Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Friday, July 31, 2009

Subic, Clark to use unified business-permit system

SUBIC BAY FREE PORT—To facilitate the entry of more investments in the Subic and Clark free ports, a unified business-permit system will be utilized in the two neighboring economic zones starting in September.

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Administrator Armand Arreza said the two free ports will implement the Subic-Clark business-permit system as part of a strategic program to propel the local economy toward heightened global participation.

The unified system, Arreza said, will cover the issuance of certificate of registration and tax exemption, permit to operate, and other business permits, in compliance with Republic Act 9485, or the Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007.

The SBMA and the Subic-Clark Alliance for Development Council (SCADC), Clark Development Corp. (CDC) and Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) concurred to implement the harmonized business system by signing a memorandum of agreement on July 22.

Arreza said Subic and Clark, which are now connected by the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway since last year, have recently started harmonizing their business operations under the vision of the Arroyo administration of a globally competitive service and logistics hub.

“It’s the most logical recourse — to complement each other and play on each other’s strengths, rather than remain islands of autonomy and inefficiency,” Arreza said.

“By complementing each other, Subic and Clark will have the best chances of becoming the two most progressive investment sites in the Philippines, as well as globally competitive logistics and service hubs that President Arroyo has envisioned,” Arreza added.

He also said that harmonized business operations would enable the two free ports to capitalize on both their US military-built ports and newly constructed facilities to bolster their bid for economic significance in the Asia-Pacific region.

Arreza noted that the SCADC, which is headed by Secretary Edgardo Pamintuan, has so far been successful in its efforts to turn the two former US military bases into interdependent nodes of development in Central Luzon.

In August 2008, the SCADC began the Subic-Clark harmonization program by facilitating the signing of an agreement and joint memorandum order between the SBMA, CDC and the Bureau of Customs for unified procedures on immigration, customs and quarantine in the two free ports.

The agreement signed by the agencies also institutionalized the national single windows program, and established use of the electronic transit admission permit system, an automated cargo clearance and releasing facility, in Subic and Clark.

In June, the SCADC also embarked on a 15-day economic mission to the United States to promote Subic and Clark as twin logistics hubs. This resulted in a memorandum of understanding between the SCADC, SBMA, CIAC and the Southern California Logistics Airport Authority.

Following the mission, US-based door-to-door cargo forwarder Atlas Shippers International also launched its hub for North Luzon operations in Subic.

SCADC officials also conducted a forum on the Subic-Clark international logistics hub during the US mission to drumbeat developments in the two free ports and promote their potentials in catering to the needs of the Asia-Pacific region.

Arreza noted that Subic and Clark, which previously operated as competing economic zones, “have realized that their diversity could provide a common strength that will define, focus and magnify their individual capacities.”

With these complementation efforts, the two free ports “are steadily moving towards combining their assets to become catalysts of development for Central Luzon and other parts of the country,” Arreza added. Written by Henry Empeño - Business Mirror Correspondent

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