Investments registered by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), operator of the country’s premier freeport zone Subic Freeport, dropped by almost half in 2017 to P3.63 billion from P6.7 1billion in 2016.

Data showed that new committed investments in 2017 in Subic Freeport reached only P2.54 billion or 60 percent lower than that P6.35 billion that came in 2016 despite the fact that more new projects were approved last year at 239 all as against only 144 in 2016.

The data further showed there were more expansion projects by existing Subic Freeport locators in 2017 in 2017, but not enough to turn the negative total inflows. There were 63 expansion projects committed in 2017 with combined investments of P1.09 billion or 203 percent higher compared to 37 expansion projects with combined investments of P0.36 million in 2016.

In terms of jobs generation, the new investment commitments are expected to generate 3,488 jobs once these projects are completed. The jobs figure was 9.82 percent lower than the 3,868 jobs in 2016.

The expansion projects, given their higher number, are also expected to generate 821 jobs or 57 percent higher than the 521 in 2016.

Despite the sharp drop in new investments, the Freeport reported a modest growth in revenues to P3.082 billion in 2017 or 4 percent more than the P2.954 billion in 2016 as most revenue sources posted positive. Leases contributed the biggest source of income at P1.527 billion or 6 percent more than the P1.446 billion in 2016 followed by port services with P961 million.

The freeport was able to post a commendable 38 percent growth in exports to $2.332 billion in 2017 from $1.69 billion in 2016. Imports also increased but at slower pace of 11 percent to $1.771 billion from $1.6 billion in 2016.

As of 2017, Subic Freeport employs a total of 128,200 workers or 14 percent higher than the 112,600 workers in 2016. The services sector employs the most with 70,650 followed by the shipbuilding and marine related services with 33,593. The manufacturing sector in the freeport also employs 15,303 and construction with 8,621 workers.

(c) Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat




SunRay Power Inc. (SPI), an affiliate of MRC Allied Inc., will develop an P8.5-billion solar project in New Clark City, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced on Tuesday.

It said that they had officially released the Solar Service Contract of SPI for the development of its 100-megawatt (MW) Clark solar project in Capas and Bamban in Tarlac province.

This will be developed in partnership with the state-owned firm Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA).

New Clark City, a 9,450-hectare flagship project by the BCDA, is envisioned to be the country’s first smart and green city with a mix of residential, commercial, agro-industrial, institutional and information technology developments.

The 100-MW Clark solar project will be constructed within a 256-ha property leased by SPI from BCDA.

SPI president and CEO Carlos P. Gatmaitan said the official release of the service contract was an important milestone for the 100-MW Clark solar project.

“We are excited to do this solar project in partnership with BCDA and we are looking at doing more projects with them as part of our long-term plans. The success of this project would be another proof that the private sector and the government can actually work hand in hand toward achieving a common goal—the creation of cleaner, greener, more sustainable communities,” he said.

SPI is an affiliate of listed company MRC Allied, which holds a diversified portfolio in property development and mining and is currently pursuing energy projects.

(c) Roy Stephen C. Canivel
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March 19, 2018

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—Despite a nationwide drop in foreign investment pledges last year, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) maintained a steady economic growth in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone and even performed strongly in key financial operations like income generation and job creation in 2017.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the Subic agency recorded more than P91 million in net income last year, which was 34 percent more than the P68 million it made in 2016.

Other than this, Eisma said the SBMA posted a total revenue of P3.08 billion in 2017, compared to the P2.95 billion it recorded in 2016, an increase of 4 percent; and logged P1.55 billion in operating income, an increase of 8 percent over the P1.44 billion in 2016.

At the same time, the SBMA’s cash and investments grew by 4 percent to P4.43 billion, compared to P4.24 billion in 2016, while its total debt went down by 5 percent from P6.55 billion in 2016 to P6.2 billion last year.

“These are indicators of robust financial health,” Eisma said during the State of the Freeport Address she delivered last Tuesday before the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber
of Commerce.

“If this is not success, then I don’t know what is,” she added.

Subic’s robust performance last year came amid an overall 51-percent decline in foreign investment pledges among the country’s investment promotion agencies, which include the SBMA, the Board of Investments, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, the Clark Development Corp., the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan, BOI-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Cagayan Economic Zone Authority.

The Philippine Statistics Authority said the seven investment agencies only approved a total of P105.6 billion in new investments last year, compared to P219 billion in 2016.

Eisma said the SBMA managed to soften the effects of the investment downturn by signing in 239 new investors last year, compared to just 144 in 2016. Thus, while committed investments in Subic went down to P2.54 billion in 2017 from P6.35 billion in 2016, projected employment still grew to 3,488 from 3,868 in 2016, or a slight dip of less than 10 percent.

Eisma also pointed out that existing business locators in Subic put up 63 expansion projects last year, compared to 37 in 2016, thus generating an additional P1.09 billion in committed investments.

