SBMA eyes 17-ha. ICT hub in Subic free port
SUBIC BAY FREE PORT—The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is eyeing the establishment of a 17-hectare information and communications technology (ICT) park here to bring this free port at the front-line of the country’s knowledge-based sector.
SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza announced in a statement on Tuesday that the Subic agency has partnered with Philippine Long Distance Telephone Corp. (PLDT) to put up the 17-hectare park to showcase Subic’s ICT capability.
The project would highlight PLDT’s “ready-to-use” telecoms solutions and ICT infrastructure, including the firm’s Next Generation Network (NGN) fiber-optics cable network that now connects Subic to Manila and the entire Luzon grid.
“Capacity comes first before opportunity,” Arreza said, also pointing out that international players in the business-process outsourcing (BPO) industry have been prospecting for opportunities in Subic.
He added that PLDT also recognized SBMA’s vision for an expanded Subic-Clark economic corridor, “and they acted in accordance with that vision.”
Arreza said that with PLDT’s help, it is expected that the Subic Bay Free Port would become synonymous with BPO and IT-related services, like back-office outsourcing, software and games development, engineering design and digital animation.
Prior to this announcement, Arreza signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with officials of PLDT and its subsidiary, PLDT Subic Telecom (Subictel). The agreement, which would pave the way for tripartite collaborative projects, was signed by PLDT Subictel chairman and PLDT senior vice president Ernesto Alberto, PLDT first vice president Nerissa Ramos and PLDT Subictel president Dennis Magbatoc.
The MOU, Arreza said, basically calls for the promotion of Subic Bay Free Port’s IT capabilities through the SBMA-PLDT-Subictel caravan project, which will boast of some P40-million ICT investments that the PLDT has put up here recently.
He added that under the project, the P20-million Innovation Laboratory (Innolab) unveiled by Subictel in October 2009 will become an essential part of Subic’s investor tour program, serving as a one-stop showcase of Subic Bay’s ICT infrastructure and PLDT’s available and “futuristic” IT solutions for various industries.
During the recent MOU-signing ceremony, PLDT’s Alberto reaffirmed his company’s belief in the potentials of Subic Bay as an ICT hub, and pointed out PLDT’s “tremendous” investments in that sector at the Subic-Clark corridor in the past few years.
In particular, PLDT would like to partner with the SBMA “for globally competitive industries in the areas of cutting-edge health care, retail and trade, tourism, logistics and in the maritime industry,” he added.
“I put my money where my mouth is,” said Alberto, who revealed that he has established a second home in Subic because “in my view, [it] is the place to be in the Philippines.”
Alberto said his firm’s NGN technology, which has “fibered” both the Subic and Clark free ports, has helped increase network coverage and enabled new and innovative services to emerge in the market.
Likewise, Subictel’s Innolab would also allow the public to access “revolutionary business solutions and the latest ICT trends,” Alberto added.
With growing investments in the ICT sector and the entry of IT firms like Texas Instruments and Samsung, the Subic-Clark corridor “will be the more prominent, if not the most prominent, economic corridor this country will ever see in the next five to 10 years,” Alberto also said.
This was the reason PLDT has put up an “aggressive” bid for the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway after investing in the North Luzon Expressway, Alberto added.
Armand Arreza (second from right), administrator of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, seals an information-and-communications technology project agreement with Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) senior vice president and Subic Telephone (Subictel) chairman Ernesto Alberto, as PLDT first vice president Nerissa Ramos and PLDT Subictel president Dennis Magbatoc look on. Written by Henry Empeño / Correspondent businessmirror.com.ph