Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Nearby communities to be developed for spillover Subic investments

Government authorities project an overflow of foreign direct investments (FDI) in Subic Bay Freeport in a few years' time and are already preparing to direct these to communities adjacent to this former US naval base.

In a recent meeting here, the top executives of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), the Subic-Clark Area Development (SCAD) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) discussed the need to work with local government units in developing nearby communities for prime investments.

NEDA Director General Romulo Neri and Presidential Adviser for SCAD Edgardo Pamintuan affirmed SBMA Administrator Armand C. Arreza's projection that the Freeport will soon be "overflowing with FDIs."

"We are considering tapping the adjacent communities of the Subic Freeport as the catch basin for the spill-over effect of the imminent overflow of these investments," Arreza said.

"It is high time that these communities benefit directly from these investments aside from the annual one percent share that local government units (LGUs) get from the gross income taxes paid by businesses and enterprises within the Freeport Zone," Arreza said.

Based on data from the SBMA Business Group, of the US$ 3.348 billion total committed investments in the Freeport, US$ 2.7 billion or about 80 percent are FDIs.

"In a few years' time, the Freeport will be full to the brim with local and foreign investments. The biggest chunk of Freeport territory is the Redondo peninsula, which is 300 hectares, and has already been taken by Hanjin," he said.

Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction (HHIC) of South Korea will be constructing a shipyard in the Redondo Peninsula infusing a billion-dollar worth of investments in the Freeport.

Pamintuan said that the completion of the Hanjin project would also spur development throughout the area in terms of employment and greater revenues.

The Korean shipping firm is expected to generate up to 20,000 employment opportunities from the construction phase to its actual operations.

Neri said that Subic's growth would definitely enhance the potentials of nearby communities of Subic Bay and Clark, including prime areas such as the former naval communications base at San Miguel in Zambales; and Dinalupihan, Bataan, where the Subic-Clark-Expressway would pass through.


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