TAGAYTAY RADAR SHUTDOWN TO AFFECT 700 FLIGHTS

MANILA, Philippines – More than 700 flights to and from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) will be affected when the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) shuts down its Tagaytay surveillance radar next month.

The radar, which covers 200 nautical miles of airspace, directs incoming flights from all over the world toward the NAIA’s radar located near runway 06-24.

Capt. Jim Sydiongco, CAAP director general, said the radar’s shutdown would pave the way for the overhaul of its antenna and replacement of its drive motor and rotary joints.

It will be closed for 12 hours or from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., starting on March 6 to 11.

“The closure will also be in preparation for the integration of the Tagaytay radar with the CNS/ATM, which will be fully operational by December this year,” Sydiongco told journalists yesterday.

Although the maintenance and upgrade would affect operations at NAIA, Sydiongco said the airport would be aided by two en-route radars – one in Cebu and the other in Laoag.

Normally, the NAIA terminal radar accepts control of aircraft based on the feed provided by the Tagaytay radar, which is crucial for safe landings on runway 06-24.

“We have met with the airline companies to announce the repair and upgrade and they are readjusting their schedules or upgrading passengers from, for example, an A320 to A330,” Sydiongco said.         

Surigao runway 

Sydiongco said the CAAP is studying whether it could temporarily open the Surigao runway after a 6.7-magnitude earthquake hit the city last week.

The earthquake damaged about 700 feet of the 1,700-foot runway.

The CAAP is asking the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology to assess the damage to the runway.

MANILA, Philippines – More than 700 flights to and from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) will be affected when the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) shuts down its Tagaytay surveillance radar next month.

The radar, which covers 200 nautical miles of airspace, directs incoming flights from all over the world toward the NAIA’s radar located near runway 06-24.

Capt. Jim Sydiongco, CAAP director general, said the radar’s shutdown would pave the way for the overhaul of its antenna and replacement of its drive motor and rotary joints.

It will be closed for 12 hours or from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., starting on March 6 to 11.

“The closure will also be in preparation for the integration of the Tagaytay radar with the CNS/ATM, which will be fully operational by December this year,” Sydiongco told journalists yesterday.

Although the maintenance and upgrade would affect operations at NAIA, Sydiongco said the airport would be aided by two en-route radars – one in Cebu and the other in Laoag.

Normally, the NAIA terminal radar accepts control of aircraft based on the feed provided by the Tagaytay radar, which is crucial for safe landings on runway 06-24.

“We have met with the airline companies to announce the repair and upgrade and they are readjusting their schedules or upgrading passengers from, for example, an A320 to A330,” Sydiongco said.         

Surigao runway 

Sydiongco said the CAAP is studying whether it could temporarily open the Surigao runway after a 6.7-magnitude earthquake hit the city last week.

The earthquake damaged about 700 feet of the 1,700-foot runway.

The CAAP is asking the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology to assess the damage to the runway.

(c) Rudy Santos

The Philippine Star

February 14, 2017

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SBMA TOP OFFICIALS SET MARKETING PUSH FOR JAPANESE INVESTMENTS

Top officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) are planning to go to Kobe in Japan this month to entice more Japanese companies to invest inside this premier freeport.  SBMA Administrator Wilma Eisma revealed this intention after the agency bagged a contract with Subic Smart Community Corp., a Japanese company that will upgrade the Subic Golf course.

Eisma, together with SBMA Chairman Martin Diño and Chief of Staff Rani Cruz, will talk to companies in Kobe. “Aside from talking to companies, we are also looking at the possibility of having junket flights from Japan to Subic,” she said.

She added that the upgrading of the Subic Golf Course will play an integral part of luring more junket tourists in the Freeport since they will have something to do during their stay here in the country.

“When we first envisioned the Subic Freeport during its initial stage, we were thinking of making this into a port city like Singapore. Aside from the usual port operations like cargo and bulk handling, we imagined Subic Freeport having casinos and regular flights from other countries,” she said.

