Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Monday, November 28, 2011


Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Roberto V. Garcia asked the Subic volunteers to continue supporting SBMA, citing their vital role in the successful transformation of the former US naval base in Subic into a Freeport.

“Kung wala kayo, hindi magiging successful ang SBMA,” Garcia said as he joined Olongapo City Mayor James “Bong” Gordon and First Lady Anne Marie Gordon in paying tribute to the thousands of volunteers who sacrificed and worked without pay to maintain the facilities and environs of the former base and make it attractive to investors.

Mayor Gordon and other city officials, Chairman Garcia and the Bagumbayan Volunteers led the celebration of Volunteers Day and the 19th anniversary of the Subic turnover from the US to the Philippine government at the Volunteers Shrine in Subic Bay Freeport.

In his message, Garcia also reported that the Freeport work force now consists of 92,000 – triple the peak number of Filipino workers employed by the former US naval base.

Mayor Gordon, for his part, urged the youth to keep the spirit of volunteerism alive, as he noted the presence of students and young professionals in the celebration.

“Ang sakripisyo at pagsisikap ng mga kapwa natin volunteer ay siyang pundasyon ng pag-unlad hindi lamang ng Freeport kundi ng mismong lungsod ng Olongapo,” the city’s chief executive said.

“Ang pagdating ng Ayala at SM ang mga gantimpala natin sa ating mga sakripisyo,” Mrs. Gordon said, stressing that Olongapo should “keep fighting for excellence.”

The traditional floral offering and reaffirmation of commitment to volunteerism highlighted the afternoon program at the Shrine where the names of over 8,000 volunteers are engraved on granite panels, a memorial built in their honor by the first SBMA Chairman/Administrator Richard J. Gordon.

Gordon, who is in Geneva, Switzerland, was absent for the first time from the Volunteers Day celebration.

Former volunteers – many of them already senior citizens – relived the times that they spent the night watching the different facilities of the former base and dancing their worries and weariness away as Mayor Gordon and his Bonggo band played their favorite chants and songs.



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