Investors welcome end to SBMA row | Inquirer News
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Investors welcome end to SBMA row

/ 12:20 AM January 13, 2017

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—A group of businessmen operating inside this free port said the appointment of a Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) administrator would steer the agency back on track after months of leadership bickering.

Rose Baldeo, president of the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce (SBFCC), said the group welcomed the official appointment of lawyer Wilma Eisma as this would allow investors to start the year smoothly.

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“The chamber is very hopeful that the official appointment of Eisma will finally put closure to issues surrounding the powers and duties of SBMA chair and administrator,” Baldeo said in a recent text message.

Power struggle

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President Duterte appointed Eisma to the post amid a power struggle between SBMA Chair Martin Diño and Acting Administrator Randy Escolango.

Diño refused to recognize Escolango’s designation and had challenged the validity of an executive order splitting SBMA’s leadership between the chair and the administrator.

“For Subic locators and investors, finally we can start the year 2017 smoothly and business will go on as usual,” Baldeo said.

She said SBFCC was looking forward to a formal meeting with Eisma.

Escolango also welcomed Eisma’s appointment, saying he would throw his support behind the new SBMA head.

“Her success as SBMA administrator will be our success. Let’s unite, for the sake of SBMA, the stakeholders and the country,” Escolango said in a letter to SBMA employees and officials.

 ‘Avert disaster’

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He said his designation as acting administrator was made by Malacañang to “avert an impending disaster” in the agency. He did not elaborate.

“The stint may be short, but believe me, it was the longest short period I ever experienced. And it’s all worth it,” he said.

Before her appointment, Eisma served as manager of the local regulatory affairs and community relations division of Philip Morris Philippines Manufacturing Inc.

A native of Olongapo City, Eisma was one of the first volunteers here when now Sen. Richard Gordon served as SBMA chair and administrator. —ALLAN MACATUNO

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TAGS: free port, Rodrigo Duterte, Rose Baldeo, SBMA, Subic, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority
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