SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — Officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and the eight local government units (LGUs) adjacent to this free port renewed their pledge of cooperation on Thursday (August 1), as the Subic agency formally turned over revenue shares for the communities contiguous to and affected by the operations of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
Mayors of the eight adjacent LGUs received a total of P74.5 million in revenue shares from SBMA chairman and administrator Roberto Garcia during a simple turnover ceremony here. The LGU shares were derived from two percent of the five percent corporate taxes paid by Subic Bay Freeport-registered enterprises from January to June 2013.
“This is an historic occasion, and I thought it would be best that we have this kind of ceremony, not only for you to meet the SBMA officials, but maybe also for us to meet you, considering that you are our partners in the development of the free port zone,” Garcia said as he welcomed the local officials.
On hand to receive their “lion’s share” of revenues were Olongapo City mayor Rolen Paulino who received a cheque in the amount of P18.12 million, which is the highest share; SBMA director Joseph Khonghun who received P11.05 million for the town of Subic, Zambales on behalf of his nephew, Mayor Jay Khonghun; and Mayor Angela Garcia, who received P9.35 million for Dinalupihan, Bataan. Also present to receive their town’s shares were Mayor Estela Antipolo of San Antonio, Zambales, who received P9.02 million; Mayor Danny Malana of Hermosa, Bataan, P7.6 million; Mayor Jose Angelo Dominguez of Castillejos, Zambales, P6.57 million; Mayor Jorge Estanislao of Morong, Bataan, P6.44 million; and Mayor Jose Rodriguez of San Marcelino, Zambales, P6.36 million.
During the meeting, Garcia revealed that the Subic Bay Freeport “is doing quite well,” having posted a net income of P811 million last year, which is the highest recorded income in the 20-year history of the Freeport zone. Garcia also committed the SBMA to further assist in the development of the Subic Bay area and help move the country forward by introducing new strategic initiatives.
Meanwhile, SBMA deputy administrator for internal services Ramon Agregado briefed the local executives on how the distribution of revenue shares came about, noting that this was the first time that a ceremonial turnover of LGU shares was held. Agregado disclosed that the amount received by the mayors consists of the P67.2-million revenue share for the first semester of 2013 and the P7.3-million withheld from the revenue shares released in the first semester of 2011 under a 10-percent retention scheme. He reiterated that the revenue shares are intended to supplement development projects in health, education, peace and order, and livelihood generation of contiguous LGUs.
The SBMA began releasing the shares directly to LGUs starting August 2010 to ensure the prompt release of shares to the local communities. The LGU share is determined according to population (50 per cent), land area (25 per cent), and equal sharing (25 per cent). According to Agregado, SBMA had released a total of P318.3 million to the LGUs from 2010 to 2012.
After the formal awarding of cheques, Mayor Paulino acknowledged the support of the SBMA for the development of adjacent communities. “In behalf of all the mayors near the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, we’d like to thank Chairman Bobby Garcia for showing that the neighboring municipalities of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone are important to you. And we acknowledge your efforts for us to work as one, in only one direction, since after all this is our place,” Paulino said. “Rest assured that wherever the direction of the SBMA will be, that will be our direction, too,” he added.
The next distribution of LGU revenue shares will be on February 1 next year.