The agency has approved a $30-million investment for the upgrade and the creation of a 2,000 residential units at the Subic Bay Golf course by Subic Smart Community Corp. According to founder Masafumi Miyamoto, the company will develop Subic Bay golf course into a world-class venue for tournaments and a housing facility for the elderly and retirees.

Smart Community, the first and largest continuing-care retirement community in Japan, will pay a fixed annual rental fee of $350,000 and a five-percent gross revenue share payable to the SBMA for a 50-year lease period aside from the $30-million development cost.

The two-pronged development project was presented to SBMA officials in December last year, and is touted as a potential major asset in the Subic Freeport. The first part is the $3-million renovation and redevelopment of the whole golf course within the span of two years.

The renovation will include the clubhouse, sprinkler systems and repair of ponds, improvement of the greens and the upgrade of machinery and equipment such as golf carts and service vehicles. Miyamoto said that the golf course would remain operation despite the renovation, leaving a minimum of nine holes open.

The second part of the development project is the $27-million expansion of all areas for the Subic Smart Community within a six-year period. This will include the construction of 200 residential units within the span of two years. Another 1,800 residential units will be added, including various amenities such as gym, sports center, arts and crafts studios, karaoke or music rooms, function rooms, library and bars and restaurants.

The plan to create residential areas is part of Miyamoto’s proposal for Japanese retirees after a market study that showed Japan’s elderly care businesses rose to a whopping $252-billion in 2015.

(c) Jonas Reyes

February 2, 2017, 3:59 PM

PHILIPPINES SEEN TO WEATHER TRUMP HEADWINDS

MANILA, Philippines –  The country’s trade and investment landscape can withstand the possibility of muted investments coming from American companies due to uncertainties over the policies of US President Donald Trump, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

“On investors and BPOs (business process outsourcing companies), I believe the investment attractiveness of the Philippines will continue to be here due to the quality of human resources and costs that we have,” Lopez told The STAR.

“And for manufacturers, the access to our huge market of 109 million Filipinos and to the 600-million ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) market (will continue to keep the investment attractiveness of the Philippines),” he said.

Both the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham) have reported cases of American companies which have expressed interest to expand but decided to hold off investments for now as they wait for clearer policies from Trump.

According to AmCham senior advisor John Forbes, the Philippines would see a slowdown in investments from American companies over the short term as Trump’s policies are unveiled.

PEZA director general Charito Plaza has also said that a number of American locators, especially BPOs, have decided to hold off expansion in the country.

US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, however, downplayed reports that American companies investment in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry in the Philippines would slowdown.

“I’m not terribly concerned that somehow we will see downtrend in the US engagement in the BPO industry here anytime soon,” Kim said during the Makati Business Club’s General Membership Meeting.

He said the Philippines has successful BPO operations and remains an attractive location for American BPO companies.

He said the country also has competitive wages.

In addition, there is very strong cultural affinity that drives US businesses to set up BPO operations in the Philippines instead of other countries.

“Regardless of what policies may come out in Washington, all of those big advantages or positive attractive factors that draw companies to the Philippines will not change,” Kim said.

For its part, the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) said that “amidst the positive outlook, the IT-BPM industry shares the concern of the national and local governments, industry regulators, legislators, the financial sector, and all other stakeholders regarding the future development of trade policies between the Philippines and the United States.”

“To-date, there has been no definitive word about how international trade policies will develop. During this time, the IT-BPM industry will continue to work with the national and local governments, industry regulators, legislators, the financial sector, and all other stakeholders to mitigate the possible shift in trade relations, and protect the Philippines’ leadership in the global outsourcing industry,” the IBPAP said.

Expected to pick up the slack in US investments, however, are investments coming from China and Japan.

In terms of trade, Lopez said the Philippines would continue to take advantage of its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) privilege with the US and also its GSP Plus status with the European Union.

(c) Richmond Mercurio

The Philippine Star

February 2, 2017 – 12:00am

SBMA EXEC SUED FOR APPOINTING WORKERS, ISSUING ORDERS AS OIC

An anticorruption group on Tuesday filed an administrative complaint in the Office of the Ombudsman against a top official of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) for allegedly performing duties outside his function as an officer in charge (OIC) administrator of the agency last year.

