuming this is the game plan, why should the US-friendly secretary announce it prematurely? What does he gain from doing so?

(The secretary also has this habit of commenting on the merits of cases whose disposition by state prosecutors may just be elevated to him on appeal.) * * *


The Filipino driver of the van where the 22-year-old woman was allegedly raped was originally a co-accused, but he was dropped when it was noticed that holding him would highlight the double standards being applied.

Imagine what would happen if the Filipino driver, as accessory, were locked up in an Olongapo jail while his American principal co-accused were lolling at the US embassy premises.

The solution to this explosive public relations problem was to remove the Filipino driver from the charge sheet so there would be no need to detain him apart from the Americans.

I wonder, though, if the driver is aware that he may still be indicted later if he refuses to cooperate with the prosecution? (Assuming, of course, that Gonzalez and the government want to win the case and lose American points.) * * *


Talking of losing US points, read this report of Eric Lachica emailing from Washington, DC, on President George W. Bush’s slashing US aid to the Philippines:

"President George W. Bush has slashed American economic and military assistance to the Philippines from $87.8 million in 2006 to $83 million in fiscal year 2007, or a reduction of $6 million.

"In his budget proposal submitted to Congress last month, the US President reduced funding for the various assistance programs to the Arroyo government by six percent.

"The bulk of the cut will be made on the Foreign Military Financing (FMF) from $20 million this year to $17.6 million next year, or a reduction of more than $2 million.

"In contrast, military and economic aid to Indonesia and other Asian countries has been increased.

"Another big slice was made on Development Assistance, from $21.5 million this year to $19.6 million next year, or a reduction of nearly $2 million. * * *


"In 2005, a year after the withdrawal of the small Philippine contingent from Iraq by President Gloria Arroyo, US aid to the Philippines was reduced by 30 percent, from $125.6 million to $87.6 million, or a reduction of $37.8 million.

"In the current budget of Mr. Bush, the Economic Support Funds (ESF) and International Military Education and Training (IMET) remained the same as that of last year of $20 million and $2.9 million, respectively.

"Slight reductions were made in the Child Survival and Health Funds, from $21.4 million to $21 million."

(Several reasons were advanced in the report for the aid reduction, but we leave that to your imagination. Or we can wait for the newly arrived US ambassador Kristie Anne Kenney to offer some reasons for this. – fdp)

"During the confirmation hearing of Ambassador Kristie Anne Kenney in the Senate, the name of President Arroyo was never mentioned by her or the senators who grilled her.

"The ambassador pledged to strengthen democracy when a senator asked her about the political crisis in the Philippines." * * *


The incoming US ambassador may also want to explain later why the VFA, which is roiling RP-US relations, was never submitted by the White House to the Senate for advice and consent or the equivalent of ratification.

As said in an earlier Postscript, the fact that the US Senate did not ratify the VFA – in contrast to its having been concurred in by the Philippines’ treaty-ratifying Senate – is not a minor detail.

This failure of the US Senate to consent to it tells us how the US government regards the VFA. It probably tells us also how we should regard it in return, in the spirit of justice and reciprocity.

That the US regards the VFA as only an executive agreement, or a notch lower than a treaty, could pose a problem on this side of the Pacific if the usual nitpickers and anti-American elements pick up the issue.

Section 25 of Article XVIII (Transitory Provisions) of the Constitution says that "foreign military bases, troops, or facilities shall not be allowed in the Philippines except under a treaty duly concurred in by the Senate xxx and recognized as a treaty by the other contracting State."

Since the VFA is not recognized as a treaty by the US – "the other contracting State" – its serving as basis for the continued stay of foreign (American) forces in the country is questionable. * * *


While everybody is doing some explaining, maybe Secretary Gonzalez may want to continue talking and help explain a few more points in the government’s handling of the Subic rape case.

The problem seems to have arisen basically from the Philippine government’s (1) advance surrender of primary jurisdiction over criminal cases still to be committed, and (2) failure to assert on time its primary jurisdiction over the Subic case.

