Marine animals in peril as Subic park management row escalates
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—Marine animals in Ocean Adventure here may be put in peril as the leadership row escalated between the two warring groups of officials of the theme park.
A change in management also sparked confusion among theme park employees, prompting officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) to step in.
Gail Laure, founder of Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium Inc. (SBMEI), said majority of its shareholders have elected Scott Sharpe as chair and president of the company. Sharpe is one of the founding owners of SBMEI, which operates the theme park.
Arthur Tai, former chief executive officer of the company, was removed from his management position allegedly due to breach of trust and loss of confidence.
Laure said a local court ruling had affirmed the revocation of the voting trust agreement that was given to Tai which resulted in his removal as a company officer.
Laure said about 20 troopers of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force provided security when they took over the management of the theme park on Feb. 14.
Tai’s group claimed that the takeover was done violently. Laure denied this.
Laure said she would look into reports that some marine animals in the theme park had been neglected by the previous management.
“Our priority now is the safety of the marine animals. We’re going to give these animals our maximum care while we’re trying to stabilize the situation,” Laure said at a press briefing last week.
“With the change in leadership at SBMEI, the founding owners and shareholders led by Mr. Sharpe aim to restore the company’s focus on being a world-class, open-water marine attraction and destination resort and to serve as a catalyst for economic development and tourism for the Subic free port,” she said.
In a statement, SBMA administrator Wilma Eisma said she ordered SBMEI to explain why the management takeover took place.
“While the SBMA has no intention to involve itself in intracorporate disputes, we will act accordingly when peace and order and the rule of law in the free port are being challenged, and the safety and welfare of free port employees and personnel are put in danger,” Eisma said.
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