Duterte’s men wage turf war in Subic
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chair Martin Diño said he would ask the Office of the President to clarify the designation of lawyer Randy Escolango as the agency’s acting administrator.
Diño said he assumed the duties of the SBMA administrator after he was appointed SBMA chair by President Duterte last month.
“I will verify the document [with the Office of the President]. The document should have a bar code and a protocol should be followed,” Diño said at a press briefing here on Monday.
He was referring to the memorandum issued by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Oct. 19, designating Escolango as acting administrator.
Medialdea said Escolango’s designation was “in the exigency of service” and would ensure “uninterrupted delivery of public service” in the SBMA.
Diño said he would serve as SBMA administrator until Malacañang addressed his queries about Escolango’s appointment.
“I’m willing to talk with him [Escolango]. We need to communicate with each other. My primary concern now is to address the problems of the agency such as the [notice of] disallowance from the COA (Commission on Audit) concerning previous SBMA administrations,” Diño said.
Escolango’s designation came after the Office of the President on Oct.19 accepted the resignation of former SBMA Chair Roberto Garcia, who served as administrator on a holdover capacity.
With his designation, Escolango would also serve as SBMA chief executive officer.
Escolango said documents and letters requiring the signature of the SBMA administrator had piled up since the position had been left vacant.
“There was an urgent need to designate an OIC administrator for the continuation of business operations that have been briefly interrupted due to leadership transition,” said Escolango, who also serves as SBMA deputy administrator for legal affairs.
He said he and Diño should work together to continue making the free port an important investment hub in the region.
“SBMA has P3.8 billion cash in bank and I will ensure that this fund will be used to improve the agency’s services and further improve the airport and seaport,” he added.
Rose Baldeo, president of Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce (SBFCC), said Escolango’s appointment would prevent delays in addressing applications of business registrations and the renewal of permits and licenses with the SBMA.
“The SBFCC is always supportive of the SBMA chairman [and] administrator as long they continue to promote and strengthen the business environment in the free port,” Baldeo told the Inquirer in a text message.
Baldeo said the business community in the free port is expecting the new SBMA leaders to come up with “sound and balanced policies.”
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