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SBMA tourism complex plan derailed



THE IDLE Subic Bay International Airport will be used as a military base, derailing an SBMA plan to convert the area into a tourism complex. EV ESPIRITU/INQUIRER NORTHERN LUZON

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—The planned conversion of the idle Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) into a tourism complex will not push through due to plans of the Department of National Defense (DND) to use the area as a military base, a top official of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) said.

SBMA Chair Roberto Garcia said his vision to convert the 200-hectare SBIA into a family-oriented, integrated, international tourist destination like Sentosa Island in Singapore had been derailed because the DND wants to use the airport with its counterpart in the United States military.

“The DND wants to move the Philippine Air Force (PAF) base from Basa [in Floridablanca, Pampanga] to SBIA. If so, then the airport conversion cannot push through,” he said.

The Basa Air Base hosts the PAF’s Air Defense Wing and the 355th Air Engineering Wing.

The DND’s plan to use SBIA came even as Garcia had pinned his hopes on using the airport to improve the financial condition of this debt-ridden free port. He, however, said the schedule for the PAF’s transfer here has yet to be finalized.

When asked if the PAF’s use of SBIA is temporary, Garcia said: “If they transfer, [it will] most likely be permanent.”

A Philippine Information Agency (PIA) report confirmed the inevitability of the transfer as SBIA is now “being eyed [by the DND] as a forward base for the joint operations of the PAF and the US Air Force Pacific alliance to maintain regional balance in light of territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea.”

Garcia, in an earlier interview, said the plan to convert SBIA was one of the “out of the box” solutions to attract more investments to Subic and increase its revenue stream.

The SBIA land is a prime piece of real estate and was formerly the Cubi Point Air Station (Radford Field) of the US Navy.

SBIA was home to courier giant Federal Express (FedEx) until 2008, when the company relocated to China.

But Garcia described the airport as a “cash drain” for SBMA.

He said the airport complex has been underutilized, causing its income to drop from P255.2 million in 2005 to P36.6 million in 2011 and netting, after debt servicing, an average loss of P150 million since 2010.

“It’s nice to have an airport, but Subic is going bankrupt. That’s a major asset, but it’s not being used,” he said.

The conversion plan consists of building convention centers, business process outsourcing parks, a science and technology center, casinos, theme parks, a golf course and luxury villas.

Earlier, former Sen. Richard Gordon scored Garcia’s plan of converting the airport due to its importance in turning Subic into a major port.

Gordon, a former SBMA chair, said it took $40 million to rebuild and modernize SBIA.

“The airport is vital to Subic if the government wants to transform [the free port] into another Hong Kong or Singapore,” he said. Robert Gonzaga, Inquirer Central Luzon


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Tags: News , Regions , Subic Bay International Airport , Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority


  • opinyonlangpo

    That is much better than waiting for SBMA to do something about it. If SBMA really and seriously wanted to make it like Sentosa Island it could have done it long long time ago because the place is already there and some structures are already existent. Sentosa Island started as a humble tourist destination with nature as its attraction, not much investment but just a maintained remnants of war. At least for now the DND can see some use for it before it gets buried like an inca ruin. Consider it as collateral damage for competing politicians, instead of becoming profitable it became a liability.

    • Loggnat

      All the American bases and peripheral properties were never fully developed but with minimal expenses on maintenance and rehabilitation it became cash-cows for those selected few who were appointed to run or developed them by each succeeding administration. Most Filipino public servants just can’t finish or complete a developmental job specially if it is already earning money. They just take advantage and makes themselves rich from appropriating money for their own use. One of the ugly traits of the Filipinos, I guess.

  • mark1205

    Seriously? Are we even rich enough to convert a major asset into another and simply demolish it? Do we not have any other potential for growth areas that the government has not spent a fortune to build? They should have built it in a modular way so we could transfer the facility to another place. Just disassemble it. Look at SG’s budget terminal- so easy to build yet possible of disassembling.

  • daniboy2012

    subic will be back to its old glory!

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/EDB2CW643AV6DCQEWFJF6JK7BY Renski1970

      maybe but NO. Umalis na nga ang FEDEX eh.. Ako parating dumadaan diyan sa OLONGAPO, talagang taas noo noon ang taga GAPO dahil sa FEDEX na iyan.. ng UMALIS… wala lang…tuwang tuwa ang iba dahil may perang pansabong o pang apply sa abroad. Napakahirap isipin na lisanin ka ng isang INCOME generating company! Huwag na sanang maulit MULI.

