Investments going to adjacent Subic areas
Communities adjacent to the Subic Bay Freeport Zone may now look forward to hosting free port-registered investments, as the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) pushes through this year with its expansion program.
“We expect a jump in investments this year, but most of these will no longer be inside the fenced-in area of the Subic Freeport,” said SBMA administrator Armand C. Arreza.
“We will be moving most of the investments we can generate this year to the new frontiers,” Arreza said.
These neighboring areas are in Olongapo City, Subic town in Zambales, and Morong and Hermosa towns in Bataan,” Arreza said.
“Finally, we shall be realizing this year the SBMA vision to spread development, and directly benefit our partners in the neighboring communities,” said Arreza.
To carry out the expansion program, Arreza said the SBMA is just awaiting the release of implementing rules and regulations (IRR) so that it could start processing investment proposals meant for neighboring areas.
The IRR, which has reportedly passed the scrutiny of agencies like the Bureau of Customs, governs the flow of goods and services in the areas qualified for tax- and duty-free privileges as provided for under Executive Order No. 675, signed by President Arroyo on November 5, 2007.
Arreza also said that under the expansion program, the SBMA is eyeing three billion-dollar investments that are expected to start their initial development this year. These include the resort projects of Korean firms Neocove and M Castle, as well as the re-development project of Ayala Land Inc. in the Subic Freeport and Olongapo City.
Aside from attracting big-ticket projects by both foreign and Filipino companies, Arreza stressed that the SBMA expansion program would level the playing field for local entrepreneurs.
“We have been receiving concerns from Olongapo businessmen that they don’t enjoy the same privileges given to foreign investors,” Arreza noted.