SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — “As the President’s personal choice for SBMA Chairman, I will lead by example and turn the Subic Freeport into his vision of a clean, efficient and corruption-free agency.”
Chairman/Administrator of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Martin Dino made this pledge today as he took the first step in his avowed cleanup of the Freeport. He charged the past SBMA administration with burying layers of suspicious deals that are highly disadvantageous to the government.
Dino cited a voluminous Commission on Audit (COA) annual report which listed 10 significant observations and recommendations requiring immediate action.
Among the red flags raised by the COA, he said, are the staggering P3.494 billion in accounts receivables, P14.130 million in unliquidated cash advances, missing contracts worth P35.591 million, and loss of business opportunities due to bad priorities.
The SBMA lost a great deal of revenues, Dino further charged, because of the non-operation of the Subic Bay International Airport after it was abandoned by Federal Express (Fed-Ex) as its logistics transshipment hub in Asia.
Airport equipment worth P54.667 million became idle and obsolete and was left to rot, Dino said.
He said there were also lease agreements awarded to several companies that had failed to back up their multi-million committed investments, putting SBMA at great risk.
“I will never allow graft and corruption to persist here. I will never condone abuses,” said Dino, as he warned SBMA officials and employees to “get their act together and shun bribes.”
Dino said he is also wondering why no criminal cases were filed by former chairman Roberto Garcia against SBMA officials and employees tagged by the COA as responsible for a ghost computer project worth P39 million.
He said the case is now being reviewed for possible charges that could be filed before the Ombudsman.
“I am ready and determined to bring about the necessary change and lead Subic into the next decade as Asia’s premier Freeport zone,” Dino added.
Dino inherits an agency that is challenged by the need to maximize the use of the airport and port facilities, improve the investment climate and put a stop to smuggling in the Freeport zone.
He vowed a thorough review of the new five-year SBMA plan the old board had drawn up as well as its operations between 2011 and 2016, and before that 2001 to 2010.
Dino also promised to pursue a program upgrading SBMA’s aging road infrastructure and building additional facilities for handling bulk and containerized cargo to help decongest port operations and traffic in Manila’s North Harbor.
“But where change is necessary,” he said, “I am determined to move ahead and be a catalyst for change like our beloved President is for the nation.”
Dino, a stalwart of the ruling party PDP Laban, is best known as an uncompromising crusader against corruption and violence as chairman of the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC).