Upbeat Subic

“2022 was a good year for us and 2023 was even a better year for us.”

Thus said Atty. John Aquino, the Deputy Administrator for Business Group of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), which manages the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, one of the growth areas in Central Luzon that boasts of its deep-sea port.

The deep-sea port of Subic is a vital link to the development of the logistics and services hub that will extend to the Clark Freeport Zone which has its international airport, and all the way to the “other economic zone” which is the New Clark City. With modern connectivity, this triangular growth corridor will play a crucial role in the developments in the Luzon Island.

With a new leadership at the helm of the Subic Bay Freeport under the stewardship of Administrator Eduardo Alino, and with big ticket projects that will further link Subic freeport to the rest of Luzon, such as the long-delayed Magsaysay Bridge and the Subic-Clark Commuter Railway – the development of a seamless logistics and services would further attract local and foreign investors in the area.

Atty. Aquino has recently updated members of the Central Luzon Media Association Pampanga last February 22, 2024 on the current developments in the Subic Freeport Zone, which just witnessed a rigodon of administrators – from Wilma Eisma to former Olongapo City Mayor Rolen Paulino to former Pandan, Antique Mayor Jonathan Tan to now current SBMA Admnistrator Eduardo Alino, a former “commodore” at the Subic Yatch Club.

Last January 12, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has appointed businessman Alino as the new Subic Chairman and Administrator replacing former Pandan, Antique Mayor Tan, who was appointed undersecretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government. This, at a time when Tan was allegedly losing the support of SBMA directors.

Tan took over as SBMA administrator in April 2023 replacing former Olongapo Mayor Rolen Paulino Sr., who is now director at the Bases Conversion and Development Authority. In March 2022, the Angeles City native Paulino replaced Eisma, who was appointed director of the Development Bank of the Philippines.
In less than two years, SBMA had three administrators from the time of Paulino – all of whom struggled to bring in fresh investments after the world economic pinch brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has seen a lot of closures from companies inside the Subic freeport while some struggled to push through with their investment commitments.

A close associate of former Mayor Paulino and a long-time legal luminary at the Olongapo Trial Court, Atty. Aquino had been prodded to join the SBMA team to bring in fresh ideas in the development of the Subic freeport. So far, the SBMA had been reoffering the sequestered facilities from delinquent investors, according to Atty. Aquino, citing that they had already recovered four facilities. These facilities will be offered to potential local and foreign investors who can bring in new investments that will excite visitors to the area.

Atty. Aquino said SBMA had been eyeing the entry of more manufacturing firms because these will generate employment and livelihood for stakeholders in Zambales and Bataan provinces.

The affable and seminary-educated Atty. Aquino who regularly rides his bike from the upland area of Subic all the way to Clark freeport zone sees positive growth inside the Subic freeport citing the upcoming developments in the area. Atty. Aquino is inviting investors who can bring in new exciting developments inside the Subic freeport.

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