With all the attendant circumstances as pointed out earlier, the case actually falls under the primary jurisdiction of Philippine authorities. But there is Article V (on Criminal Jurisdiction), Paragraph 2(d) of the VFA which says:

"Recognizing the responsibility of the United States military authorities to maintain good order and discipline among their forces, Philippine authorities will, upon request by the United States, waive their primary right to exercise jurisdiction except in cases of particular importance to the Philippines. If the Government of the Philippines determines that the case is of particular importance, it shall communicate such determination to the United States authorities within twenty (20) days after the Philippine authorities receive the United States request. * * *

ON U.S. SAY-SO: Note in the above VFA paragraph that:

Even before it knew what criminal offenses could be committed by visiting American forces, the Philippine government already agreed in advance and in writing to waive primary jurisdiction "upon request by the United States." All that was needed was a US request and that was it!

Yes, there was still a chance to hold on to primary jurisdiction – if the Philippines told the US within 20 days of the request for waiver that the case is of "particular importance" to the Philippine government.

Apparently the raping of a Filipina by GIs is not particularly important to the Arroyo administration, so the government did not say so early enough. After 20 days, it thus lost primary jurisdiction over the incident.

It is not the fault of the US if the Arroyo administration is not keen on asserting itself. Alangan naman ang US pa ang magpo-protect ng ating interests.

That the US embassy moves to protect its citizens in trouble is to be expected. If fact, it is to be commended for that.

Of course the Americans have an added advantage in that there is Raul Gonzalez at the justice department.

Anakpawis coordinator gunned down in Castillejos

Attacks on leftists mount
By Edgar Alejo, Gil Francis Arevalo, Tonette Orejas - Inquirer

IN MOUNTING VIOLENCE against militants, unidentified men yesterday shot dead the wife and son of a peasant leader in the province of Zambales while gravely wounding him, hours after a student leader was gunned down by an assassin in Legazpi City in Albay province.

The victims were among more than 100 people linked to militant groups murdered since 2001 in attacks around the country that have outraged Amnesty International and which leftists said were part of political repression.

The militants blamed the killings on the security forces of the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Yesterday’s attack on Amante Abelon, his wife and 5-year-old son in Castillejos town in Zambales coincided with ceremonies in the Army headquarters Fort Bonifacio where Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan received the Distinguished Service Star for his campaign against communist insurgents.

Human rights groups have accused Palparan, who operates in the Central Luzon region, of responsibility in the killing of leftwing dissidents -- an allegation the general denies.

Abelon, coordinator of the party-list group Anakpawis in Zambales and vice chair of the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon [Alliance of Farmers in Central Luzon], was on a motorcycle with his wife and son when they were fired upon by two men.

No witness

Abelon was taken to the James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital in Olongapo City.

As of 6:30 last night, he was undergoing surgery for multiple bullet wounds, said hospital administrator Ferdinand Magrata.

Abelon’s wife Agnes, 30, and son Elvin John died instantly in the shooting in Barangay San Pablo, police said.

Zambales police chief Senior Supt. Arrazad Subong said the investigation could not proceed because the police had no other eyewitnesses in the attack except for Abelon.

Envoys pitch Subic package

Celebrity endorsers to shoot soap opera in top destination

Taiwan News, Staff Reporter / By Marie Feliciano

Philippine tourism envoys Hsiang Ma-chen, fourth from left, and Brian Chou, fourth from right, join airline executives and Manila./Courtesy of MECO

Actress and TV host Hsiang Ma-chen and Brian Chou, two of the Philippines' tourism endorsers in Taiwan, flew to the Philippines last week for a four-day tour of Subic and Manila.

Media representatives from two of Taiwan's major television networks - Formosa TV and TVBS, and major publications China Times, Apple Daily, and ETToday joined the tour.