Carlo Batalla and Diego Magpantay, officials of the Citizens Crime Watch, said lawyer Randy Escolango, SBMA deputy administrator for legal affairs, issued 13 office orders on personnel designation and five memoranda on office policies from October to December. He also allegedly executed unspecified contracts and agreements on behalf of the SBMA.

The complaint said Escolango “neither had the legal right nor the authority to issue the subject office orders.”

“The OIC has no power to appoint unless the designation issued by the proper appointing authority includes expressly the power to issue appointment,” it said.

Sought for comment, Escolango said his authority was contained in a memorandum issued by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on Oct. 19 last year.

“I was mandated by the Office of the President to act as OIC administrator and I only did what I was tasked to do,” he said.

Medialdea, in the memorandum, said Escolango’s designation was “in the exigency of service” and would ensure “uninterrupted delivery of public service.”

“Had I not acted according to the duties of an OIC administrator, the day-to-day operations of SBMA would be hampered and this would have caused a huge negative impact on our investors and employees,” Escolango said.

Earlier, SBMA Chair Martin Diño questioned Escolango’s designation as OIC administrator after he challenged an executive order splitting the leadership of SBMA between the chair and the administrator.

Escolango reassumed his post as deputy administrator for legal affairs after President Duterte appointed lawyer Wilma Eisma as SBMA administrator in December

(c)Vince F. Nonato and Allan Macatuno

PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER

February 2, 2017

 

NEW SBMA CHIEF VOWS TO BOOST PORT SERVICES

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT: Newly-appointed Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) administrator and chief executive officer Wilma Eisma bared plans to use the agency’s P553 million budget to increase container traffic, improve equipment to get the airport running and intensify the port’s marketing campaign.

Eisma told SBMA employees following last week’s turnover of the SBMA post, “I came here alone with no entourage because I have each and every one of you who are experts in this place. Let us work together for a bigger, better, brighter Subic.”

She said strong work ethic, reasonable use of resources, honesty, transparency and following the law will be the foundations of her leadership and will serve as a commitment to what she described as “a standard each employee should adhere to professionalize SBMA services towards regaining and sustaining the confidence of investors.”

She reiterated that the biggest challenge to her leadership is to maximize the SBMA’s resources and its budget to get the port off and running to keep its present investors and attract new ones.

Eisma added the following priority measures: to target zero complaint by eliminating “red tape and waiting time” in the process of applying for business permits, registration and other necessary documents related to the business needs of investors; all these in compliance with President Duterte’s guidelines to issue all necessary permits, and other similar documents in three days or less.

Eisma also urged the SBMA Law Enforcement Department to make the Subic Freeport the safest place for locators, tourists and residents by intensifying its efforts to professionalize all security officers through trainings and refresher courses.

She called on the Ecology Center to spearhead clean and green initiatives in the Freeport such as serving tap water, instead of bottled water, during meetings; keeping the surroundings free of trash and imposing strict anti-littering laws.

She also said that policy reforms and good governance programs will be implemented and Republic Act 7227 will be amended, if necessary; programs for a drug-free work place will be intensified with zero tolerance policy on illegal drugs.

Eisma also cited the importance of professionalizing the ranks of SBMA personnel to bring the organization up to par with the modern world. She said meritocracy will be the norm where promotion and recognition will be based on capacity, on how an employee meets his or her objectives.

(c) Patrick Roxas

The Manila Times, January 27, 2017 Regions

THREE FOREIGN GROUPS ‘EXTREMELY INTERESTED’ IN SUBIC AIRPORT

The Subic Bay International Airport’s P2-billion redevelopment and upgrade into a major international gateway received proposals from three “extremely interested” companies, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority chairman Martin Diño said in a statement.

“Believe me, three companies wanted the project. We want the airport to be fully operational again, and to be at par with the best airports in Asia and the world,” Diño said.

SBIA boasts of a long runway fitted to handle long-haul wide-body jets and heavy air transport, but it has been mostly idle since mid-2009 when US-based logistics giant Federal Express closed down its Asia-Pacific transshipment hub.

