July 17, 2018

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, July 17 (PIA) — Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board 3 (RTWPB-3) has approved the additional Php20 minimum wage in Central Luzon.

Wage Order No. RBIII-21 takes effect on August 1 or 15 days after it was published in a local leading newspaper.

RTWPB-3 Chair and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Regional Director Zenaida Angara-Campita said the minimum wage beginning next month in the provinces of Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales will increase from Php380 to P400/day.

“Aurora’s daily minimum wage, on the other hand, will be implemented in two tranches. From P329 to P339 by August 1 and from P339 to P349 six months later,” Angara-Campita added.

These adjustments only pertain to non-agricultural establishments with an employment size of 10 or more workers.

“The new regional minimum wage will vary across industries as indicated on the matrix specified in the order and its implementing rules,” Angara-Campita explained.

Non-agricultural firms’ rate will vary based on those employing 10 or more workers and those with less than 10 workers.

Meanwhile, minimum wages will also vary for plantation and non-plantation agri-based firms, likewise with retail or service firms with 16 or more workers and those with less than 16 workers.

The new wage order is a result of the RTWPB-3’s consultations with labor and management representatives from different industries in most parts of the region.

“After our careful review of the prevailing socio-economic conditions of the entire region, together with the results of our public consultations across sectors, we acknowledged the need to help workers cope up with the rising cost of living brought by the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion Law implementation and fuel hikes by providing them with relief without impairing the viability of businesses and industries, taking into account the need for investment, competitiveness of the region, and job creation and preservation,” Angara-Campita said.

“RTWPB-3 deemed it best to increase the minimum wage at reasonable and equitable levels in light of the regional poverty threshold level vis-à-vis, average wage, along with the need to promote performance-based incentive schemes under the Two-Tier Wage System,” she said.

Aside from DOLE, other members of the RTWPB-3 include National Economic and Development Authority, Department of Trade and Industry and representatives from the labor and management sector.

The new minimum wage shall apply to workers receiving the minimum wage in the region regardless of their position, employment status, and how their wages are paid. (CLJD-PIA 3)

(c) Carlo Lorenzo J. Datu



SBMA Eyes Zambales Coves for Cruise-Ship Holidays

Jul 06, 2018

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – The growing number of international cruise ships arriving in this premier Freeport is now spurring the growth of the local economy and opening up opportunities for other communities.

On Tuesday, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma met with Mayor Estela Antipolo and other officials of San Antonio, Zambales to discuss plans to utilize certain coastal areas of the municipality as high-end cruise-ship holiday destinations.

“Our plan is to make the area the next Amalfi or the next Turks and Caicos,” Eisma said, referring to the popular coastal destinations in Italy and the Bahamas.

“The project would make the area accessible to cruise ships, attract passengers who would spend a day or two in local resorts, and hence would provide viable economic opportunities to local communities and residents,” Eisma told the municipal officials.

Eisma said the SBMA is now talking with several private investors who are considering the development of the area, particularly the Nagsasa and Silanguin coves, which are located southwest of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

According to the development plan formulated by the SBMA, what are now essentially the fishing villages of Nagsasa and Silanguin will both become port destinations with world-class resort attractions that can cater to passengers of cruise liners.

Meanwhile, a coastal road will be built to connect the coves of San Antonio without having to cut through the hills in the area.

“The winding coastal road will have a great view of the coves, just like that at the Amalfi Coast along Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula,” Eisma said.

The Amalfi Coast is a popular holiday destination with sheer cliffs and a rugged shoreline dotted with small beaches and pastel-colored fishing villages, grand villas, terraced vineyards and cliff-side lemon groves.

Eisma said the rugged coastline of San Antonio could be developed into a similar attraction that would complement its clear, aquamarine water.

At least 20 cruise ship arrivals have been scheduled in the Subic Bay Freeport this year, with bigger vessels like the MS Ovation of the Seas, the biggest cruise ship in operation in the whole of Asia, promising more port calls. More are coming in 2019, Eisma said.

She added that cruise ship passengers have already visited local attractions to as far as the heritage site of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bagac, Bataan. “So we are really in need of more attractions to sustain the demand,” Eisma explained.

Town officials of San Antonio have reportedly welcomed the proposal for the development of the local coves into high-end tourist destinations. Prior to this, the local government of San Antonio passed a resolution setting aside some 9,000 hectares of land in the municipality for development under the SBMA’s expansion program.

