Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Group sets P4.2B to redevelop Subic golf course

A South Korean and Filipino joint venture announced Friday it was allotting $48 million, or about P4.2 billion, for redevelopment of the golf course in the Subic Bay Freeport, northwest of Manila, with “full country club amenities” planned.

Benjamin John Defensor, president and chief executive of Hanafil Golf & Tour Inc., said in a statement the firm wanted to turn the 18-hole golf course into an all-weather championship course.

Hanafil won a public bidding for the project held earlier this year, after the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) took over the operation of the Subic Bay Golf and Country Club last year.

SBMA had terminated the lease agreement of the previous operator due to the latter’s ballooning debts that ran to some $150 million.

Defensor said Hanafil’s commitments included putting up additional nine holes, building a hotel and some villas, and improving the driving range at the Subic Bay Golf and Country Club.

He explained that the project, scheduled for completion within six years, would be phased after club members requested that the existing 18 holes be kept open.

“The fairways would have to be reconstructed from scratch and some of the holes would have to be relocated,” he said.

Defensor said Hanafil has retained the services of some 70 workers and plans to hire more local workers for construction and re-development activities.

SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza said there were two other leisure complexes that would be built in the Subic Bay Freeport area within the next few years.

These are Korean firm Neocove’s golf course and resort project on a 400-hectare site in Subic’s Redondo Peninsula and another in Morong town in Bataan province, which is being considered as a resort and convention complex.

Arreza said the three golf courses would be located in such a way that they would not compete with each other, but instead ensure adequate facilities for the growing number of golf enthusiasts and visiting professional players.

According to SBMA’s legal department, the Subic golf course redevelopment was pushing through considering that the Regional Trial Court in Olongapo City has affirmed the validity of the SBMA takeover last year.

This was a repeat of a takeover of the golf facility in 1997 due to the failure of the previous operator to honor its development commitments, which the Supreme Court upheld in a 2000 ruling, SBMA said. By Ronnel Domingo - Philippine Daily Inquirer

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