In a meeting with reporters, Philippine Tourism Secretary Joseph Durano pledged to promote the country more aggressively in Taiwan to win more corporate and leisure travelers.

Taiwan has consistently been in the top five markets of the Philippines in terms of tourist arrivals. According to the latest statistics, Taiwanese arrivals in January were up 45 percent compared with year-ago figures.

Among the places Hsiang Ma-chen and the group visited in Subic were Ocean Adventure, Ritz Spa, Subic Golf Course, and Grande Island. In addition to the tour, the two envoys will also be shooting a soap opera that will be aired in Taiwan, Singapore, and Malaysia.

In Manila, the group visited the Ortigas Shrine, Jumbo Floating Restaurant, Intramuros, and Sanctuario Spa in Malate.

"Taiwan has been one of the fastest-growing outbound travel markets worldwide in the past decade with emphasis on leisure activities such as sightseeing, beach holidays, golf and casino," said Gerry Panga, tourism representative of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei.

"The 'Best of Subic and Manila Tour' is part of market-responsive and confidence-building promotions of the Department of Tourism and MECO."

Recently, regional carrier Mandarin Airlines promoted two of the Philippines' leading holiday spots to generate some excitement for its flagship destinations.

The air carrier flies twice a week to Cebu and Subic. Plans are underway to connect Subic with some of the Philippines' top island hideaways. A major regional linkage is also being worked out through a charter flight connection from Subic to Shanghai, MECO said

Monday, March 20, 2006

SBMA readies site for $1-B shipbuilding facility

By Bebot Sison Jr. - The Philippine Star

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — Some 196 families from Barangay Cawag in Subic town have received compensation from a South Korean company, which is building a $1-billion shipbuilding facility, touted to be the biggest in the country once completed, on their land.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) administrator and chief operating officer Armand Arreza led the distribution of checks to the residents of Sitio Agusuhin, where the shipbuilding facility of Hanjin Shipping and Industrial Co. Ltd. will be constructed.

Assisting Arreza were Zambales Gov. Vicente Magsaysay, Subic Mayor Jeffrey Khonghun, SBMA director JV Magsaysay, Zambales first district board member Jay Khonghun and other SBMA and local officials.

Aside from the payment for the improvements they had made on the land, Arreza said the residents will be given their own permanent lots near the site of the shipbuilding facility in the Redondo peninsula.

"We made it part of the agreement between SBMA and Hanjin that the company will pay the residents just compensation for their houses, lot and farm improvements, and give them a better and permanent site for their relocation," he added.

Under the project’s timetable, residential houses and other structures and vegetation inside the 50-hectare project site should be cleared and leveled before the construction materials arrive next month.

According to Magsaysay, the project’s economic impact will immediately be felt because of the huge number of jobs that it will generate.

"It will open not less than 20,000 jobs during the construction (phase), and will need more than 7,000 welders and painters during actual operation. One able member of each family will be given the chance to secure a job here," Magsaysay told The STAR.

He said the construction of another port in Subic town under a joint venture between the provincial government and SBMA is underway.

Meanwhile, the affected residents, who belong to the Agusuhin Neighborhood Association (ANA), assured Zambales and SBMA officials of their full support for the Hanjin project, saying that it will benefit not only them, but the entire country as well.

"The compensation I received is short of my expectation, but more importantly, we will reap benefits on the national level that should come first before our personal interests," said ANA president Lafacita Nebres.

Subic Mayor Jeffrey Khonghun, meanwhile, lauded Arreza, Magsaysay, SBMA Chairman Feliciano Salonga and President Arroyo for their efforts on the Hanjin project.

He said the shipbuilding project would attract more investors in heavy and medium industries and further develop the area.

Khonghun said such projects would boost their efforts to transform Subic town into a component city.

Justice office to deny plea of Subic rape suspect

MANILA -- The Department of Justice said Sunday it would come up with a resolution early this week rejecting the appeal of American serviceman Daniel Smith to reverse the finding of probable cause in the rape charges filed against him by a 22-year-old Filipino woman.

