SBMA expands investment locations
THE Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority is looking at $3 billion worth of investments this year as it expands to neighboring Olongapo City, Subic and Bataan towns.
SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza said in a statement that future investments would be moved to Olongapo, Subic in Zambales and Morong and Hermosa towns in Bataan and no longer confined within the fenced area of the Subic Freeport.
The new investments include the resort projects of Neocove and M Castle of Korea as well as the re-development project of Ayala Land Inc. in the Subic Freeport and Olongapo City.
Arreza said the SBMA was awaiting the release of the implementing rules and regulations before it could start processing investment proposals in the neighboring areas.
The rules will spell out the tax- and duty-free privileges under Executive Order 675 signed by President Gloria Arroyo on Nov. 5, 2007.
Arreza said 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 said. “Now, this program will give them the same opportunity as long as they invest.”
He said the SBMA might also grant personal incentives like tax-free dividends, a scheme popular in the United States.
He added that the Olongapo City government might endorse its City Mall project near the Subic Freeport main gate to qualify for the program. by Julito G. Rada - manilastandardtoday.com