  • joboni96

    ‘DND wants to use the airport with its counterpart in the United States military.’

    makulit talaga itong
    imperyalistang u.s.

    gusto na naman tayong ipahamak
    sa away niya sa intsik switik
    tulad noong ww2 at
    u.s. kastila war

    sunod sunuran naman
    mga u.s.-trained collaborators sa dnd

    panahon na para i expose
    ang mga collaborators na mga ito
    na magpapahamak at sisira
    sa bayan natin

    • DGuardian

      Bakit? Kaya bang ipagtanggol ng Pilipinas ang sarili niya laban sa Tsina? Noong inuubos ng Tsina, ninanakaw at sinisira ang marine life pati na ang mga corals, endangered species at nag-heavy bottom trawling pa dito para tuluyang sirain ang anumang growth sa seabed nito, nag-reklamo ka ba? Walang nagawa ang Pilipinas hanggang talian ng lubid ng China ang entrance sa lagoon ng Shoal dahil walang lakas ang Armed Forces of the Philippines para mag-retaliate. Iyon ba ang gusto mo? Angkinin na ng China ang buong Pilipinas nang wala man lamang ginagawang paraan ang bayan natin para mahadlangan ito? Ang reality sa mundo ngayon ay China o America. Tanging sa panig lamang ng America magigiging ligtas ang Pilipinas. Ang destiny ng Pilipinas ay irrevocably intertwined with that of the U.S.’ sa harap ng kasamaan at imperialistic ambition of China to dominate the world. Ikaw, komunista ka ba?

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/EDB2CW643AV6DCQEWFJF6JK7BY Renski1970

        Kaya pare ng PILIPINO ang makipag laban! Kung maipag TANGGOL nasa tao iyan. Kung ang mga tao ay tulad mong TUTA??? mga lahi ninyong TUTA, wala talaga kasi pinalaki kang TUTA.. ang mga magulang mo mga TUTA din ng KANO. Ang PILIPINAS kaya ang lahat kung tayong mga PILIPINO may paninindigan sa sarili, pagMAMAHAL sa BANSA at may determinasyun na paunLARIN ang SANDATAHANG LAKAS NG PILIPINAS (Proteksyon LABAN sa kung ano mang BANSANG MANG-AAPI ma CHINA man o kahit USA). Hindi pwedeng ipapamana ninyo sa mga kaapo-apohan ninyo ang inyong pagiging TUTA sa KANO! Tumindig ka PILIPINO!

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FR7CAQ3S5UMXNGVXCY5FBS6B5I It's Time

        Puro ka yabang… wala ka namang alam kundi sabihing ‘tuta dito, tuta doon’ manahimik ka kung wala kang maitulong. Ilang beses nang pinagbabantaan ang bansa natin ng Tsina puro tuta laman ng utak mo. Pano kung walang amerika na tutulong, makakaya mo ba? tanong ko nga sa ‘yo? kaya mo nga ba? o puro ka lang yabang, hambog! sige sabihin mo rin sa Japan at South Korea na tuta rin sila, sabihin mo na kaya sa buong mundo na tinulungan ng amerika mga tuta rin sila.

        pinakamainam sa ‘yo itali sa bangka at idala sa panatag. doon mo makikita kung ano hanap mo hambog ka!

      • joboni96

        pikon talo

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/TJAA3WKCKQZWSJX2ATNY4K65GU Titan

        So papaano mo palalakasin ang sandatahang lakas ng Pilipinas kung hindi kukuha ng mga gamit ng mga Kano (note: ang mga gamit natin puro US-made)?  Anong solusyon ang gusto mo?  Kanino tayo kukuha ng mga kagamitan?

        Gusto mo ng AK-47 ng China?  Ay sandali, inaaway nga nila tayo tapos pagbebentahan pa nila tayo ng baril para labanan sila?

        Saan?  Paano?