Other communities nearby have also allotted areas for the expansion of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.

These include the towns of Subic, Castillejos, San Marcelino and Olongapo City in Zambales, and Hermosa in Bataan.

unnamed (1)

Tourists marvel at the beauty of mountain and sea at a cove in San Antonio, Zambales



July 13, 2018 | 7:29 pm

PHILIPPINES AirAsia, Inc. said it now has international flights flying out of from Clark, Pampanga with Taipei as its first destination.

In a statement released on Friday, the budget airline said its first Clark-Taipei flight landed at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.

“We are officially painting the skies of Clark airport with AirAsia’s iconic color. Our return to international skies via Clark hub reaffirms our commitment to travelers in Central and Northern Luzon and Metro Manila who truly deserve nothing but only the best quality service, affordable airfare and efficient connectivity,” Philippines AirAsia president and chief executive officer Dexter M. Comendador said in the statement.

He added, “It feels so good to be back where we started. From two planes in Clark in 2012 to 20 jets as of today and we expect our fleet to grow to 70 planes in the next 10 years, we are thrilled to be here again and begin another journey to serve, empower and enable every traveler to dream big and connect across ASEAN, Asia and the world.”

Philippines AirAsia will operate two Clark-Taipei flights every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Aside from Taipei, AirAsia’s hub in Pampanga also flies to local destinations, namely Iloilo, Caticlan, Davao, Cebu, and Tacloban.

In May, Mr. Comendador told reporters that they were looking to develop hubs outside of Manila to decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.


(c) Denise A. Valdez



July 14, 2018 02:43 PM

Motorists who will pass by the North Luzon Expressway and Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (NLEX-SCTEX) should expect slow-moving traffic in the coming days as some lanes in these two expressways are scheduled to be closed for at least two days to a week.

In an advisory on Saturday, NLEX Corporation said that some parts of NLEX and SCTEX would be closed to any types of vehicles in order to give way to maintenance works and bridging retrofitting.

The move aims to maintain the good condition of the expressway and ensure the safety of the public passing by the expressways, the advisory said.

The management also asked the public for patience and understanding as the flow of traffic will be affected due to road works.

The following are the affected areas of the maintenance works and bridge retrofitting:



  • Portions before Mindanao Toll Plaza, middle lane (July 16-20)
  • Portions of Meycauayan Interchange northbound and southbound entry and exit ramp (July 13-20)
  • Portions of Marilao Interchange northbound and southbound entry and exit ramp (July 13-20)
  • Portions of Sta. Rita Interchange northbound and southbound entry and exit ramp (July 13-20)
  • Portions of San Fernando Interchange northbound exit ramp (July 13-20)


  • Portions of Porac to Concepcion, Tarlac direction, outermost lane (July 16-18)
  • Portions of Porac to Concepcion, Subic direction, outermost lane (July 18-20)
  • Portions of Dinalupihan to Floridablanca, Tarlac direction, outermost lane (July 16-18)
  • Portions of Dinalupihan to Floridablanca, Subic direction, outermost lane (July 18-20)
  • Portions of Dinalupihan, Tarlac direction, outermost lane (July 16-20)



  • Sta. Rita northbound and southbound, outermost lane (July 14-20)
  • San Simon southbound, outermost lane (July 14-20)
  • Candaba Viaduct southbound, outermost lane (July 14-20)
  • Valenzuela northbound, innermost lane (July 14-20)
  • Torres Bugallon, Valenzuela northbound, innermost lane (July 14-20)



  • Jad jad Bridge, Subic direction (July 16-18)


( c )  Faye Orellana

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1010220/road-works-to-affect-traffic-flow-along-nlex-sctex-sctex-nlex-transportation-road-closure#ixzz5LMzxMWtq
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook


July 13, 2018, 5:27 pm

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT –  Officials in Zambales are supporting the plan to extend the Subic Bay Special Economic and Freeport Zone to nearby communities in order to accommodate more investment projects.

The Zambales Mayors’ League (ZML), headed by its president and San Antonio Mayor Estela Antipolo, believes the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) expansion plan would result in more employment opportunities and community development for the province.

“On the part of the Mayors’ League, we are here to support SBMA’s programs,” San Felipe town Mayor Carolyn Fariñas said during their meeting Thursday with SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma Eisma.

“We are really excited to hear SBMA Chairman Eisma’s pronouncements that she is moving to expand the area and jurisdiction of the Subic Freeport. We can see that she is seriously working to put more businesses further up north in Zambales,” Fariñas said.