Diño said three of the airport’s equipment valued at half a billion pesos could not be accounted for by the previous administration, which turned over the Freeport facility to Diño in September last year.

He said the new SBMA leadership was pushing ahead with the airport’s upgrade, “because we want to make the Subic International Airport operational anywhere from six months to one year.”

Diño, in a letter last month to Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, identified the three interested companies as AIA Airways, Intercontinental Pacific Airways and RIL International & Global Link Co., Ltd. 

AIA Airways wanted to build a $1.5-billion logistics center and transshipment hub for cargo airline operations, supported by a maintenance repair station and a world-class aviation institution in the tradition of the US Dallas Forth Worth. It is projected to generate 800 new jobs.

RIL International & Global Link Co. Ltd made a $1.5-billion proposal to lease, develop, upgrade, modernize and operate SBIA to include provisions for a modern airport terminal, hotels, theme parks and a sports complex.

Intercontinental Pacific Airways wanted a $48-million airlines operations center including maintenance, repair and overhaul operations. It is projected to employ 610 workers

Redeveloping the airport including modernizing its facilities and technical equipment is among the five priority projects of SBMA that Diño proposed to President Rodrigo Duterte to decongest land and air traffic and port congestion in Metro Manila.

The redevelopment would raise Subic airport’s facilities to international standards capable of handling thousands of passengers and all types of cargo, he said.

“It could serve as an inter-modal [airport-seaport] logistics hub and a strategic area for cruise destinations [mother ports], junket trips, VIP Jet services and other-related air travel,” Diño said.

Diño said his goal was to make the former US naval facility a major contributor to the nation’s economy by attracting more business locators and generating thousands of jobs.

He said new tourism and manufacturing investments could generate 100,000 new jobs and exports, including those from nearby economic free zones in Luzon, could increase to $43.35-billion a year.

“By enhancing Subic’s importance as a gateway, it could generate foreign direct investments estimated at $13.5-billion,” Diño said in a letter to Tugade.

Tugade also sought and gained the transport chief’s approval for the construction of a 100-km multi-modal elevated expressway and railway from Subic Port to the Port of Manila.

The other priority projects within the Freeport Zone include the building of major infrastructure that, Diño said, “will begin to shift the momentum of development north toward Subic and Clark.

Compared to other cities, the Subic-Clark corridor “is the only place that has a sustainable future” and its “full-blown expansion is the key” that would trigger an inflow of investments, he said.

Diño said the shift could be traced to President Duterte’s historic China pivot and an independent foreign policy, “inaugurating a new Philippine-China economic partnership and putting the Philippines in the mix of the world’s fastest-growing region.”

(c) Manila Standard Business

January 23, 2017 at 08:30 pm

http://thestandard.com.ph/business/227464/three-foreign-groups-extremely-interested-in-subic-airport.html

GORDON VOWS TO REVIVE SUBIC INT’L AIRPORT

 

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—With his protégée, Wilma Eisma, at the helm of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), Sen. Richard Gordon on Tuesday vowed to instigate reforms in the agency that he once headed, lamenting that the former American naval base had been neglected, especially its international airport.

“We will work very hard to restore the glory of Subic Bay,” Gordon said in a speech during the commemoration of the 100th birthday of his father, the late Mayor James Leonard Gordon Sr.

Newly appointed SBMA Administrator Eisma, the executive assistant to Gordon when the latter served as SBMA chair and administrator, said she shared the vision of Gordon to make the old Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) operational.

“We have to get the airport running. There’s no excuse. We have the money. We have to do it,” she said.

Gordon said he had proposed a P540-million appropriation for the rehabilitation of the SBIA, including the upgrading of vital equipment like radar and instrument landing system.

“It took us 29 weeks to put [a] foot of concrete on top of that airport so that FedEx (Federal Express) would come in. We borrowed money from the World Bank and we paid that debt,” he told the crowd.

Courier giant FedEx shut down its Asian hub here and relocated to China in 2009.