Overall, Eisma said the SBMA earned a total of P3.08 billion in revenues from seven sources: leases, which yielded P1.52 billion; port services, P961 million; regulatory fees, P338 million; common-use service area fees, P103 million; tourism, P16 million; environmental and tourism admission fee, P10, million; and other revenue sources, P126 million.

She said the Subic agency was just as successful in its major thrust of job creation, as it facilitated the entry of 15,500 workers into Subic’s active workforce last year, thus, increasing the manpower count here by 14 percent, or from 112,600 workers in 2016 to 128,100 in 2017.

Eisma also said with the increasing number of ship calls in Subic, the SBMA recorded a total port revenue of P1.2 billion, which was 6 percent higher than the P1.13 billion recorded in 2016.

The Port of Subic also reported $2.3 billion in total export-trade value and $1.7 billion in import- trade value last year, an increase of 38 percent and 11 percent, respectively, over 2016 figures.

With these positive financial inputs, Eisma said the SBMA contributed a total of P19.6 billion to the national economy in 2017, an amount that was 14 percent higher than the total contributions in 2016.

These included P16.8 billion in cash collections by the Bureau of Customs, which increased by 11 percent over the 2016 figures; P2.2 billion in taxes collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue, an increase of 0.8 percent; P92 billion in dividends, or a whopping increase of 533 percent; and P0.3 billion in shares to local government units, or an 18-percent increase.

(c) Henry Empeño


Redondo Peninsula (RP) Energy Inc.—an affiliate of both the MVP and Aboitiz groups—has canceled a P46.3-billon order for two coal-fired generators from a South Korean contractor, citing the continued delay of regulatory action on related supply contracts and tariffs.

Doosan Co. Ltd. last week informed the Korea Exchange that its subsidiary, Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction Co. Ltd., received from RP Energy a letter of contract termination on March 13.

Based in Seoul, the Doosan group is engaged in infrastructure support businesses ranging from power generation, desalination and engines as well as consumer and service businesses.

Doosan said in its regulatory filing the contract with RP Energy —valued at 952.3 billion Korean won or about $891 million—was canceled because “the NTP (notice to proceed) for this project was not issued until Dec. 31, 2017, due to delayed tariff approval for the project by the Philippine Energy Regulatory Commission.”

According to the Korean firm, Doosan Heavy and RP Energy were “in negotiations for the resumption of the project” despite the latter having served notice of the contract’s termination.

When asked for comment, RP Energy declined to give any, citing the sensitive nature of ongoing talks with the Doosan group.

First announced in October 2016, the engineering, procurement and construction contract covered two 300-megawatt generators that use CFB (circulating fluidized bed) technology.

RP Energy is a partnership among Meralco, Aboitiz Power Corp., and Taiwan Cogeneration Corp. through their respective subsidiaries Meralco PowerGen Corp., Therma Power Inc. and Taiwan Cogeneration International Corp.

On Feb. 26, Meralco president and chief executive Oscar S. Reyes reiterated that a power supply agreement (PSA) between RP Energy and the distribution giant—covering 225 MW of the Redondo facility’s 300-MW Unit 1 —was submitted for action at the ERC in April 2016.

Reyes said public hearings, a technical working group review and assessment of the PSA, the tariff and other related processes were “essentially completed at the end of April 2017.”

RP Energy has also signed with Aboitiz Energy Solutions Inc. a separate PSA for the Redondo Unit 1’s remaining 75 MW of capacity.

The RP Energy PSAs were among several PSAs that involved Meralco and were still pending with the ERC, which has recently just emerged from paralysis caused by an order from the Office of the Ombudsman for the suspension of four ERC commissioners. The Court of Appeals issued last February a 60-day temporary restraining order against the Ombudsman’s decision.

“Their (PSAs’) approval with urgency is needed, even as the passage of time since their filing in 2016 has already caused significant increases in the (EPC) costs and financing costs of these new power plants,” Reyes said.

“These PSAs are required to be in place by their target commercial operations date to ensure adequate, efficient and reliable power supply and to thereby avert the risk of power outages that will be damaging to the economy, businesses and industries, and households,” he added.

(c) Ronnel W. Domingo
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There is probably nothing more vexing than to be called to an endless, pointless meeting. For many of us, not only is it a waste of time, but also a demotivating endeavor.

Fortunately, there are ways to ensure that meetings are productive and relatively brief. We asked Pia Reyes-Cruz, an advocate of teaching tools for productivity, to share some tips on exactly how we can achieve this:

  1. Specify an end time to your meetings and abide by it.

This sounds very basic, but still, it happens all the time: Open-ended meetings that can drag on and on for hours. It also happens a lot that even when an end time is given (probably just because it’s required in electronic meeting invitations), it is not honored. Indicating a time by which meetings should end and mentioning this beforehand subconsciously creates a sense of urgency in the participants to move the meeting forward. Giving the breakdown of the number of minutes allotted for each agenda item will further reinforce this. Keeping your meetings concise and ending at the target time consistently will create a culture wherein meetings are focused and taken more seriously.