      • joboni96

        kolonisadong utak ka talaga

        bakit sa imperyalistang u.s. lang ba
        makakakuha ng pang depensang armas

        basahin mo lahat ng posts ko
        at masasagot lahat ng tanong mo

        sa kaswapangan ng u.s.
        pinatigil ang missile program ng pinas
        noong 1970s

        una pa tayo sa nokor sokor iran etc

      • joboni96

        pro pilipino ako
        hindi u.s. collaborator tulad mo

        hayaan mong mag gerra ang
        imperyalistang u.s. at
        intsik switik

        kaming mga pilipino
        dedepensahan lang namin
        ang eez at kalayaan namin

        katulong ang mga kapitbahay
        na bansa

        hindi ang imperyalistang u.s.
        na pag nagka gerra dito
        hindi naman mapipinsala

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FR7CAQ3S5UMXNGVXCY5FBS6B5I It's Time

      panahon na rin para i-expose ang collaborators ng tsina na totoong magpapahamak ng bayan namin (hindi ‘natin’ kapal mo!)

      • joboni96

        gayagaya tong cia collaborator na to

        tsupe ka sa bayan namin

  • Platypus09

    That was an ambitious plan to begin with.

    It did not work the way this airport was envisioned at the very beginning. Only few politicians got away with controversial corruption in building this airport.

    First of all, tourists in the province of Pampanga needs to increase.

    Creating and increasing tourist attractions is the very first thing to do, otherwise this airport will be considered a failure and a waste of taxpayers’ money, if arrivals to this airport remains low and administrators are posting loss of revenues.

  • GustoKoHappyKa

    Sayang ang runway kung sisirain lang… gamitin na nga lang ng PAF..at least malapit lapit sa Panatag Shoal :P

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/EDB2CW643AV6DCQEWFJF6JK7BY Renski1970

    Yung Terminal ng SBIA, idesmantle, at dalhin sa ibang probinsiya na ang airport terminal eh.. panahon pa ni kupong kupong, Lalo sa may parteng western Visayas. Napakanda ng terminal ng SBIA lalo na ang BRIDGE nila. Parte partehan na ninyo at ire assemble sa nangangailangan kaysa mabulok lang sa SBIA at magastos pa sa pagmamantene.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FR7CAQ3S5UMXNGVXCY5FBS6B5I It's Time

      ‘i-dismantle’ hindi ‘idesmantle’ kakahiya kang mag-post mali pa spelling. pero may tama ka pre, dapat ilagay yan sa ibang airport. Kung sabagay di kailangan ng Clark yan at single storey lang naman ang airport dun. ouch!

      • rockinLeon

         May accent ang post in Renski…pati yung “kupong kupong” LOL

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/EDB2CW643AV6DCQEWFJF6JK7BY Renski1970

        Pre, huwag kang magmagaling..nagsasalita ako ng PILIPINO hindi TAGALOG. Ang mga nakasulat diyan ay tunay na PILIPINO.  Nakakahiya ka! Baka sabihin mo perpekto ka dahil TAGALOG ka! At pag didiinan mo na ang PILIPINO dapat TAGALOG? Mahiya ka! Mag pakaPILIPINO ka! Kasama ka rin rockinLeon.

  • http://www.facebook.com/wangad.onlee Wangad Onlee

     This is good strategic planning for PAF, making SBMA as a joint airbase between the pinas and us. naturally, the base commander is a pinoy and pinoy pride is still intact. maintenance wise, it will be a joint effort by pinas and us, with us perhaps spending the bigger datong. but because the base is a joint base and us assets need protection, i foresee that strict enforcement of rules for force protection and us procedures will apply and the pinoys will comply if they want improved protection of pinoy assets. pinas law still applies with sofa adherence. let us be realistic, kailangan natin ang us bilang isang kaibigang kuya para makatulong natin sa pagprotekta sa ating mahal na pinas sa mapagsamantalang intsik switik. hindi unpatriotic ang makianib sa kaibigan na makakatulong, mas unpatriotic ang walang gagawin kung alam mo naman na may practical options ka. math and economics lang yan, kulang ang pera at hindi pa economic giant ang pinas. ang kailangan natin ay ang liderato ng pinas ay ipaglaban ang interest ng pinas at hindi ang kanilang  pangsariling interest. pag joint base, joint interests din dapat ang iiral. walang diktahan at ang mangingibabaw ay ang interest ng pinas at hindi ng iilang politico. tuwid na daan lamang po.

  • RONNIE858

    nasa sabungan ba ako? nasa Derby?



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