SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — Despite the global economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) released more than P154 million for the first semester to eight neighboring communities.
SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma handed over the cheques to LGU officials who arrived at the SBMA office in succession to observe social distancing on Thursday, Sept. 10.
Olongapo City remains to be the recipient of the biggest share with P36,020,102.98; followed by Subic, Zambales with P23,677,221.95; Dinalupihan, Bataan P19,262,853.00; San Marcelino, Zambales P18,561,184.24; Hermosa, Bataan P16,125,939.80; Castillejos, Zambales P14,496,222.41; Morong, Bataan P13,458,376.24; and San Antonio, Zambales P13,271,704.95.
The latest LGU release was taken from the agency’s revenue collections from January to June this year.
The LGU share is determined according to population (50 per cent), land area (25 per cent), and equal sharing (25 per cent). Olongapo, which is a highly urbanized city, always received the biggest chunk of the shares.
The shares are given to LGUs twice a year and are derived from two percent of the five-percent gross income taxes collected from business locators in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. Shares for the January to June period are released in August, while shares for July to December are given out in February the next year.
Eisma stressed that the LGU shares were meant to augment local resources and enable stakeholder communities to carry out development projects in health, education, peace and order, and livelihood generation.
She also pointed out that the total LGU shares given out this semester decreased a bit from the P175.7 million given out for the July to December period last year because of the slowdown in local business because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Mayor Elvis Soria of San Marcelino, Zambales said the LGU shares would be a big boost to local communities as they grapple with the effects of the pandemic.
“While the LGU shares are usually budgeted for development projects, we hope it can be realigned for use in our Covid-19 response, too,” Soria said.
The LGU of Morong, Bataan had requested for another schedule for the release of its share.