SUBIC BAY FREEPORT - The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has generated new investments of about P100 billion in just the first seven months of 2016, recording one of the biggest half-year investment turnouts for this free port since its establishment in 1992.
SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia said in a media briefing here on Monday that several big-ticket projects were approved by the SBMA board of directors in the first half of 2016, compared to the previous four years when the SBMA attracted only P42-billion worth of new investment projects.
Garcia said the biggest of the new projects is the P60-billon joint venture by an Australian firm with Asian Institute of Aviation, an existing locator at the Subic Bay airport.
“They would transport agricultural products from Australia, mostly meat and seafood, repack them here, and then fly or ship them out to customers worldwide,” Garcia explained.
He added that the partners would put up an intermodal cargo terminal, use both airport and seaport, and expect to turn out around 60 containers per month for the Subic seaport.
“So that is going to be a big help,” Garcia said. “Their investment is going to be P60 billion for this project alone, and it will generate 800 jobs, not counting those for the construction work.”
Garcia said the project would also involve building new hangars, as the investors would bring in seven jets for their operations and offer maintenance and repair operations for jets, mostly from Hong Kong.
Garcia clarified that this commercial operation, which would occupy the northeast corner of the Subic airport
, would not affect the proposed use by the Philippine Air Force of the southwest portion of the airport for military training and logistics under the Expanded Defense Cooperation Agreement.
The SBMA board, Garcia added, has also approved an industrial estate project worth P34 billion in a 400-hectare area in the Redondo Peninsula, near the site of the Hanjin shipyard.
The proposed industrial estate project will include the development of a 200-megawatt solar plant and the construction of warehouses and logistics facilities, and the establishment of factories, and generate around 53,000 jobs.
Garcia also mentioned that Korean shipbuilder Hanjin has received the green light from the SBMA to put up its own 12-megawatt solar power plant at Redondo.
Another big project that was recently approved by the SBMA board of directors was the ship-to-ship transfer operation for liquefied natural gas, which will be worth another P5 billion.
“Things are looking good,” Garcia said, pointing out that aside from the big-ticket investments, the Subic agency has approved “a lot of smaller projects.”
“So as far as I’m concerned, we have a lot of activity in the pipeline for the next three to five years,” Garcia added. (30)