SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has successfully turned the country’s first free-port zone into a productive engine of growth, overperforming in the last four years in terms of revenue generation and remittances to the national treasury.
Figures released by the agency last week showed SBMA managed to reverse its dismal financial performance starting in 2012, when it posted a net income of P800 million, from a P1.1-billion loss the previous year and a negative record of P2.54 billion—the agency’s biggest beating—in 2008.
This was consistent with a gross income that started out at P200 million in 1993 a year after the establishment of the free port, then rising to P800 million in 1996; P1.54 billion in 2002; P1.57 billion in 2008; P1.63 billion in 2012; P2.44 billion in 2014; and P2.75 billion in 2015.
In terms of operating income, SBMA was “awash with cash” last year when it posted a P1.41-billion operating income, a far cry from the P329 million it worked with in 2011 following heavy losses in previous years.
SBMA was also able to reduce its total debt by 36 percent in the last five years, or from P10.39 billion in 2011 to P6.64 billion 2015.
SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia, who presided over the agency’s financial turnaround in the last five years, said SBMA’s positive cash position has allowed it to undertake various infrastructure projects last year, including repairs of major roads here to the tune of P60 million.
“These are signs that SBMA is very healthy,” Garcia said in a recent news briefing. Meanwhile, the Subic agency further increased its contributions to the national economy by intensifying remittances in customs duties, taxes, dividends and shares to the national and local government units (LGUs).
Last year SBMA said it contributed a total of P19.3 billion to the national economy, broken down as P16.4 billion in collections by the Bureau of Customs (BOC); P1.73 billion in tax collections by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR); P373 million in shares to the national government; P248 million in shares to neighboring LGUs; and P527 million in dividends to the national government.
This, as BIR collections here increased from P1.1 billion in 2011 to P1.73 billion in 2015, accounting for a 57.3-percent growth; while the BOC collections grew from P6.05 billion in 2011 to P16.4 billion in 2015 for a record-breaking 171-percent increase.
All in all, SBMA posted a 157-percent increase in various contributions to the national economy by increasing them from a total of P7.51 billion in 2011 to P19.32 billion in 2015, SBMA figures indicated.
With the unprecedented growth created in the last five years, the Subic Bay Freeport is now poised for more business and better income, Garcia said. He said Subic’s robust performance, current fiscal health and positive business outlook could be traced to the agency’s efforts in promoting transparency and good governance, aggressive marketing, as well as policies that fostered the protection of Subic’s natural environment.
“The only way for SBMA to go is up, and we can only expect better times,” Garcia confidently said in a statement.
“The Subic Bay Freeport is not only the first and largest free port in the country today; it is also the most progressive and the most successful,” Garcia said.