Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Business as usual at Subic golf course

Authorities at the Subic Bay Golf and Country Club Inc. (SBGCCI) has allayed fears of some Taiwanese investors and assured them of continued stability and security inside the country's premier Freeport zone.

"It is business as usual here at the golf course," officials said.

This assurance came shortly after the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), through a Board Resolution, decided to terminate the lease and development agreement with Taiwanese firm, Universal International Group Development Co. (UIGDC) and its holding company Subic Bay Golf and Country Club, Inc. (SBGCCI) to operate the 105-hectare golf course in the Subic Bay Freeport.

SBMA Chairman Feliciano G. Salonga and Administrator Armand C. Arreza gave President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo the assurance that the takeover of the golf course is "merely a contractual dispute between the SBMA and its Taiwanese operators."

"The bottomline in the SBMA's actions against the Taiwanese entities is the protection of the government's fair share of revenues and development commitments; and the SBMA was only protecting the interest of the government in view of the continued failure of the SBGCCI to settle its unpaid and uncontested obligations which, as of March this year, had accumulated to P37 million," the officials said.

SBMA officials added that allowing the Taiwanese firm to continue operating the facility would simply be less than ideal governance to the great disadvantage of the government due to violations of the Taiwanese company's Lease and Development Agreement (LDA) such as the unfulfilled development commitments since 1996, as well as various violations in labor, health, sanitation and environmental laws.

Prior to the takeover, the SBMA received a Writ of Preliminary Injunction from the Regional Trial Court of Olongapo City, enjoining the SBMA from implementing its alleged "threat" of issuing a "cease and desist order."

The SBMA officials clarified that the SBMA did not violate any court order in taking over the golf course, as its action consisted of exercising its rights as lessor in terminating the lease agreement and recovering the properties without imposing its regulatory power to cancel the Permit to Operate.

The SBMA has effected the takeover with due courtesy and respect in dealing with SBGCCI employees and other concerned individuals.

"Contrary to exaggerated reports in media, at no instance was there any form of harassment, physical or otherwise, and no one was bodily removed from the premises of the golf course but merely escorted out," the SBMA officials said.

Last Wednesday, about 40 irate members and shareholders of the SBGCCI signed a manifesto expressing unconditional support and elation to the SBMA's takeover of the operations and management of the Subic Bay Golf Course.

"For years, we have been witness to the gradual deterioration of the Subic Bay Golf Course and Country Club, the non-fulfillment by the previous operator to its development commitments and the tyrannical management style, which all led to the continued devaluation of our membership shares," the manifesto stated.(PNA)

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