SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — Newly-appointed chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Martin Diño is eyeing to strengthen and widen trade in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone in order to generate more investment and livelihood opportunities in the Subic Bay area.
Diño, who took over the helm of the Subic agency last Monday, said the SBMA under his administration will seek to maximize the use of the Subic port and develop more business districts for investors.
“We need to maximize the use of the Subic port, especially the container terminal here, to bring in more business and, at the same time, help solve the traffic congestion in Manila ports,” the new chairman said during a media briefing following the turnover ceremony last Monday.
“At the same time, we should find ways to accommodate more investments because the available area for further development in Subic is now very much limited,” he added.
Diño noted that the capacity of the New Container Terminal 1 and 2 in the Subic Bay Freeport “is more than enough to handle all the containers originating from and bound for Central and Northern Luzon.”
However, he said there is a need to develop a bigger logistics area that would cater to the needs of the growing number of port users.
“This is why we need to explore the transfer of the Bataan Technology Park, Inc. to the management of the SBMA,” Diño said. “We can spur the development of the entire area of BTPI into a central business district for shippers, logistics, and other related industries, as the Subic Bay Freeport is already running out of developable lands.”
The 380-hectare BTPI is located in Barangay Sabang, Morong, Bataan, about 30 minutes away from the Subic Bay Freeport’s central business district. Once a UN High Commission’s Refugee Processing Center, the BTPI is ideal for light and customized manufacturing industries.
Under Proclamation No. 532, which delineates the metes and bounds of the Subic Special Economic and Freeport Zone, Subic has a total land and water area of 67,452 hectares more or less. Out of this, the fenced area where much development has taken place is approximately 14,000 hectares, including portion of the Redondo Peninsula.
However, out of the fenced area, only about 2,800 hectares or about 20% is developable, while the remaining 11,200 hectares or about 80% of the total land and water area are high slopes, forests, and protected areas.
To address the problem of land scarcity in Subic, Diño said the SBMA must maximize the use of all available facilities and pursue an expansion program.
He added that his office will initiate multi-lateral dialogues with the City of Olongapo, the municipalities of Morong and Hermosa in Bataan, and the town of San Antonio in Zambales to identify areas for possible development.