SBMA top honcho boss woman claimed in her interview with the Sunday magazine of the Manila times that she will go back to her mother’s home when her term as chairman-administrator of the government owned and managed economic zone end after the national election on May 9, 2022.

In the article on the people of concern by the broadsheet newspaper, lawyer Wilma Eisma intimated that after her government stint, she will take care of her mother who is already old and may pursue her law practice.

The issue dwelled on the accomplishment of Eisma after assuming the top post of the office that managed the former US Naval complex at Subic Bay from her former job as top lobbyist of the global cigarette giant Philip Morris.

Eisma who never denied being a protégé of Sen. Dick Gordon, pioneer chairman-administrator of converted naval facilities into an economic and industrial zone to create jobs for dislocated Filipino workers at Subic Bay when the US Naval Forces left the base complex in November 24, 1992, claimed that her biggest legacies what she will behind her tenure are the upgrading of decades road around the former base and the conversion of the Port of Subic into a Cruise Ships hub. She claimed further that former administrators failed to take the concreating of roads built by the US Navy.

Eisma did not take into consideration that the previous management were more concerned on the prevailing needs of the Zone facilities and that its income were not adequate to engage in massive public works projects.

Eisma used her Congressional connections both at the House and Senate for fund allocations for infrastructure projects which funded her road building program.

Previous administrator followed the SBMA Charter which mandates that the agency should not depend on funding support from the national government and must raise its own funds to undertake public works projects.

After Gordon who incurred foreign loans from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank and other lendings, the administration of Felicito C. Payumo were engaged in the repacking of SBMA as a friendly destination, promoting domestic tourism and debt servicing the loans left by Gordon.

Aside from it, Payumo hired Jesus Barengila, a former top executive of the Department of Budget to oversee the financials of the agency and make sure that the Commission on Audit (COA) does not fault SBMA of disallowable expenditures, a major concern during the Gordon administration.

On the other hand, during the term of Roberto Garcia, a retired business executive and AIM alumnus, his main concern was the debt servicing of the JICA loan that funded the development of the twin container terminals at Cubi Point. While these projects were originated during Payumo”s term, its operational phase fell on the shoulder of Garcia.

While the terminals were leased and managed by global port operator International Container Terminal Services Inc. (ICTSI) of Ricky Razon, shippers hardly patronized the modern port facilities. With maximum capacity of the twin terminals were 6,000 TEUs, initially it was only servicing 70,000 TEUs way below target volumes.

With his predicament, Garcia using his business connections and knowledge of the shipping industry held two Maritime Summits in joint collaborations with ICTSI. Now the volume has risen as the number of import cargos has made the Port of Subic its port of choice. As an old timer observer of the community, we witnessed the various challenges that SBMA officials faces and varied based on current events and support by Malacanang.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this Opinion page are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official policy or position of Subic Bay News or of its clients.

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