SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) vowed to continue instituting good governance measures and policy reforms to build a better business climate in this premier free port in consonance with national government efforts to keep the Philippines number one among the best countries to invest in.
SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said that aside from stressing the need for a consistent implementation of laws and policies governing investors in the Subic Bay Freeport, the agency is streamlining its permitting system in anticipation of greater investment yields here.
“Our primary thrust now is to improve our business processes because we want to be responsive to the needs of our locators,” said Eisma.
“We have just established a One Stop Shop where business processes are fully automated, and next month we will put into effect the 3-year validity for both the Certificate of Registration (CR) and the Certificate of Registration and Tax Exemption (CRTE), which previously had to be renewed annually,” she added.
She also said that her office has taken over the approval and release of CRTEs to further speed up the issuance of this important business document.
Eisma said the drive for a more investor-friendly climate in Subic is in keeping with President Duterte’s orders for transparency and good governance.
As a result of these initiatives, business processing time has been greatly reduced as of last year by 17% for admission permits, by 22% for declaration of admission, and by 83% for export declaration.
At the same time, the SBMA waived the $200 accreditation fee for all port-related businesses from October to December last year 2017, as part of its open-window access initiative. The same offer has been revived effective April to December this year to entice more businesses at the Port of Subic.
“We have made life easier for our locators, and we continue to strive towards this goal,” Eisma said, pointing out that the SBMA Board of Directors had already approved the reduction of documentary requirements for issuance of business registration, and, at the same time, allowed the off-site processing of SBMA ID’s to better serve investor needs.
She added that the SBMA “is working towards continuous improvement of its system, and we will implement necessary changes as long as they would not be disadvantageous to the SBMA and the government.”
At the same time, the SBMA chief clarified that the Subic agency would be strictly implementing existing policies that are meant to promote productivity and opportunity for all stakeholders in the Subic Bay Freeport.
Eisma said that along this line, the SBMA has already repossessed SBMA facilities that some business locators have left idle and unimproved, revoked the lease and development contract of investors that failed to meet their obligations, and implemented a stringent policy to collect SBMA receivables, as approved by the Board of Directors.
“There may have been some laxity in the past, but change has come, and the SBMA now strives to manage Subic with transparency, impartiality, and consistency,” Eisma stressed. “These, we believe, will bring about better business, economic sustainability, and equal opportunity for all — the very reason why the Subic Bay Freeport was created.”