SUBIC BAY FREEPORT - As a result of outstanding financial performance in the past three consecutive years, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) increased its capital expenditures (CAPEX) on infrastructure by 957 percent in 2015.
SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia said that the SBMA approved a total of P302.5 million last year to fund eight major infrastructure projects, compared to only P28.6 million in 2014.
The amount is part of the P800-million CAPEX being utilized by SBMA to fund the repair of service roads, purchase of new vehicles, and renovation of SBMA buildings and facilities in the free port.
Garcia said that in 2013, the agency had very limited cash to fund even the minor repair of its roads and buildings. However, because of the dedication of SBMA officials and employees to improve the agency’s performance in 2014, the agency managed to allocate P28.63 million for infrastructure.
“The amount was insufficient but at least, we were able to start minor repairs on our roads and buildings,” the SBMA official said.
Garcia said that the shortage of funds in the past years had led to some embarrassing situations like when a group of investors visited him one rainy day and water started to drip from the ceiling.
“That is why as a reward for another successful year, we have allotted P3.19 million for the repair and waterproofing of the concrete roof at Building 229, which is the SBMA administration building,” he said.
Garcia said other projects completed under the 2015 infrastructure program include the improvement of road networks at the Naval Supply Depot (NSD) area, the renovation of the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center (SBECC), and the construction of a sentry booth and a medical-dental clinic at the Aeta tribal village in Pastolan, Hermosa, Bataan.
NSD is being utilized as unloading, warehousing, and stockpiling area for imported bulk grains, as well as containerized and non-containerized items.
Meanwhile, the SBECC is undergoing major renovation, general repainting, and upgrading of interior fixtures, including modern lights and sound systems in preparation for some upcoming big events, one of which is the Ad Summit 2016, the third time it will be hosted by Subic in a row.
Ad Summit Pilipinas 2016 is the country’s largest gathering in the advertising and marketing industry and more than 5,000 delegates from the industry in the country and abroad are expected to attend it.
Garcia said the use of choice materials in refurbishing the SBECC would help make Subic live up to its title as “Premier Convention Capital of Central Luzon” which the Department of Tourism bestowed in 2012.
Garcia added that the SBMA is ready to spend a significant amount for the repair and rehabilitation of infrastructures because the Subic Bay Freeport has a total asset of P28 billion, considered the largest among site-specific Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) in the country like the Authority of Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB) and Clark Development Corporation (CDC).
“Subic is not only the first Freeport, but the largest and most progressive in the country, and we want to keep it that way,” Garcia said. (30)
A road repair crew rehabilitates a portion of the road at the Central Business District of the Subic Bay Freeport