SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – The Subic Bay Freeport Zone is ready to take on more investments that may come into the country following the recent turmoil in neighboring Vietnam and Thailand.
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Roberto Garcia revealed this during a briefing last week at the Subic Bay Yacht Club for members of a trade delegation from Virginia Beach, an independent city in the state of Virginia, which recently forged a sisterhood pact with neighboring Olongapo City.
Garcia shared with the delegates that because of Vietnam’s row with China and the coup d’état in Thailand, many foreign investors are looking into relocating their companies in the country.
He said that the Philippines has earned thetrust of investors after it received investment upgrades from different rating firms.
He noted that the Philippines is currently enjoying a BBB rating from Standard and Poor’s, which means that the country has adequate capacity to meet financial commitments, but more subject to adverse economic conditions.
“President Aquino’s program of good governance has generated a lot of trust, and this trust has translated into foreign investments coming into the Philippines,” Garcia told the Virginia trade mission.
“They see that the present economic climate is very different from before,” Garcia added.
The SBMA official also said that the Subic Bay Freeport welcomes this development, since it could mean more investments, as well as jobs that could be generated here.
Virginia Beach councilor James Wood said that he is very impressed with the improvements in the country’s economic standing.
He also noted that Subic and Virginia Beach have a lot of similarities, and a possible collaboration is in the horizon.
“I think there are a lot of possibilities since we are near the Port of Virginia (which is) next to our city and we have a number of container ships similar with what you have here. It is possible,” Wood said.
He added that the new defense agreement between the United States and the Philippines can have a positive effect on the possible partnership between the two ports.
“I think also that because we have a large Navy presence in our place and with the change in our defense treaty, we see a lot of ships arriving,” he added.
The SBMA under Garcia’s helm has boosted its thrust to improve its fiscal situation, approving last year a total of P27 billion in investment pledges and posting a net profit of P1.079 billion, its highest in the agency’s entire 21-year history.
Garcia said that the SBMA is looking forward this year to more investments, especially those coming from other Asian economies.