Gordon had said the government wasted the economic impact of the Subic and Clark airports as well as Subic’s sea port to generate opportunities in jobs and investments to Luzon by its failure to maximize these major infrastructure assets.

 

(c) ALLAN MACATUNO

Philippine Daily Inquirer / 12:30 AM January 21, 2017

RID SBMA OF CORRUPTION, FREE PORT EXEC TELLS FELLOW OFFICIALS

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT— Wilma Eisma, the newly appointed administrator of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), on Monday directed all officials of the agency to turn down favors offered by investors as she pushed to make it corruption-free.

 

“Stop dining with locators for free. All meetings should be done in SBMA offices and let’s serve tap water,” she told fellow officials during the flag-raising ceremony here.

Eisma, a lawyer, formally assumed her post, accepting the SBMA flag from her predecessor, Roberto Garcia.

Saying her leadership would be marked by “efficient and reasonable use of resources,” she asked SBMA officials and employees to protect the agency’s image from unethical practices.

“I know this is a small thing, especially for locators. But professionalism and accountability should be the norm. We should have strong work ethic,” she said.

Eisma, who serves as SBMA’s seventh administrator and chief executive officer, also announced that she would streamline business processing in this free port.

She attributed corruption to bureaucratic red tape that, she said, “destroys the integrity of SBMA.”

She asked Stefani Saño, SBMA senior deputy administrator for business and investment, to heed President Duterte’s directive and issue all permits and documents required by investors within three days.

“If we delay the release of a document, the conclusion is that somebody is still waiting or somebody is still asking [for something]. I’m not saying it’s happening but why would you allow other people to think that of you, especially if you’re not doing anything

,” she said.

Garcia agreed, saying, “red tape is something that we really should eliminate because this turns off investors.”

Eisma was appointed by Mr. Duterte on Dec. 21. She took her oath as SBMA administrator before Mr. Duterte in Malacañang on Jan. 9, along with new SBMA board members Benny Antiporda, Maria Cecilia Bobadilla Bitare, Tomas Lahom III and Saño.

Born and raised in Olongapo City, Eisma has over 23 years of experience in the legal profession in both government service and the private sector.

Before her appointment, she was the sustainability and contributions manager of Philip Morris and Fortune Tobacco Corp., the Philippine affiliate of Philip Morris International.

Eisma started her career as executive assistant to the chairman and member of the legal department of SBMA from 1993 to 1998. She represented SBMA in local courts and oversaw its housing department.

Eisma was also a member of the team that negotiated the assistance offered by the World Bank to SBMA, as well as the entry and investment of Federal Express and other international and local investors.

(c) Allan Macatuno

PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER

January 18, 2017

EISMA 1ST WOMAN ADMINISTRATOR AT SBMA

eisma

TURNOVER: Former SBMA head Roberto Garcia hands over the SBMA flag to Wilma Eisma symbolizing the turnover of his post to the lady lawyer.

MANILA, Philippines – Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) welcomed yesterday its first woman administrator and chief executive officer in lawyer Wilma Eisma.

Eisma assumed her post as the seventh administrator and CEO of SBMA.

She formally took her oath of office before President Duterte in Malacañang on Jan. 9 along with the new members of the SBMA board of directors.

As administrator and CEO, Eisma will also sit as vice chair of the SBMA board of directors.

Born and raised in Olongapo City, Eisma is a seasoned lawyer with over 23 years experience in both government service and the private sector.

Prior to her appointment, she was the sustainability and contributions manager of PMFTC Inc., the Philippine affiliate of Philip Morris International.

Before joining the private sector, she was in the public service as head executive assistant and legal counsel to the majority floor of the House of Representatives, and as chief of staff of the secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry from 2000 to 2001.

She started her career as the executive assistant to the chairman and member of the legal department during the time of SBMA’s formation and foundation from 1993 to 1998.

(c)

Richmond Mercurio

PHILIPPINE STAR

January 17, 2017

INVESTORS WELCOME END TO SBMA ROW

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.

“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

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 th e 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’

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

(c) Allan Macatuno

Philippine Daily Inquirer /12:20 AM January 13, 2017

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