Aside from Antipolo and Fariñas, other mayors who were present during the meeting were Jay Khonghun of Subic town; Jose Angelo Dominguez of Castillejos; Elvis Soria, San Marcelino; La Rainne Abad-Sarmiento, San Narciso; Joycelyn Apostol, Cabangan; Bing Maniquiz-Jeresano, Botolan; Rundy Ebdane, Iba; Napoleon Edquid, Candelaria; and Luisito Marty of Santa Cruz.

Meanwhile, Eisma urged the Zambales mayors to take advantage of the Freeport’s development impetus and asked them to start identifying areas that may be suitable for the expansion program.

She said that Subic faces brighter prospects than ever and that current developments like its emergence as a new cruise ship destination in Asia, are bringing more livelihood opportunities to local communities.

The SBMA chief noted that the number of investors in the Freeport had grown to 1,587 in the first quarter of 2018 from 1,355 in the same period last year.

The new investors that the SBMA signed in this first quarter, she added, have committed investments worth PHP866 million, which is 80 percent higher than the PHP480 million recorded in the same period in 2017.

Eisma said, however, that because of lack of space in the former Subic military base where the Freeport is located, the SBMA could hardly accept any more investment proposals for major projects.

“A lot of investors are really looking for bigger locations. And I’m serious about it— please don’t dawdle on this expansion offer. We have to do this now because the next official might not have the same inclination as we do,” she told the mayors.

Eisma explained that any local government unit can nominate land for development as Freeport expansion area.

With favorable resolutions approved by the Sangguniang Bayan, a memorandum of agreement will be signed by the municipality and the SBMA, granting the latter the right to take over the administration and regulations of the area.

The SBMA will then market the area to investors.

Fariñas said the ZML is committed to preparing their areas for a successful expansion program, noting that it will bring more jobs and community development in the entire Zambales.

She and the other mayors also thanked Eisma for inviting transport service provider Grab Philippines to enter Zambales, saying this will help provide an effective, efficient and tourist-friendly transportation service that may further boost local tourism, a growing industry in Zambales province.

 “We share (Eisma’s) vision about ‘malasakit’, of a greater community helping each other as leaders, we intend to give a better quality of life to our people. And these things are a big boost to our efforts in accomplishing this mission,” Fariñas said. (PNA)

(c)  Malou Dungog



July 12, 2018

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — Top officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) have released information on their financial position and business interests in connection with the government’s transparency and accountability initiatives.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said 12 of the 15 SBMA directors had already signed a data privacy consent form that allowed the agency to release their latest statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) to the public.

The annual filing of SALN is required under the 1987 Philippine Constitution and under Republic Act No. 6713, also known as the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.” The SALN should contain the true, detailed, and sworn declaration of one’s assets, liabilities, net worth, business interests and financial connections.

According to the statements on file, Director Julius Escalona has the highest net worth among the SBMA officials at P50.16 million. The businessman from Hermosa, Bataan declared total assets of P67.36 million, but has liabilities of P17.2 million.

Escalona’s biggest asset consisted of a batching plant valued at P30 million, and several units of houses and condominium units he acquired in 2015 and 2016 worth more than P20 million.

Chairman Eisma has the highest declared assets at P69.74 million, but her liabilities totaling P25.98 million gave her a net worth of P44.45 million, the second biggest among the SBMA officials.

Eisma, a lawyer who served as corporate manager with the Philippine affiliate of Philip Morris International before taking over as SBMA administrator in January 2017, listed her biggest assets as condominium units she acquired in 2005, 2013 and 2016. She also has some real estate business in Olongapo City.

Third in the list with the biggest net worth is former Bataan Vice Governor Rogelio Roque, who declared total assets at P27.35 million and no liabilities. Roque’s assets are mostly in the form of residential lands acquired from 1983 to 2008. He now has three relatives in the government, including daughter Maria Margarita, who is a council member in Limay, Bataan.

Director Brian Patrick Gordon of Olongapo City, meanwhile, listed total assets of P16.96 million and liabilities of P.92 million to end up with a net worth of P16.04 million, the fourth highest among the SBMA top brass. The son of Senator Richard Gordon listed three business interests in Olongapo City.

Next comes Director Jan Joshua Khonghun of Subic, Zambales, with total assets of P14.42 million, liabilities of P.41 million, and net worth of P14 million. His biggest assets consisted of four dump trucks used in his logistics business that are worth P11.8 million.

