SBMA waives P30-M rent from Subic schools
SUBIC BAY FREE PORT—To help upgrade the quality of the work force in the Subic Bay area, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has waived lease rentals that the agency collects from schools operating in this free port.
SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza said that as a result, the SBMA will now be giving up some P30 million in annual rentals through a “no-lease” scheme offered to schools here as a form of incentive to help improve the skills of Subic workers and enable them to meet industry requirements.
Arreza said the waived income would constitute almost a 100-percent increase over the P16.3-million annual subsidy previously given by the agency through discounts on property leases.
Likening the program to “hitting multiple birds with one stone,” Arreza said the beneficiary schools could plow back their savings into scholarship grants and projects to improve their staff and facilities.
With this scheme, Arreza said academe would get much-needed financial support, Subic Free Port industries would be assured of a globally competitive work force, and the community would reap the resulting benefits.
“In the long run, we hope to see a constant increase in enrollment at all levels, [as well as] the enhancement and inclusion of courses and fields of studies that are required in this free port,” Arreza added.
Initially, six of the 11 schools operating in this free port will be included in the program. These are Casa Kalayaan International School, FIRST School of Subic Bay Free Port Zone, Subic Montessori School, Lyceum of Subic Bay, Comteq Computer and Business College, and Mondriaan Aura College. The schools are now being audited in preparation for their inclusion in the program.
A memorandum of agreement is also being prepared to specify the commitments to be made under the program by both the SBMA and its partner-schools, Arreza said.
The program is also expected to build on the gains made by the Subic Bay Workforce Development Foundation Inc., a multisectoral body established by the SBMA to promote work-force development among public and private entities here, and the SBMA Scholarship Foundation, which has been tasked to formulate the program’s guidelines and policies.
The SBMA decided to grant the lease-free privileges to Subic schools after the agency’s board of directors approved in January a program calling for a more globally competitive work force in the Subic Bay free port.
Beatrix Anagaran, head of the SBMA General Business and Investment Department, said the program to produce a globally competitive work force sprung from a strategic planning session held by the SBMA in October, when Arreza took note of the “very sad statistics of Philippine education.”
Anagaran said Arreza then directed her department to come up with a study on Subic’s educational institutions, while emphasizing the role SBMA has to play in the advancement of education within the Subic Bay area and the neighboring communities of Olongapo, Zambales and Bataan.