Smith, 22, and co-accused US Marines Chad Carpentier, Keith Silkwood, and Dominic Duplantis are set to face the woman who accused them of raping her on November 1, 2005 during an arraignment scheduled for March 24 before Olongapo City Judge Renato Dilag. Sun Star

Rape raps against Marine may be dropped

JUSTICE Secretary Raul M. Gonzalez on Sunday hinted that charges may be dropped against some of the four US Marines accused of raping a Filipina in November.

“I think not all of them should be charged, but Smith should be charged,” Gonzalez said, referring to the principal accused, Cpl. Daniel Smith.

He faces charges of raping a 22-year-old Filipina in the former US naval base of Subic following US-Philippine military exercises in October.

Accused of conspiring with Smith in the alleged crime are Marine Sgt. Chad Carpentier and Cpls. Keith Silkwood and Dominic Duplantis.

Gonzalez said the Department of Justice will early this week issue a resolution on Smith’s appeal to have the rape charge dropped.

The resolution is expected before Smith and his co-accused are arraigned on March 24 at a court near Subic, when they will be given a chance to face their accuser and enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.

The court does not have to heed the Department of Justice’s resolution, but it will have strong influence in deciding who will be charged.

The Marines have insisted only one of them had sex with the woman and that the act was consensual.

Lawyers for Smith and Carpentier have confirmed their appearance for the arraignment while a lawyer for Silkwood and Duplantis has said he is still studying whether to bring his clients to court.

The men are in the custody of the US Embassy. It has refused to hand them over to local authorities, citing a provision in a visiting forces agreement that allows them to keep soldiers in their custody during legal proceedings.

The alleged rape has triggered anti-American street protests in the former US colony.
--ABS-CBN Interactive

Govt may delay wind contracting round

By NIEL V. MUGAS, The Manila Times Reporter


The Department of Energy (DOE) may delay the opening of the second wind contracting round pending its validation of potential sites. Validation is an important component in identifying the sites with potential for development into wind farms.

Mario Marasigan, director of the DOE’s Energy Utilization Management Bureau (EUMB), confirmed that the department has yet to complete its site-validation process and could not determine when it will be completed.

He explained that companies interested in developing any of the Philippines’ wind sites must firm up their plans and ideally forge precommercial contracts (PCCs) with the DOE to avoid the inclusion of their proposed sites in the contracting round.

The PCCs give interested companies from two to five years to study the viability of the wind sites. Companies will also be asked to submit a work program and cost projection for the project’s development.

Marasigan has assured that the contracting round will be opened as soon as the validation process is completed.

He said earlier that the DOE will open the wind round by March this year with about 16 sites to be offered. These sites have a combined generating capacity of 400 megawatts.

In 2004 the government offered 12 sites with a generating capacity of 345 MW. However, the number of the sites has to be reduced this year since DOE has signed deals for the development of several wind sites.

Alternative Energy Logistics Inc., a unit of the Transnational Diversified Group, for example, signed a memorandum of understanding with the DOE for the development of at least four sites with a combined generating capacity of 100 MW.

The company has identified sites in Ilocos Norte, Cavite and Subic.

According to a 2003 study, the Philippines has the potential of generating 7,404 megawatts of electricity from 1,038 wind sites. In Luzon alone, the 686 potential sites in 28 provinces have a total capacity of 4,900 megawatts. Some 305 sites in the Visayas have a capacity of 2, 168 megawatts, while 47 sites in Mindanao have the potential 336 megawatts in generating capacity.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


SUBIC BAY FREEPORT - Some 196 families from Barangay Cawag, Subic recently received compensation checks given by Hanjin Shipping and Industrial Co. Ltd. of South Korea as clearing operation started in preparation for the construction of the biggest ship building facility in the Philippines. Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Administrator Armand C. Arreza assisted Zambales Governor Vicente Magsaysay and Subic Municipal Mayor Jeffrey Khonghun in the distribution of compensation checks to affected residents of Sitio Agusuhin, Barangay Cawag in Subic in a simple ceremony held at the SBMA Board Room.

