Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Monday, September 06, 2004

What's in a SBMA board seat?

There must be something unusually attractive or beneficial to sit on the board of directors of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. Otherwise, the 700 applicants for seats in the 9-man board would not be fighting tooth and nail.
It is difficult and expensive to move a family to Subic although I would suspect that housing is free. But is that all?Clearly not. Subic has become the largest smuggling point of many products such as new and used vehicles, cigarettes, hard drinks, rice, you name it.The residents of the special economic zone are entitled to tax- free importation.
That privilege should extend to members of the board.Now you know why there are 700 applicants for board seats.But the smugglers are mostly Chinese-Filipinos from Manila who have no operation in Subic. Or if they have any at all, they are used as facilities to make smuggling easier.How do authorities in the zone justify the importation of containers upon containers of brandy and cigarettes?
For transshipment, according to the documents.The reality is the smuggled items are diverted to the markets of Metro Manila and other urban centers.The "king" of used vehicles is said to be a powerful young man with direct access to MalacaƱang.



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