SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The Subic Bay Freeport and the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga remain to be major contributors to the country's economic development, as their combined export values last year provided about 11 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
In a report to Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Roberto Garcia, SBMA acting deputy administrator for business group Ronnie Yambao said that the contribution of the two neighboring special economic zones to the Philippine GDP was between 10 and 11 percent.
“Clark's and Subic’s combined export value last year of US$6 Billion is very significant to the gross regional domestic product (GRDP), which contributed 11 percent to our GDP,” said Yambao.
Yambao added that according to a report from the International Monitory Fund (IMF), the Philippine GDP’s growth rate remained at 6.1 percent as of 2014.
Referring to the updated World Economic Outlook, Yambao also said that the IMF sees the Philippines to still become the fastest-growing economy in Southeast Asia this year after it was able to maintain its 6.1 percent GDP, outpacing Vietnam and Indonesia.
For Subic, Yambao said that among the major growth contributors is the South Korean shipbuilder Hanjin Heavy Industries Corporation (HHIC), which now has 29,000 direct workers.
“For this year, Hanjin is projecting to complete at least 17 ships worth over US$1.6 billion. This would mean hiring additional workers,” Yambao said.
Meanwhile, Yambao also named five new investment projects that the SBMA Board of Directors has approved this year. These include Harbor Star Subic Corp., which proposed a US$4.5-million investment for marine-related ancillary service operation, such as harbor assist, towage, oil spill, and underwater services.
Another project, Nanofixit Ventures Inc., will open a $5.32-million rebottling and packaging company for water-based liquid screen protector, while Subic Superfood Inc. will infuse $920,000 for a food processing plant that will use local pili nuts from the Bicol Region and Himalayan salt for the manufacture of so-called “super foods.” (30)