July 5, 2018

CAPAS, TARLAC—The government plans to start passenger operations for the Subic Bay International Airport by the first half of next year, Transport Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said Wednesday.

“We’re closely looking at making the Subic airport operational again,” Tugade said during the economic managers’ press briefing on the “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program at the site of the soon-to-rise National Government Administrative Center in New Clark City.

The revival of the airport at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone will complement development at the Clark Freeport Zone, as these two economic zones will be connected by a railway, Tugade said.

The transport chief said the planned reopening of the airport was in response to the request of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, the investment promotion agency that administers the free port.

To recall, the airport was abandoned by courier FedEx in 2009 after it relocated its Asian hub to China.

Tugade said the airport’s structure was still sound, but in terms of aviation safety standards, new airport equipment had to be acquired.

The Department of Transportation-attached Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines will fund the provision of navigation equipment, he said.

Operations will start by the first or second quarters of 2019, Tugade said.

Later asked by the Inquirer if the airport would cater to commercial or passenger operations, he said it would serve air passengers.

Last year, the SBMA said the upgrade of the equipment of Subic Bay International Airport would cost about $40 million.—Ben O. De Vera
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Updated July 3, 2018, 8:11 AM

Subic Bay Freeport is getting additional 24,725 hectares, majority of which come from neighboring towns, to expand the former American naval base which has been running out of space it can offer to new investors and expanding existing locators.

Of this expansion area, five neighboring towns have initially allotted a total of 21,495 hectares of land to the Subic Bay Freeport, which has been running out of property to lease to more investors in the former American naval base.

Data showed that six local government units have initially allotted these properties for Subic expansion. The biggest lot contributor is San Marcelino with 10,000-hectare allocation followed by San Antonio with 9,000, Olongapo with 900 hectares, Subic with 500-600 hectares, Hermosa 505 hectares, and Castillejos with 500 hectares.

Usually, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) leases out properties to investors at certain rates. Under the plan, the San Marcelino lot would be used for mining, quarry and agriculture projects while San Antonio has been reserved for resort development and leisure industry.

The Olongapo LGU allocation would be used for housing, light industry and tourism projects while the 500-600 hectares in Subic could be offered for factories, agriculture and energy facilities.

Hermosa may be developed to house light to heavy industry, renewable energy, metal industry and staging of trucks auctions. The Castillejos land allocation can also be used for light to medium industry warehousing.

The remaining properties would come from the Redondo Peninsula with 3,000 hectares; infill development of 150 hectares and reclamation of 20 hectares.

Earlier, SBMA chairperson and administrator, Wilma Eisma, also inked strategic tie-ups with major US ports for Subic’s expansion and business plans this 2018.

Port expansion is seen as a priority by SBMA in order to make Subic a global maritime trade player. In response to the growing demands of international trade, the SBMA plans to improve local infrastructures and develop industrial zones while increasing port capacity through national funding.

SBMA has set a target to fully develop the Subic Bay Freeport Zone by 2022. “Our priority is to make Subic a more open and competitive Freeport in international trade. With additional investment prospects in the works, Subic Bay is moving forward with positive momentum,” said Eisma.

SBMA reported a 34 percent net income in 2017 to P91 million from P68 million in 2016. Total revenues reached P3 billion or 4 percent higher than 2016’s P2.95 billion.

(c) Bernie Cahiles –Magkilat




June 29, 2018

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT: An investment and development group based here recently hosted some 150 investors from different countries in Asia to explore investment opportunities and be part of this rapidly growing economic and investment hub.

Samuel Lim, group chairman of Sinosun Subic Bay Holdings Corp.; Stefani Saño, senior deputy administrator of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA); and Olongapo City Mayor Rolen Paulino welcomed the investors from China, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and other countries who attended the Subic Bay Development and Investment Conference on Tuesday.

Lim told The Manila Times that the objective of the conference is to bring global investments to the Philippines and that Sinosun and its partners chose Subic Bay because “it is a freeport and a special economic zone and the most successful military base conversion.”

Sinosun, according to its website, plans to transform Subic Bay into a sustainable and well-rounded green, safe and smart city where there will be a balance between modernization and conservation of not only the environment but also its rich arts and culture.

It will showcase Subic Bay as a model city for development that can be replicated and applied to other regions of the Philippines targeting significant long-term growth in promoting infrastructural and economic development.

Lim said Sinosun and its partners, which include China State Construction, China Railway Construction, China Engineering Corp. China Hualu Group and China Overseas Holdings Group, as well as those involved in communication satellites, communication solutions and aerospace, are committed to employment creation in Subic Bay and beyond.

He also told visiting business delegations that Subic Bay is a separate territory within the Philippines where there is free flow of goods and services.

Sinosun’s plans involve the development of an industrial zone, a Subic Bay multi- functional transshipment port, a logistics center, a wind farm, a hydro electric power plant, a photo voltaic power station, coastal resorts and a five-star hotel and casino, all in the Redondo Peninsula.

In the existing central business district, Lim said there is also a plan to develop a ferry and cruise ship terminal, Subic Bay villas and resorts and a financial technology institute.

In the city of Olongapo, the group also plans to develop the Olongapo City Public Market and the Kalaklan Ridge.




