Subic Freeport to expand to Hermosa
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and the local government of Hermosa, Bataan, are firming up plans to include some lands in Hermosa as an extension of the free port under Executive Order 675.
In a meeting last week at the town hall with a group of SBMA directors, Hermosa mayor Danilo Malana informed the group that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan had already passed a resolution in January this year, “concurring and adopting Executive Order 675 which authorizes certain contiguous areas in Hermosa to be declared as additional secured areas under the Subic Bay Special Economic and Freeport Zone as defined under Proclamation No. 532 dated February 1, 1995.”
SBMA directors Bienvenido Benitez, Philip Camara, John Philip Chua Chiaco and Ramon Diez Sesdoryo welcomed the news as a positive development toward the envisioned expansion of the free port and the creation of more jobs in these expansion areas.
Malana, together with Hermosa vice mayor Christopher Vitug and other members of the Sanggunian, expressed keen interest in initially developing some 200 hectares of generally flat land in Sitio Mabiga, Barangay Tipo in Hermosa, as an extension of the free port. He also identified some nearby areas that would be suitable for eco-tourism.
Located in the western part of Hermosa, Mabiga is approximately a 10-minute drive from Subic Freeport and about 25 minutes from Clark.
“We will need an exit from SCTEX (Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway) to Hermosa,” Malana said, noting that this would facilitate the movement of goods and people to and from the area, and also benefit Olongapo City.
“This kind of shared development will redound to the mutual benefit of the SBMA and the town of Hermosa. It will not only address the SBMA’s need for more developable areas but also open up employment opportunities for the people,” said SBMA director Benitez who chairs the SBMA board’s “Project Unity”.
Project Unity is a series of one-on-one meetings initiated by the SBMA board of directors with the local boards of the six LGUs adjacent to the free port; namely, the provinces of Zambales and Bataan, the towns of Subic, Hermosa, Morong and the city of Olongapo.
Among others, the project aims to create synergy in development and commercial projects that have large multiplier effects on local economies, and pool scarce resources towards better and more efficient project development and implementation.
Benitez also invited the local executives to an open-space technology integrative workshop that the SBMA would hold with other neighboring local government units sometime in November.
According to director Camara, vice chair of the SBMA board project, the workshop will allow both the SBMA and the LGUs to synthesize everyone’s inputs to forge a common vision for the development of areas surrounding the free port. “Through this process, we will all get to identify points of synergy for initiatives that point toward a common aspiration and vision for the next five years, and use them as our basis for future planning and development,” he added.
Former SBMA administrator Armand Arreza described Hermosa as “an ideal expansion site for Subic Freeport” when he met with Malana in December last year to brief him about EO 675.
The executive order was issued in November 2007, to allow the extension of the secured area of the Subic Bay Special Economic and Freeport Zone (SSEFPZ) to areas within the SSEFPZ but outside the presently fenced-in former US Naval Base. (30)