SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is confident of stamping out corruption in this premier free port, as officers and employees of the agency signed the Integrity Pledge to support the national campaign to eliminate graft and corruption.
Led by agency head Chairman Roberto Garcia, more than 1,000 senior officials and employees of the SBMA formally indicated their commitment to ethical business practices during a mass signing ceremony held at the start of the recent SBMA Mini-Olympics.
Garcia said that practicing good governance, such as eliminating red tape and undertaking transparent and faster transactions, goes a long way in promoting good business and building investor confidence.
“We have seen the fruits of good governance right here at the SBMA,” Garcia said, pointing out that with such practice SBMA was able to resurrect its finances from the brink of bankruptcy to become one of the top revenue contributors among the economic zones in the country.
Garcia said that the SBMA managed to remit a total of P572.9 million worth of dividends to the national government in 2015 after posting total revenue of P2.75 billion.
“Last year, we were ranked number 11 among all the government-owned or –controlled companies,” Garcia noted.
The Integrity Pledge is a document whereby an individual or company expresses commitment to abide by ethical business practices and to support a national campaign against graft and corruption.
Garcia signed the Integrity Pledge on behalf of the agency in June 2013 as a means to instill a culture of transparency and accountability in the Subic Bay Freeport.
The pledge is acknowledged to be an effective tool in preventing corruption in public contracting, as it stipulates rights and obligations to the effect that neither side will pay, offer, demand or accept bribes, collude with competitors to obtain contract; or engage in such abuses while executing the contract.
Garcia said that the SBMA has institutionalized the Integrity Pledge in the Subic Bay Freeport with the creation of a Code of Conduct for all employees and officials of SBMA, and encouraging stakeholders like business locators, suppliers, and the local government units surrounding the Freeport to sign the Integrity Pledge before any transaction is to be made.
The SBMA board has also passed a resolution recently making the Integrity Pledge a precondition to the renewal of business permits for all locators in the free port.
In January 2015, the SBMA sponsored a mass signing of the Integrity Pledge for more than 150 executives from various locators and investors here in Subic, making it the first Philippine free port to do so. (30)
SBMA employees sign the Integrity Pledge before their respective department heads during a mass signing ceremony in support of support the national campaign against graft and corruption.