  1. Invite only the truly necessary meeting participants.

Do not invite those who merely sit through the meeting and listen in (spare them and just give them a copy of the minutes). Instead, invite the critical few who will truly add value to your meeting and move your business or project forward—the input providers, the decision-makers, the project owners, etc. Ensure that all participants have an active role in the meeting and that they know this.

Be wary when participants are sent as representatives or proxies of the original invitees as they may not have the needed information or authority to make decisions or calls on behalf of those they are representing. They may even slow down the creation of action points.

  1. Go the extra mile in your meeting preparations.

Do not stop at making an agenda and sending these to the participants beforehand. There are several things you can do to ensure things get rolling during your meeting and your objectives are met quickly.

Make a list of questions you anticipate and throw them out to the concerned individuals before the meeting. If some decisions will be made, determine beforehand the decision-making process you will employ: Will you have a poll and the majority wins? Will you proceed when there is a unanimous vote, or only the boss or leader decides? If you intend to have some people make presentations, inform them of the number of minutes you will give them and the key points you are expecting, so they do not go on forever. A few companies even go as far as requiring all presentations be given to participants 24 hours before and expect everyone to have read them upon entering the meeting room. These little techniques will go a long way in making your meetings productive.

Pia will conduct a course entitled “Leading Effective Meetings: Optimizing your Time and Resources” on April 24. The course will teach participants techniques to prepare and run a productive meeting, how to manage different characters in a meeting, and how to create norms in establishing a productive meeting culture.

The Inquirer Academy is located at 4168 Don Chino Roces Ave. corner Ponte St., Makati City. For more information about the workshops or if you would like to add your input to this article, you may e-mail, call (632) 834-1557 or 771-2715 and look for Jerald Miguel or Judy Bondoc, or visit the website at

(c) Glenn San Luis

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SBMA Sees Huge Tourism ROI from 2018 Ad Summit

March 1, 2018

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—Prestige and profit are expected to make the upcoming Ad Summit Pilipinas 2018 here a very welcome event for the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and tourism establishments in this free port.

According to SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma, the host Subic agency expects to reap a huge tourism return on investment (ROI) when the country’s biggest advertising and marketing event unfolds from March 7 to 10 at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center (SBECC).

Eisma said the SBMA would receive some P8.7 million in direct and indirect benefits from hosting the four-day convention.

“This will be on top of the income to be made by business establishments in the free port, as well as accredited suppliers during the event. So, the actual ROI is quite huge, overall,” she stated.

Eisma said it is the hotels, restaurants and theme parks that would benefit most from the forthcoming event in Subic, but that, in general, Subic would be the biggest winner in terms of promotion and media exposure.

According to the SBMA Tourism Department, the Association of Accredited Advertising Agencies, which organizes Ad Summit, has committed around P7 million in media mileage to the SBMA for the upcoming event.

These include press releases and feature articles in print and online media; posters, flyers and banners for marketing and promotion; official television commercial and radio plugs; as well as exposure on social media.

Eisma said this “is the best ROI that we get out of this event.”

Organizers, she added, would also have to pay the SBMA close to P1.2 million in SBECC utility fees and ad permits.

Meanwhile, the Subic agency would also earn an estimated P450,000 from the environment and tourism administrative fee charged by local hotels on their guests, and around P60,000 in Etaf from theme parks in the free port.

SBMA Tourism Department head Jem Camba said that some delegates to the summit bring along family members, who would visit parks and resorts in Subic and patronize local restaurants and shops in the Subic Bay and Olongapo City area.

Camba said organizers are charging each delegate P19,000 for Ad Summit inclusions like entrance to plenary sessions and talks, officially sponsored meals, shuttle service within the summit venues and admission to the awards night, parties and special events.

“However, this fee won’t cover hotel accommodation and breakfast, so this is where local businesses would earn from,” she explained.

It will be the third time that Subic will be hosting Ad Summit Pilipinas since the biennial advertising and marketing convention debuted here in May 2014. The upcoming event is themed “DIY Your ROI,” as the advertising industry takes a closer look at the various impacts of creative work, organizers said.

Ad Summit Pilipinas 2018 overall chair Norman Agatep  said the Ad Summit will be a jampacked event, as they assembled a panel of speakers who will focus on new paradigms and innovative creative solutions to effect financial, as well as social, impact.

Another expected crowd-drawer during the convention is the Kidlat Awards to be presented by the  Creative Guild, which is touted to be the country’s most prestigious creative advertising competition.

(c) Henry Empeño