SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) will ask funding from the national government for major infrastructure projects planned here starting next year.
SBMA Chairperson and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma bared in a media briefing here that she has already asked the national government to provide funding to fix two crucial accesses to this premier free port.
“The first order of business is the repair of the Alava Pier and the construction of a new Magsaysay Bridge, which leads to the Subic Freeport main gate,” Eisma said.
“I have asked Finance officials to consider the release of funds for Subic as an investment for the national government, because the SBMA would be giving back bigger remittances to the national treasury once these projects are completed,” she added.
“We need to prioritize these infrastructure projects since they will further push the Subic Freeport’s business potential,” she also said.
According to the SBMA chief, it would be the first time in many years that the SBMA would request for national allocation, as it has been operating as a self-sufficient government agency for at least a decade.
“But it can be done, and I know how to get it done,” Eisma said.
She added that the SBMA would channel its own funds instead to other projects meant to enhance security in the Subic Freeport.
The two priority projects for national funding are estimated to cost more than P2.84 billion, with the repair of Alava and other piers in Subic eating up P2.45 billion.
Eisma, who attended the Asia Cruise Forum Jeju in South Korea last month where she had a discussion with cruise ship firms, said the reason why large cruise ships were unable to visit the Freeport is that the port is already silted.
“Alava Pier is badly in need of dredging since large ships such as US aircraft carriers can no longer dock there. Aside from that, the posts there have already deteriorated and in need of replacement,” she said.
Eisma said that the repair of Subic piers would complement the Duterte government’s “Build Build Build” program, which includes the construction of the proposed Subic-Clark Cargo Railway that will ease the transfer of cargo container from vessels docked in Subic to the nearby Clark Freeport and other destinations in Central and Northern Luzon. (Dante M. Salvana)