Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Saturday, June 06, 2009

SBMA says over 85,000 workers now in Freeport

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, Philippines — Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) officials said yesterday that more than 85,200 workers are now employed in different companies in this Freeport.

SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza said the continued confidence by foreign investors, particularly Korean companies, in the business competitiveness in the Freeport led to the doubling in the number of workers here in just two years.

Arreza said the number of workers could easily jump to double the current figure once projects proposed by several Korean firms are realized in the next two years.

He cited in particular the planned construction of a $1-billion resort complex here by M Castle Inc., a Korean developer of environment-friendly luxury resorts, and the scheduled $86-million project by Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Corp. to locally produce ship components.

“These will be major employment-boosters,” Arreza said.

He said aside from the jobs that would be directly created by these projects, there will be thousands of employment opportunities to be generated downstream.

Reports indicated earlier that M Castle Inc. will invest in a 615-hectare property in Subic, aside from another property development project in Palawan to be undertaken with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).

Around 7,000 direct and 16,000 indirect jobs are said to be made available when the construction of the billion-dollar luxury resort starts, according to M Castle chairman Sang Soo Shin.

Arreza said the planned investment “would not only boost the tourism market in the country, but would also up the ante for Subic in terms of income.”

The M Castle proposal reportedly includes the development of beach and forest condominiums, a beach hotel, a casino-hotel and villas with 2,400 rooms, a 36-hole golf course, a marina club for 50 yachts, a medical center for oriental and western medicine, a water park, a shopping mall, and an English-language learning house.

The SBMA administrator said that from the planned resort complex in Subic, the local production by Hanjin of ship components will increase Subic’s active workforce by 4,000 positions.

He said the projected increase in Hanjin labor requirements was announced by company officials when they met with President Arroyo in Korea recently. By Ric Sapnu - PhilStar

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