According to Arreza, aside from the payment for the improvements made in SBMA land, the residents were also given their own permanent lots near the proposed site of the ship facility in the Redondo Peninsula. “We made it part of the agreement between SBMA and Hanjin that Hanjin will pay the residents a just compensation for their own houses, lot and farm improvements, and give them a better and permanent site for a relocation,?Arreza said. As part of the clearing operation, residential houses and other structures and vegetation inside the 50-hectare project site should be cleared and leveled before the arrival of the construction materials starts next month.

The site is in Sitio Agusuhin, Barangay Cawag in Subic town and within the boundaries of the Subic Freeport Magsaysay described the project as the biggest in the country and the development it will provide will be easily felt in the province. “It will open not less than 20,000 jobs during the construction, and will need more than 7,000 welders and painters during actual operation. One able member from each family will be given the chance to secure a job here,?said Magsaysay.

Magsaysay also revealed that the proposal for the construction of another port in the Subic town area under the joint venture between Zambales government and SBMA is already underway Meanwhile, the residents who are members of the Agusuhin Neighborhood Association (ANA) assured the SBMA official of their full support for the construction of Hanjin in their area as the project will not only benefit them, but the entire country as well. “The compensation I received is short of my expectation, but more importantly it is the benefits we will reap in the national level that should come first before our personal interests," said ANA president Lafacita Nebres, who lived in the area for 15 years. Nebres added that they have visited the proposed relocation site and agreed with the construction after the provincial government assured them that the new community will have amenities such as schools, community clinic and multi-purpose hall and roads connected to the barangay road.

Khonghun lauded Arreza, Magsaysay, SBMA Chairman Feliciano G. Salonga and President Arroyo for pooling their efforts to have Hanjin push through with their plan to construct a shipbuilding facility in his local. He noted that the coming of Hanjin in the Peninsula will attract more investors in heavy and medium industries that will boost the development of the area, thus improving the social and economic status of the residents. “The municipality of Subic will directly benefit from the project as it will open jobs to our constituents, not to mention the numerous structural developments that will be constructed here in the future, such as roads, schools and piers," Khonghun said

He also mentioned that the port projects will help in their campaign to transform the municipality of Subic into a component city which, if realized, will fast track all its social and economic development programs. The city hood campaign has already obtained unanimous endorsement from Subic Sanguniang Bayan and Zambales Sangguniang Panlalawigan. The event was also attended in by SBMA Director JV Magsaysay, Provincial Board Member Jay Khonghun and other SBMA and local officials.

Invitation to Support the Election Modernization

Fed-up with Garci, Cha-Cha, Coups but want Fast, Clean, Honest, Fair and Free Elections?

Support Gordon's Election Modernization Bill.

He will defend it in Senate Plenary on Monday 3pm (19 March 2006)

This is free and open to the public, everyone is invited.

Readers may send questions or letter of support to rjgordon@senate.gov.ph

by: Senate Public Relations Office

Senate okays computerized 2007 elections

THE Senate Committee on Constitutional Amendments, Revision of Codes and Laws has endorsed a consolidated bill that would authorize the Commission on Elections to use an automated election system in the May 11, 2007, national or local elections and subsequent electoral exercises.

The committee, chaired by Sen. Richard J. Gordon, submitted Senate Bill 2231, amending Republic Act 8436, as a consolidated version of bills of similar nature authored by Senators Edgardo Angara, Ralph Recto and Gordon.

The bill declared as “the policy of the State to ensure free, orderly, honest, peaceful and credible electoral exercises, using an automated election system that will assure the secrecy and sanctity of the ballot in order that the results of elections, plebiscites, referenda and other electoral exercises shall be fast, accurate and reflective of the genuine will of the people.”

