Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Global crisis creates new opportunity for Subic

Philstar.com - Monday, December 8The economic meltdown sweeping across the globe has triggered an exodus of multinational companies that have decided to relocate their regional headquarters at the Subic Bay Freeport, which is fast becoming the logistics hub and a major international tourist destination in the ASEAN, a top free port official said.

Armand Arreza, administrator and chief operating officer of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), told reporters during the weekly Kapihan sa Sulo news forum in Quezon City that the global economic crisis is drawing the attention of multinational firms and rich Chinese tourists to Subic.

"Despite the economic crisis nations will continue to trade, and tourists from less affected countries like China are coming to Subic and Clark", he said.

Arreza said they are expecting at least 100 million Chinese tourists over the next five years. In line with this, Arreza said SBMA is focusing its attention on the setting up of infrastructure facilities like logistic centers to service the needs of multi-national firms and hotels. They also plan to put up recreational facilities to accommodate the hordes of tourists seeking to enjoy the unique pleasures at Subic.

He said the SBMA ecology center is now working closely with the developers of the Ocean 9 Casino and hotel Resort (Grand Utopia), which will rise along the waterfront road at the freeport.

Arreza said the hotel project, which is estimated to cost $120 million, will generate 5,000 new jobs for people living in surrounding localities.

The six-star hotel will include a casino, restaurants, convention center, and yacht/boat berthing facilities money exchange of financial districts.

"This promises to be a significant landmark that will transform the face of Subic, making it the pride of Olongapo and Zambales" he said.

Aside from the construction of the hotel and casino complex, multinational companies are now relocating their headquarters from countries directly hit by the global crisis.

He said Philip Morris would be relocating its regional distribution center in a five-hectare logistics facility in the free port.

"More multinational firms are coming so we are strengthening our logistics infrastructure facilities", Arreza said.

He said part of the plan is to make Subic as a container terminal center to decongest Manila ports. - Perseus Echeminada (Philstar News Service, www.philstar.com)

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