CLARK FREEPORT – Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chair and administrator Wilma Eisma has appealed to local governments in Bataan and Zambales to give some areas in their towns and declare them as part of Subic Freeport where there is already shortage of lands for new investors.
In a press forum here, Eisma noted that almost all the 8,000 investable areas within her freeport have already been leased out, while the rest of some 69,000 hectares of lands that used to be also part of the US Subic naval base have terrains unfit for offices and factories.
“We don’t have lands anymore, so we are appealing to local governments in surrounding areas in Bataan and Zambales to consider allowing some of their areas to become part of the Subic freeport through a resolution as allowed by law,” she said.
She said since she issued such appeal last year, the town of San Antonio, Zambales responded by allocating 9,000 hectares as part of Subic Freeport.
But she said the area is more fit for tourism projects, not for offices and factories.
“Of course, declaring lands as part of the freeport would mean lack of local government jurisdiction in the area, but this will eventually pay off in terms of employment for locals, among other benefits,” she said, noting that local governments hosting freeports are also entitled to five percent of the freeport’s gross income earned (GIE).
Eisma stressed that SBMA has been doing financially well, as she cited some P800 million taxes it has remitted to the national coffers last year.
She also noted that while Subic freeport also has the nearby 3,000-hectare Redondo Peninsula whose terrain, however, is also not suited for offices and factories.
“I immediately need some 5,000 hectares for labor intensive investments,” she said, noting inquiries from interested companies.
Eisma also said SBMA is also zeroing in on delinquent investors which have failed to pay leases. At least five firms are under fire because of this, she added.
She reported that the delinquent firms owe the SBMA some P68 million receivables. “These are funds that we can use for maintenance operations,” she lamented.