SBMA execs say port deal in Subic now a go
SUBIC FREEPORT—The joint venture agreement between the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and Harbour Centre Port Terminal Inc. (HCPTI) to develop and maintain ports and wharves in Subic will push through on the strength of an opinion by the Office of the Government Corporate Counsel (OGCC), according to SBMA officials.
In a legal opinion, the OGCC concluded that the joint venture agreement between SBMA and HCPTI covering the Naval Supply Depot, Boton, Alava, Rivera and Bravo wharves and ports was above board.
Philip Camara, SBMA director, said the venture was approved by the previous SBMA board, which was composed of directors appointed by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“Upon the foregoing, it is the considered view of this office that the JVA (Joint Venture Agreement) was signed in compliance with the JV (Joint Venture) guidelines and is consistent with the joint venture principles,” said Government Corporate Counsel Raoul Creencia. The OGCC approval was necessary to enforce the venture deal.
In 2009, HCPTI sent SBMA an unsolicited proposal to develop and operate wharves and ports at the Subic freeport. In February 2010, the SBMA board approved and signed the venture agreement on condition that it would be subjected to a bidding in accordance with the joint venture guidelines.
However, no group submitted a bid that would match or surpass the HCPTI proposal, compelling the SBMA to proceed with the venture provided it was approved by OGCC.
Under that agreement, Harbour Centre will develop
SBMA’s Naval Supply Depot (NSD), a logistics center in this freeport where the US Navy used to store its supplies.
The joint venture deal would also give Harbour Centre the right to develop other areas in Subic, such as Boton, Alava, Rivera and Bravo ports. It also pledged some P6 billion worth of investments for the NSD project.
Tender documents state that P3 billion of this obligation would be spent on the improvement of the NSD area, while the remaining amount would be used to buy equipment.
HCPTI chair Reghis Romero II and HCPTI CEO Michael Romero signed the agreement in February 2010. The venture deal would last for 25 years, during which HCPTI guarantees SBMA a minimum of $500,000 a year.
The project would also require HCPTI to build warehouses, cold storage facilities, a food terminal and an oil depot inside the 17-hectare NSD area, making it a multipurpose terminal that can handle various types of cargo. Robert Gonzaga, Inquirer Central Luzon