Latest Stories

Court suspends service fee issued to Subic port locators


SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—A judge has ordered the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) to suspend the collection of a controversial fee meant to recover its expenses for services, such as street cleaning, street lighting, fire fighting and law enforcement inside the economic zone.

Judge Richard Paradeza of the Olongapo regional trial court issued a writ of preliminary injunction last month against the SBMA in favor of a group of Japanese locators and other firms that filed a similar suit.

Under the Common Use Service Area (Cusa) fee scheme, the SBMA will collect from locators 2 percent of the appraised values of their lands. The amount, however, should not exceed 20 percent of the monthly rental.

In his decision, Paradeza cited the testimony of Ichiro Tsuji, general manager of Subic Techno Park, who said the fee was a “revenue-raising mechanism in the nature of a tax that cannot be imposed by the respondent (SBMA) under Republic Act No. 7227 (Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992).”

Subic Techno Park is a direct lessee of a 55-hectare property inside the free port, where Japanese firms operate.

Tsuji said: “The penalties for the nonpayment of Cusa fee are excessive, oppressive and confiscatory as the penalty… on the third month is already cancellation of the certificate of registration and tax exemption.”

Lawyer Ramon Agregado, SBMA senior deputy administrator, said locators should pay up considering that the SBMA has been operating at a net loss.

Agregado said the SBMA has been “subsidizing in full almost all municipal services that benefit its locators and residents in addition to independently servicing all of SBMA’s foreign loan obligations that were obtained to finance needed infrastructure projects at [the free port] during its initial years.”

He said locators should also pay the Cusa fee “due to the unfortunate outlook that the SBMA will be unable to sustain its operations if it continues to subsidize the full cost of almost all municipal services.”

The Cusa fee collection was based on Section 13 (b) of RA 7227, and Section 10 (c) and (k) of the law’s implementing rules and regulations, where the imposition of fees, like garbage collection and road user’s fees, is based, he said.

SBMA Chair Roberto Garcia said it was the right of the locators to seek remedy from the courts. “That’s their right, of course,” he said.

But Paradeza, in granting relief to another locator, Philippine Coastal Storage and Pipeline Corp., said the rights and obligations of the parties are defined in the lease agreements.

“[The SBMA] is obliged to maintain the lessee in the peaceful and adequate enjoyment of the lease for the entire duration of the contract,” he said.

On Oct. 25, the judge issued a temporary restraining order against the SBMA for the Cusa fee implementation. After hearings on Nov. 6 and 12 and after receiving the position papers of all parties in the case, he issued the writ of preliminary injunction in the last week of November.

Paradeza said the imposition of the fee requires relief because “the unilateral imposition of the policy on the Cusa fee by [the SBMA on Subic locators] may amount to a material and substantive invasion of [their] rights under its lease agreements with [the SBMA].”

He, however, did not rule on the legality of the fee’s imposition.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: News , Regions , Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  2. Save the queen? Aide takes fall for Enrile, Gigi Reyes
  3. Palace prepared to charge its allies
  4. Senator’s kickback from pork bigger than those of Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – Lacson
  5. Napoles turnaround alarms whistle-blowers
  6. What Went Before: Malacañang allies alleged involvement in pork scam
  7. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  8. Timeline: Napoles tell-all
  9. HK apology: Why Estrada and not Aquino?
  10. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  3. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  4. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  8. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  9. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima


  • Nepal officials go to Everest to try to end crisis
  • Escudero ready to defend self should name appear in Napoles’ list
  • Obama calls for peaceful end to island dispute
  • Russia not abiding by agreement on Ukraine—Obama
  • Magnitude 6.7 quake off British Columbia coast
  • Sports

  • Promoters Dela Hoya, Arum in talks for Pacquiao-Alvarez—report
  • Benzema guides Madrid to 1-0 win over Bayern
  • Suns’ Goran Dragic win NBA’s Most Improved Player award
  • Heat go up 2-0, hold off Bobcats 101-97
  • Ronaldo shakes off injury fears to play Bayern
  • Lifestyle

  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • 12th Philippine Food Expo set at the World Trade Center
  • No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  • The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  • Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  • Entertainment

  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • Business

  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Cost-recovery provisions for affected gencos urged
  • This time, BIR goes after florists
  • Technology

  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • PH-HK relations repaired, but families of victims still being courted
  • Filipinos in Middle East urged to get clearance before returning
  • PH seeks ‘clearer assurance’ from US
  • China and rivals sign naval pact to ease maritime tensions
  • What Went Before: Manila bus hostage crisis
  • Marketplace