SBMA: Free-port extension key to bigger LGU shares

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has urged neighboring communities to help develop more industrial and commercial areas in their territory to extend the boundaries of the Subic Freeport so that they can gain bigger revenue shares from the Subic agency.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma made this appeal as she released last week the share of local government units (LGUs) from the 5-percent tax paid by business locators in this free port.

Eisma urged the LGUs to help the SBMA develop estates in their respective areas and to start planning for the extension of the freeport’s fenced-in areas because the SBMA is already running out of space for new locator-companies.

“The SBMA is continuously working on every possible means to attract more investors to create more jobs and increase the LGU shares,” Eisma told the local executives.

“But if we could no longer accept new investors, the LGU shares from the SBMA would not improve further, and worse, could even diminish,” she added.

“We have to find ways to extend the free-port area so that we could grow and develop more businesses and create more livelihood opportunities for local residents,” Eisma also said.

The SBMA released last week a total of P147 million to the mayors of adjacent towns in Zambales and Bataan, whose communities were contiguous to the free port and affected by activities and operations here.

The shares were personally received by Mayors Rolen Paulino of Olongapo City, Jay Khonghun of Subic, Jose Angelo Dominguez of Castillejos, Elvis Soria of San Marcelino and Estela Antipolo of San Antonio, all in Zambales, and Joseph Inton of Hermosa, Bataan.

Eisma said the revenue shares were given to help finance development projects in health, education, peace and order and livelihood programs so that the contiguous communities can keep pace with developments in the Subic Bay Freeport and Special Economic Zone.

The SBMA releases last week amounted to P34.35 million for Olongapo City, which received the biggest allocation. Subic, Zambales, followed with P22.46 million; Dinalupihan, Bataan, with P18.32 million; San Marcelino, Zambales, P17.66 million; Hermosa, Bataan, P15.31 million; Castillejos, Zambales,  P13.69 million; Morong, Bataan, P12.79 million; and San Antonio, Zambales, with 12.65 million.

Eisma said the releases were LGU shares for the second half of 2017. The amount was 6.96 percent lower than the P150.46 million distributed for the same period last year.

The shares were taken from 5 percent of the gross income of locators and investors operating within the Subic Bay Freeport.

Of the 5-percent gross revenue, 3 percent goes to the national treasury, while 2 percent is distributed by the SBMA among the eight neighboring LGUs.

The LGU share is now computed based on population, 50 percent; land area, 25 percent, and equal sharing, 25 percent. However, the SBMA is proposing a new formula that would give premium to the size of land area owned by an LGU on which the free port derives income.





Henry Empeño

Henry E. Empeño took up A.B. Journalism at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, but plunged headlong into actual newspaper work without graduating from college.