August 30, 2018, 7:20 pm

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is vigorously pursuing for the implementation of the PHP10.2 billion six-year infrastructure development program to be funded under the national government’s Build-Build-Build program.

SBMA chairman and administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the projects are seen to improve the core business infrastructure here and sustain the attractiveness of the Subic Bay Freeport as a globally-competitive trade and tourism center.

“We are now bidding out six major projects to set into motion the execution of a PHP530-million program to rehabilitate, upgrade and develop roads and other public facilities in the Subic Bay Freeport,” Eisma said.

She said the six major projects form part of the SBMA’s PHP10.2-billion six-year infrastructure development program that will be funded by the national government and set for completion by 2023.

Eisma said this will be the first time for the SBMA to avail of national funding for infrastructure projects.

“But we feel justified not only because of the scope, but also because we’d like to think that these projects are investments on the part of the government,” she said.

Eisma cited the importance of the projects, saying these will help Subic sustain its position as one of the biggest revenue contributors among investment promotions agencies in the country.

The SBMA chief pointed out that since the Americans left in 1992, Subic has not seen any major investment in infrastructure rehabilitation and maintenance of basic facilities like roads and docks, which are essential to business operations here.

“Even the security fence that defined the area of the former Subic naval base has already deteriorated,” she said.

The nationally-funded projects for this year include various road rehabilitation work amounting to PHP369.7 million; Phase 2 of the Naval Supply Depot (NSD) road network project, at PHP75.8 million; installation of navigational buoys, PHP47.5 million; installation of new traffic control systems, PHP9.6 million; repair of El Kabayo Road, PHP9.3 million; and drainage improvement at Argonaut Highway, PHP18 million.

Other projects in the PHP10.2-billion infrastructure development program will be implemented in phases starting with PHP524.5 million in 2019; and then PHP573.1 million in 2020; PHP1.32 billion in 2021; PHP2.35 billion in 2022; and PHP1.4 billion in 2013.

The other components of the program are various seaport and airport development projects, road widening and extension projects, and the construction of an SBMA Corporate Center, which gets the bulk of the budget at PHP3.8 billion.

Eisma said the SBMA has scheduled the projects based on the immediacy of Subic’s needs as a maritime logistics hub, with the first projects encompassing roads, traffic controls, drainage, as well as buoys and other equipment, and to be followed by seaport and airport improvements, road expansion, bridge and overpass projects, and finally, the SBMA Corporate Center.

Meanwhile, SBMA will plow in a total of PHP781.8 million in five years under its own capital expenditure program to complement the nationally-funded infrastructure program.

One of the bigger projects under the SBMA program is the construction of a new perimeter fence in critical areas of the former U.S. military base, with PHP18 million in the first year of implementation and PHP42 million in the second year. (PNA)

(c) Malou Dungog


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