Khonghun has a construction business in Subic, Zambales and listed five relatives in government service, including his father, Congressman Jeffrey Khonghun of Zambales First District.

At No. 6, Director Edwin Enrile, a former member of the Bataan provincial board, has total assets of P18.5 million, liabilities of P6.5 million and net worth of P12 million.

A lawyer, certified public accountant and farm owner, Director Tomas Lahom III declared assets totaling P14.7 and liabilities of P2.68 million, thereby leaving him a net worth of P12 million. His biggest assets consisted of residential and agricultural lands, motor vehicles and farm equipment at the Lahom Farms that he operates in Nueva Ecija.

Director Maria Cecilia Bitare, an executive in international shipping and logistics, has total assets of P7.19 million, liabilities of P.3 million, and net worth of P6.89 million. She has two relatives in the government in Legazpi City.

On the other hand, Director Marvin Ted Macapagal from Olongapo City listed total assets of P3.8 million and no liabilities. He is connected with First Reliance International, a trading firm in Makati.

Not all SBMA officials, however, had net worth in millions. Director Cynthia Co Paulino, the wife of Olongapo City Mayor Rolen Paulino, declared total assets of P450,000 and no liabilities. Aside from the mayor, she also listed two other relatives to be in government service.

Meanwhile, newly appointed directors Rolando Ampunin of Subic, Zambales and Teodoro del Rosario of Olongapo City had similarly signed a consent form to release their SALN, although their statements would have to be filed only at the end of the year, as required by law.

(c) Ric Sapnu



July 03, 2018

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has installed a state-of-the- art monitoring system that provides a live feed of images from remote surveillance areas all around the Subic Freeport to boost security operations and public safety here.

The system consisted of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras installed in various areas of the Freeport that are viewed from a bank of monitors and a LED (light-emitting diode) wall at the SBMA Law Enforcement Department (LED) command center.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma inspected the new monitoring system on Sunday, along with SBMA Deputy Administrator Rani Cruz, LED Manager Vicente Tolentino, and LED Operations Chief Gerardo Johnson, and observed how the system is operated remotely.

Aside from watching the live streaming of videos taken from some of the busiest areas in the Freeport, Eisma also tried the public address system hook-up installed in areas like the Boardwalk Activity Center and the Malawaan Park, and reminded visitors to pick up their trash before leaving the area.

The system allows the simultaneous viewing of live images from 96 different camera angles.

“It’s quite impressive,” SBMA chief described the system. “And I hope that this will be something really effective not only in crime prevention, but also in promoting public safety and environmental protection in the Freeport,” she added.

Eisma also pointed out that the SBMA’s modern monitoring system was made possible with funding from Common Use Service Area (CUSA) fees collected by the Subic agency from business locators, residents, as well as tourists entering the Freeport.

“Now that we have this state-of-the-art monitoring system, violators can easily be detected and apprehended. Subic is known for its strict enforcement of traffic rules, as well as for its high level of security, and this system brings us to a higher level of police work,” she added.

According to SBMA police chief Vicente Tolentino, most of the tourist sites in the Freeport are now covered by the CCTV system that was recently installed by Wireless Link Technologies, Inc., a leading wireless technology provider based in Manila.

Aside from these, PLDT Subictel has also installed CCTVs at the sentry posts of three housing areas in Subic: Binictican, Kalayaan, and Cubi.

The SBMA will be paying for the system installation contracted out to Wireless Link Technologies, but the cameras provided by PLDT Subictel were for free, Eisma said.

All these CCTVs are monitored 24/7 by LED officers inside the command center, Tolentino said, adding that the system will allow police officers to closely monitor areas for any illegal activity and give them faster reaction time to apprehend suspects.

“We want people to know that the Subic Bay Freeport Zone is one of the safest places in the country, where they could relax without fear of being accosted by criminal elements. At the same time, we want criminal elements to know that we are ready for them and that we can monitor their every move here,” Tolentino said.

The SBMA police head added that the more security monitoring systems will be put in place in other areas of the Freeport under the second phase of the agency’s CCTV program.


SBMA Chairman Wilma T. Eisma, along with other SBMA officials, views images fed live through a CCTV system at the SBMA Law Enforcement Department’s control room on Sunday.



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
Read more: http://business.inquirer.net/253528/tugade-subic-airport-reopen-h1-2019#ixzz5KKiuntci
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook


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.