The bill defined the automated election system as a “system using appropriate technology for voting, counting, consolidating, canvassing, transmission of election results and other processes in the conduct of electoral exercises.”

It provides that among the three regular members of the board of election inspectors in every precinct, at least one shall be an “information technology-capable person, who is trained and certified to use the system.”

Each board of canvassers shall also have as consultant an information technology expert trained and authorized to use the automated system. For this purpose, the Comelec shall deputize information technology experts from government offices and agencies.

An advisory council would be created to review and recommend the most appropriate, applicable and cost-effective technology to be applied in the new system, and participate as nonvoting members of the Committee on Bidding and Awards in the conduct of the bidding for the AES.

The election returns and certificates of canvass transmitted electronically and digitally signed shall be considered as official election results and shall be used as basis for the proclamation of a candidate.

The Committee Report 58 was signed by Senator Gordon, chairman; Sen. Manny Villar, vice-chairman; Senators Pia S. Cayetano, Ralph Recto, Miriam Defensor Santiago, Joker P. Arroyo, Juan Ponce Enrile, Edgardo J. Angara, Sergio Osmeña 3rd, Alfredo S. Lim, members; Senate President Pro-Tempore Juan M. Flavier, Majority Leader Francis N. Pangilinan and Minority Leader Aquilino G. Pimentel Jr., ex-officio members.

Manila Times

US$3.8-M negosyo sisimulan sa Subic Base Freeport

Ang Pilipino STAR Ngayon

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – Labing-apat na bagong negosyo na nagkakahalaga ng US$3.8 milyon ang nakatakdang magsimula ng operasyon sa Subic Freeport makaraang aprubahan ng Board of Directors ng Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).

Sinabi ni SBMA Chairman Feliciano Salonga na ang mga proyekto ay kinabibilangan ng mga negosyo sa turismo, shipping services, manufacturing, information technology at iba pa.

"Simula ng isagawa ang port modernization project at ang Subic-Clark-Tarlac Road ay lalong dumami ang mga foreign investors ang nagpahayag ng interes na magbukas ng negosyo sa Subic," ani Salonga.

Kabilang sa mga bagong business project ay ang US$870,000 manufacturing plant ng Coin Chemical Subic, Inc. para sa mga produktong trade paints, lithium-ion batteries at bio-cosmetics.

Sumunod ang plastic products manufacturer Subic Amino High-tech Corp. na nagkakahalaga ng ($625,000).

Aprubado rin ang HL Speedy Trans Inc. na magpapasok sa Subic Bay Freeport ng $134,400 puhunan para sa operasyon ng trucking at hauling services sa loob ng secured area.

Ang kompanya ay magsisilbing forwarder ng isa pang bagong kompanya, ang Wan Hai Lines (Phils.) na may capital investment na $8,525.

Kabilang din ang International Family Food Services, Inc., $115,300; Subic Hwa Dong Inc., $60,000; Shakey’s at Phil. Green Field Int’l., Inc., $47,000; Gangmac Seafood Restaurant, $7,000; electronics communications/computer producer Gigatek Subic Bay Inc., $1.7 milyon; web designer KWT Computer Systems, Inc., $115,300; water treatment equipment manufacturer Vann Tech Subic Bay Corp., $36,000.

Itatayo naman ng Wartsila Land and Sea Academy, Inc. ang Maritime and Powerplant Training Center sa halagang $120,500; samantalang ang Marquita Nagal Hunt Collection ay para sa pag-aaral at pananaliksik ng stamps at mga lumang salapi. (Jeff Tombado)

Boom in grain imports spurs building of new bulk handling ports in Subic

By DOLLY AGLAY, Manila Bulletin

Eduardo Alino only opened his grain bulk handling facility at Subic freeport, a former US base northwest of Manila, in January but he’s already planning to double its capacity to meet the country’s growing appetite.

The Philippines is one of Asia’s biggest importers of rice, its main food staple, and other grains and feedstuffs due to its rapidly rising population and poor local farming infrastructure.

