Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

SBMA mulls personal incentives

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is planning to grant personal incentives like tax-free dividends, a scheme that is popular in the United States.

SBMA administrator Armand C. Arreza said this is on top of the corporate incentives like those given to any Subic Freeport-registered businesses.

The Subic Bat Freeport has been expanded to include adjacent communities where most of the future investments are expected to flow.

"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," Arreza said.

"We will be moving most of the investments we can generate this year to the new frontiers, which are composed of neighboring areas in Olongapo City, Subic town in Zambales, and Morong and Hermosa towns in Bataan," he added.

"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.

He added that the Olongapo City government may endorse its City Mall project near the Subic Freeport main gate to qualify for the program.

At the same time, Arreza urged local government units in the area to extend their support to the SBMA in crafting a new master plan that would synchronize development in the Freeport and the neighboring areas.

The SBMA proposed the expansion program last year due to the limited area for industrial use in Subic. Arreza said the problem could be resolved by developing additional industrial estates along the corridor between the Subic and Clark free ports.

He added that by developing new industrial estates, the SBMA can hope to increase the Freeport’s workforce to 150,000.

The SBMA expansion also calls for the development of parks and leisure resorts in the coastal barangay of Minanga in Morong, the Cawag area in Subic town, and barangay Barretto in Olongapo City, as major tourist resort destinations.

Arreza said that new investors, who locate beyond the fenced-in area of Subic, but still within the Subic Special Economic and Free Port Zone (SSEFPZ), will still enjoy tax- and duty-free privileges as provided for under Executive Order No. 675. malaya.com.ph Business Insights


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