Subic Bay Freeport explored for future Aussie investments

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Rolen C. Paulino welcomes the delegates and guests of the Pacific Business Mission from Australia and New Zealand during their visit in Subic Bay Freeport on August 18. 

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — Delegates of the Pacific Business Mission from Australia visited and explored key sites in Central Luzon, including this premier Freeport zone, for possible future investments.

The Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) of Australia/New Zealand, in partnership with the Subic-Clark Alliance Development Council (SCADC) and the Board of Investments (BOI) accompanied the Australian investors during their visit.

Headed by Philippine Ambassador to Australia Ma. Hellen De La Vega, the delegation also visited Clark Freeport Zone, Mt. Samat Flagship Tourism Enterprise Zone and the Province of Bataan before proceeding to Subic Bay.

The group was said to have expressed interest in possible investment projects related to tourism, automotive and electric vehicle manufacturing, agribusiness, and renewable energy.

The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) employees, led by its Chairman and Administrator Rolen C. Paulino, received the delegates with a warm welcome at the Subic Bay Travelers Hotel in a luncheon briefing.

The mission aims to explore investment opportunities related to tourism, automotive and electric vehicle manufacturing, agribusiness, and renewable energy, and attract potential investors from these countries to set up their operations in different industrial areas in Central Luzon.

“As the global economy is struggling to bounce back from the negative effects of Covid-19 pandemic, we are glad to have this opportunity to participate in this investment mission and introduce or re-introduce the Subic Bay Freeport and Economic Zone to you,” the Chairman said.

Paulino encouraged the business delegates to make it happen in the Philippines, especially in Subic Bay, that the entire SBF community is looking forward “with much enthusiasm to work in partnership with all of you for the growth and progress of the Philippine economy, in general, and in the Subic Bay Freeport community, in particular.”

During the program, SBMA Business and Investment for Manufacturing and Maritime department manager Karen Magno gave the group a briefing on the business climate in the Freeport on behalf of Senior Deputy Administrator for Business and Investment Renato Lee III.

“We strive very, very hard to keep the confidence of our investors and maintain this site as an ideal site for investment. This is because of our core Filipino value we call ‘malasakit.’ Malasakit is the deepest form of caring. Malasakit to our stakeholders, malasakit to Subic, which we call home,” Magno said.

She added that because of malasakit, the business group, through the SBMA Board of Directors, was able to complete the processing of 63 new investments during the height of the pandemic in order to sustain the economy in the Freeport.

The said new projects with a committed investment worth US$24 billion required additional 682 employment opportunities for the residents of Olongapo, Bataan and Zambales areas.

Currently, the SBF houses 28 Australian locators with a committed investments totaling to US$11 million and an employment of 577 workers.

Hugh McDougall, President and CEO of Australia Farm Innovation, and Nick Fenwick, President and COO of Fabric8 Membrane Services, and both Australian locators in the Freeport, attested to the warm and professional reception of SBMA personnel, skilled and English-speaking workers, and the Fast, Friendly, and Flexible services that the SBMA has been extending them.

Australia Farm Innovation is the leading Philippines Supplier of Innovative and High Quality Prefabricated Agricultural Buildings and Equipment, while Fabric8 Membrane Services is a company that specializes in contract fabrication of textile materials used in major projects globally.

Meanwhile, SBMA Deputy Administrator for Business group Atty. John Aquino acknowledged the effort of the PTIC, SCADC, BOI and all the Investment Promotion Agencies as the Philippine Statistics Office recently announced that the Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) reached ₱46 billion for the second quarter of this year alone.

Aquino proudly said that 71.34 percent of the said FDIs, or ₱32.98 billion were approved by the SBMA.