New SBMA chair to prioritize workers’ welfare

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) will prioritize the provision of benefits and incentives to SBMA workers who served as volunteers after the US Naval Base here closed down in 1992.

SBMA Chairman Martin Diño said during a media conference here that volunteers who are holding contractual positions in the agency shall be given priority in housing and retirement benefits and other incentives.

“When I first arrived in the SBMA, I first asked about the conditions of the volunteers and I promised them that I will see how SBMA could repay them for what they did for the agency,” he said.

He added that his administration will help those hired under contracts of service to look for permanent jobs in line with the President Duterte’s program to eliminate end-of-contract scheme, commonly known as “endo,” which limits workers’ contracts to a maximum of six months to avoid permanent hiring.

The chairman explained that his administration will conduct a study “to definitely end contractualization in accordance with COA (Commission on Audit) rules and regulations.”

The SBMA is still employing about 1,200 workers under contract of service (CS), mostly former volunteers who serve in ground maintenance and housekeeping operations, as well as other office positions.

Diño also said that the SBMA reorganization proposal submitted to the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) shall be reviewed to make it more beneficial and responsive to the needs and direction of the agency.

“The proposed reorganization in the structure of the agency to cope with the present and realistic conditions in the Freeport, which is continuously growing in terms of investments, will be reviewed to make it fit and responsive to the direction the agency wishes to take,” Diño said.

He added that the new administration will implement the removal of​ any overlapping functions of offices, improve the healthcare program and benefits of all SBMA employees, and require all departments to improve their performance and output.

“SBMA employees should be the first to benefit from what their agency has been achieving, which made the Subic Bay Freeport the Number 1 tourism destination in the region and a contributor of billions of pesos to the national government,” Diño also said. –Mhike Cigaral

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