June 26, 2018

Taiwan targets more than 300,000 Filipino tourists to visit this year, owing to the visa-free policy that has been in place since late 2017, a top official of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) said.

Alfred Y. H. Wang, Teco director under its economic division, said the number of tourists in the last quarter of last year almost doubled compared to the same three-month period in 2016.

Amid improving relations between the Philippines and China, Taiwan started offering visa-free treatment to Filipino tourists in November last year. This allowed Filipino tourists to travel to Taiwan for 14 days at a time.

According to official data from Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau, Filipino tourist arrivals increased by 68.59 percent to 290,784 last year from 172,475 in 2016.

The last quarter of 2017 alone saw an increase of about 70 percent to 90,000 Filipino tourists from 52,000 to 53,000 tourists in the comparative period in 2016, Wang said, who said it was due in part to the visa-free policy.

He noted that Taiwan intends to get 90,000 tourists for each quarter of 2018, hitting around 360,000 Filipino tourist arrivals.

However, the visa-free treatment, which only covers a 9-month trial period, is scheduled to end on July 31 this year, according to Teco’s official website.

“We try to negotiate with the Meco [Manila Economic and Cultural Office]. So, hopefully, it will still extend because this measurement can make filipinos know more about Taiwan,” he said.

(c) Roy Stephen C. Canivel
Read more: http://business.inquirer.net/253016/taiwan-seeks-least-300000-filipino-tourists-2018#ixzz5JU1feauA
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June 25, 2018

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—Grab, Southeast Asia’s leading Internet-based ride-hailing and booking company, is receiving positive feedback for its plan to expand operations into the Subic Bay Freeport.

Grab Philippines Head for Expansion Carlo Cu Unjieng outlined last week the firm’s proposal for a Subic franchise and asked Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) officials for feedback on what riding platform would be appropriate in this special economic zone.

Cu Unjieng said the firm could position either a GrabTaxi or a GrabCar, or even a GrabBike operation in Subic, depending on the needs of the local riding public.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma welcomed the proposal, saying it would result in better transport services within Subic Freeport, especially now that cruise ships frequently visit the area to bring in foreign tourists.

“I am all for this because it is an alternative platform for the riding public who would want ease and convenience, as well as competitive rates,” Eisma said.

“Of course, this may pose a challenge to existing transport operators in and around the Freeport, but I happen to see it as an opportunity for everybody to step up and improve their services,” she added.

With this, Eisma advised Grab to also secure the approval of local government units around the Freeport, pointing out the neighboring communities would constitute a huge sector of the potential customers.

She said residents of Zambales and Bataan who work or do business in the Subic Bay Freeport would principally benefit should Grab gain a foothold into Subic and neighboring areas.

Based on responses to an informal survey conducted last week by the Subic Bay Community Center, a private social-media account, most residents are in favor of the introduction of Grab in the Subic area.

The commenters said they have been waiting for an improved transport system that charges reasonable fare and provides fast, reliable service.

Still, some respondents worried the move might cause more traffic in the Freeport, while some suggested the taxi service operating here be converted to Grab units.

Other respondents expressed hope that Grab also operate in Olongapo City and Subic, Zambales, which are both local population centers.

Grab, which originated in Singapore, now operates in seven countries—Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia and the Philippines, where it is present in major urban centers in Manila, Cebu, Davao, Bacolod, Iloilo, Baguio, Cagayan de Oro, Angeles City and Balanga, Bataan.

Eisma said Grab is primarily needed in the Subic Freeport to modernize the local transportation system and revolutionize how Subic business locators, workers and visitors are being ferried in and around this growing business and industrial center.

(c) Henry Empeño



The Philippines fell in terms of digital competitiveness in 2018 to land among those at the bottom 10 in the world.

This was according to the 2018 World Digital Competitiveness (WDC) ranking, published by the International Institute for Management Development and released in the country with its local partner, the Asian Institute of Management’s Rizalino S. Navarro Policy Center for Competitiveness.

The WDC said the Philippines ranked No. 56 out of 63 countries. The list was topped by the United States, followed by Singapore, Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland.

Based on the latest WDC, now on its second edition, the Philippines fell 10 notches compared to its 2017 score. At the bottom were Venezuela (63rd), Indonesia (62nd), Mongolia (61st), Peru (60th) and Colombia (59th).

“The objective of the digital ranking is to assess the extent to which a country adopts and explores digital technologies leading to transformation in government practices, business models and society in general,” a portion of the report showed.

The latest WDC used 50 indicators categorized under knowledge, technology and future readiness.

Knowledge refers to intangible infrastructure and includes factors such as talent, training and education. Technology refers to the underlying regulatory and technology framework. It includes investments in technology-related developments.

Finally, future readiness refers to the readiness of an economy to assume digital transformation. Included here are business agility and IT integration. The WDC noted that 60 percent of its indicators were based on statistics while the remainder was based on an executive opinion survey.

The Philippines’ highest-ranked factor was knowledge at 50th, which was driven by the talent sub-factor.

The country’s lowest ranked factor was technology, at 58th.

(c) Miguel R. Camus

Read more: http://business.inquirer.net/252707/ph-ranks-poorly-digital-competitiveness#ixzz5Iuw70GJD
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