The expansion of Alino’s Subic grain terminal follows rival Nation Granary Inc.’s plans to open a similar facility costing 3.2-billion peso ($ 62.7 million) in Sariaya, in the northern Philippines, in May or June.

"There is business locally," Alino, who has been in the cargo handling business for 20 years, told Reuters. "There is enough volume. You don’t need to go into transshipment to other countries."

The Philippines bought 1.8 million tonnes of rice last year, and imports annually nearly 3 million tons of both milling and feed wheat, 1.5 million tons of soymeal, 400,000 tons of soybeans and sometimes corn.

Officials said they expected imports of wheat, soybeans and soymeal, which are not grown locally, to rise in the next few years as the population’s average annual growth rate of 2.0-2.3 percent, one of the fastest in Asia, shows no sign of slowing.

"Consumption of grains will continue as the population grows and the economy improves," Ric Pinca, vice president at the Philippine Association of Feedmillers Inc., said.

Alino said his company plans to spend another R400 million to double the capacity of the grain terminal inside the Subic freeport to 200,000 tons for wheat, soybeans and soymeal next year.

The additional investment would bring to 1 billion pesos the total amount invested in the Subic grain terminal, which was previously used as a docking port for US Navy aircraft.

Alino said the expansion would also include additional equipment to service Panamax vessels — with a capacity of 50,000 to 60,000 tons — without cranes

Subic Grain Terminal can handle Panamax vessels with cranes and handymax vessels, or those with a capacity of 40,000-45,000 tons capacity.

Philippine grain importers mostly use handymax in their imports of milling wheat from the United States and Canada. The country also buys wheat for feeds from China, Argentina, Brazil and sometimes from Ukraine.

Local firms also buy soymeal, mostly from Argentina, using handymax vessels.

Earlier this week, Nation Granary said it aims to support the government’s food security programme and ultimately become the transhipment hub of grains in Asia.

Random act of kindness saved an Olongapeno in Nigeria

By Volt Contreras - Inquirer

IT was what any prudent person in a strange and restive land would have done.

And Anthony Santos, a 36-year-old Filipino worker then stationed in Nigeria's oil-rich Delta State, did accordingly when a group of weary fishermen stopped by his company barge one day.

The group asked Anthony if he could spare some food-and soon enough he was handing over slices of bread from the vessel's stock.

It was a random act of kindness in just another encounter with the impoverished locals in Anthony's two years of working in the Niger Delta. He had actually forgotten all about it.

Until a black-masked man wielding a machine gun reminded him last month.

On Feb. 18, a militant group opposing oil activities in the Niger Delta abducted Anthony and eight other foreigners employed by the US oil service firm Willbros, holding them hostage in a jungle hideaway for almost two weeks.

The other captives were three Americans, two Britons, two Thais and an Egyptian.

A subplot unfolded beneath the international crisis, showing how the Filipino knack for making friends and generating goodwill served Anthony well during this chilling episode in his life as an overseas worker.

One of the kidnappers, it turned out, was also one of the famished fishermen whom Anthony had helped.

The man recognized Anthony among the captives, and assured the Filipino that "nobody among the other kidnappers could touch him," according to accounts gathered by the Inquirer from the Department of Foreign Affairs and from Anthony's wife Helen.

He regarded Anthony as someone he should "protect" in case his comrades decided to make good their threat to torture or kill any of the hostages.

The Philippine Embassy in Abuja spoke with Anthony shortly after he was released by his abductors on March 1.

The embassy reported: "Anthony revealed that a small gesture of his in the past helped sustain him in the difficult and tense moments [of his] captivity.

"It was discovered that he had given food to some fisher folk who passed by their barge months before, and it just so happened that one of the beneficiaries of his act of charity [was] one of the kidnappers."

The embassy said one kidnapper "safeguarded Anthony the whole time and spared him from any injury."

It said the young man told Anthony that the other kidnappers might have to kill him first before they got to the Filipino.

