SUBIC FREEPORT ZONE – The P10 billion modernization in a 50-hectare area of the Subic Port is expected to expand trade and provide seamless flow of goods in the Subic-Clark corridor and the Luzon area.
“We have to make Subic contribute significantly to total national employment, productivity, trade volume, capital inflows and gross international reserves. This pursuit entails modernization of infrastructure and complete digitalization of all segments of operations,” according to Kapampangan businessman Dr. Reghis M. Romero II, Chairman of the Harbour Centre Port Terminal Inc. (HCPTI).
The HCPTI in a joint venture with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has inaugurated the Subic Port on Tuesday morning at the NSD Compound, inside SBMA.
Romero said HCPTI will establish a modern port facility and embark in digitalization of its operations noting that businesses in the Subic-Clark corridor and in the Luzon area will greatly benefit from the presence of a modern port facility in Subic.
“These businesses do not have to go all the way to Manila,” said Romero.
Romero said Subic with its deep-sea port and Clark Freeport Zone with its international airport will form part of the growth corridor that will pave the way to the development of a seamless supply chain.
“Sustainability in business may face threats due to some uncertainties especially from external forces like the unrest in Ukraine and Israel. But I remain confident, considering that our economy can withstand internal shocks which has been proven many times over – from the 1997 Asian financial crisis to the 2008 global economic meltdown and all the way to the recent COVID-induced market slump and worldwide inflation,” said Romero.
Romero has cited the Philippine economy which is “driven by consumption such that the nation can consume what it can produce. To a large extent, it makes our economy virtually self-sustaining.”
Romero said the country “have both the Southeast Asia and the East Asia as our immediate trading grounds.”
“To ensure economic expansion amid the growing domestic requirements, we have to trade beyond our borders and attract foreign capital and technologies,” said Romero.
Subic is strategically located in Southeast Asia and the “closest international port to Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan, while also being at the strategic center of the 10-nation Southeast Asia.”
“Subic therefore, is at the fulcrum of our country’s territorial and economic security, where the development and protection of critical infrastructure are, not just required, but imperative at extreme urgency.
“No wonder the Subic Port, at this very day, has become a monumental example of public-private partnership geared at achieving sustainability through unity.”
Romero said Subic contributes to the GDP growth but said “our economy must expand by 7.4 percent in the last quarter of 2023 to achieve the government’s full-year GDP growth target of at least six percent.”
He said the Subic Port is not just about business but of national economy and integrity of governance “which are worth uniting for.”
He cited the observation of World Bank on the development of efficient and high-quality port: “When done correctly, it fosters the necessary confidence to attract investment in production and distribution systems, supporting the growth of manufacturing and logistics, creating employment, and increasing income levels. By contrast, a poorly functioning or inefficient port can hinder trade growth.”
The World Bank is monitoring the performance of some 350 ports all over the world.