SBMA eyes land in Zambales, Bataan towns for free port expansion
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is eyeing more than 21,000 hectares in the free port’s nearby communities for its expansion, according to SBMA Chair and Administrator Wilma Eisma.
In her recent State of the Freeport Address (Sofa), Eisma said the initial expansion proposals are areas in several towns of Zambales and Bataan provinces that will host resorts as well as leisure, tourism and warehousing facilities.
“Part of our priority agenda is working with our local governments for our free port expansion,” she said.
In San Marcelino town in Zambales, about 40 kilometers from this free port, 10,000 ha of land are being reserved by the local government for mining, quarry and agriculture.
In 2013, a 9,000-ha area in San Antonio town, also in Zambales, is now referred to as the San Antonio Economic Development Area. It was turned over to SBMA through a municipal council resolution and would accommodate investors in the resort and leisure trade.
Other areas for expansion are a 500-ha property in Castillejos town and a 600-ha lot in Subic town, both in Zambales, a 900-ha land in Hermosa town in Bataan and 900 ha of land in Olongapo City.
“That expansion is a long time coming and we need to make it happen,” Eisma said. “This is something that has never happened for a very long time and I’d like to take this opportunity to move that forward.”
SBMA remits annual revenue shares to eight local governments which are adjacent to this free port to help finance development projects in health, education, peace and order, and livelihood “so that the contiguous communities can keep pace with developments in the Subic Bay Freeport and Special Economic Zone,” she said.
Last month, the SBMA released P147 million representing revenue shares to these local governments for the second half of 2017. The amount was 6.96 percent lower than the P150.46 million distributed for the same period last year.
Based on SBMA records, Olongapo City received P34.35 million, followed by Subic town, which got P22.46 million, and Dinalupihan town in Bataan, with P18.32 million.
Other Zambales towns that received shares were Castillejos, with P13.69 million; San Marcelino, P17.66 million; and San Antonio, P12.65 million.
The towns of Morong and Hermosa in Bataan received P12.79 million and P15.31 million, respectively.
She urged the surrounding communities to help SBMA develop estates in their areas and to start planning for the extension of the free port’s fenced-in areas because “SBMA is already running out of space to meet the space requirement of new and bigger investors.”