Anthony thus felt "restless on the days when his friend was not around," the embassy said.

How it happened

The kidnappers were mainly youths in their 20s belonging to the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).

Per the embassy report, Anthony and his coworkers were kidnapped "in retaliation" for the Nigerian military's bombardment of tribal communities suspected of illegal bunkering operations.

At the time of the kidnapping, the Willbros crew was conducting pipe-laying operations around a Shell oil terminal in Warri City.

The heavily armed MEND militants forced their way into the Willbros barge at about 8 a.m. of Feb. 18. Anthony, who had worked the night shift, was awakened by gunshots.

He and his coworkers were ordered to board a speedboat. About an hour later they found themselves in a forested area near a swamp, where they were held in a "camp" that was powered by an electric generator and had a television set.


Anthony, a father of two, returned to Manila on March 4, or three days after he and five of the other hostages were freed.

The Inquirer reached the family home in Olongapo City but Helen Santos took the call, saying her husband was still too "traumatized" to talk about his ordeal.

She said he had been seeing a psychiatrist since his homecoming.

Nevertheless, Helen agreed to share what Anthony had so far told her.

Contrary to earlier reports that the hostages were not physically harmed, Anthony was actually "hit hard on the right ear" during the abduction.

He is also being treated for that injury, which left him hard of hearing during his days in captivity.

Anthony had forgotten about giving food to a group of fishermen until one of the kidnappers barked at him: "I recognize you!"

Helen confirmed the embassy report about the "friendly" militant offering to be killed first before the others could lay a hand on her husband.

The kidnapper-who appeared to be the group leader-made sure that his brothers in arms knew the little history he shared with the Filipino hostage.


This somehow helped Anthony cope with the psychological torment that he and the others were forced to endure.

For example, the kidnappers often cleaned their guns or fired a few test rounds in front of the hostages, playfully pointing the firearms in the latter's direction.

The kidnappers also spoke loudly in broken English about the plan to blindfold the hostages, hang them from a tree, and shoot them.

"But after a few minutes, they would say they would not really do it," Helen said.

The hostages were fed-usually eggs or noodles-twice a day. They were given new clothes on their third day in the camp.

On the day Anthony was released, his "friend" was not in the camp. Thus, no goodbyes were said.

Anthony got his name but would not disclose it for security reasons, Helen said.


"Filipinos, I heard, are actually well-liked by the local people in those parts," Helen said. "Perhaps my husband, who can pass for a Mexican, was only dragged into this because he was mistaken for a member of another foreign nationality."

She said her own father, younger brother and a brother-in-law were still working with Anthony's firm in Nigeria.

Anthony himself told airport reporters that he was willing to go back to work in the West African nation despite what had happened, to be able to continue supporting his family.

Before working overseas for the last 12 years, Anthony was a crew member of a doughnut shop in Dau, Pampanga. The shop closed in the wake of the Mt. Pinatubo eruptions.

He also previously worked for construction firms in Dubai in the Middle East, and in Louisiana in the United States.

Wherever his next stint will be, Anthony has more than a survivor's tale to tell and a battered ear to show from his days in Nigeria.

"He said so himself: It seems like any thing good you have done, no matter how small, finds a way to give you something in return," Helen said.


This is a joint private blog of volunteers from Subic Bay. It is being maintained primarily to collate articles that may be of importance to decision making related to the future of Subic Bay and as a source of reference material to construct the history of Subic Bay.

The articles herein posted remains the sole property of original authors and publications which has full credits to the articles.

Disclaimer: Readers should conduct their own research and due diligence before using any article herein posted for whatever intended purpose it may be. This private web log will not be liable for any loss or damage caused by a reader's reliance on information obtained from volunteers of this private blog.

www.subicbay.ph, http://olongapo-subic.com, http://sangunian.com, http://olongapo-ph.com, http://oictv.com, http://brgy-ph.com, http://subicbay-news.com, http://batanggapo.com 16 January 2012