By HENRY EMPEÑO
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — With the continuing increase in the number of companies investing in this free port, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) reported more good news in the first half of the year in terms of revenue, dividends, investments, exports and even visitor arrivals.
According to SBMA Administrator Wilma Eisma, who sent the agency’s financial report to President Rodrigo Duterte for his first State of the Nation Address on July 24, the Subic agency posted increases in all aspects of its performance from January to May this year.
“Apparently—and this cannot be denied—the SBMA has continued well in its growth path in the last few years and we are actually breaking old records here,” Eisma said in a statement on Tuesday.
Ticking off the favorable indicators, Eisma said the SBMA recorded a 7.7 percent growth in revenue from a total of P1.16 billion in the first five months last year to P1.25 billion in January-May 2017. This was coupled by 3.4 percent increase in operating income for the same period, she added.
“But the most revealing item here is SBMA’s net income which went up by more than 126 percent, because from the P106.27 million that was recorded in January-May 2016, we’re now at P240.21 million in just the first five months this year,” Eisma went on to say.
She added that because of the upsurge in its income, the SBMA has managed to contribute bigger shares to the government than ever before: a 30.58 percent increase in the 2% revenue shares to local government units, and a 30.42 percent increase in the government’s 3% share from the gross income earned in the Subic Bay Freeport.
Before this, SBMA figures placed SBMA’s LGU shares at P115.22 million in the first half last year. This rose to P150.46 million this year. The government’s share, meanwhile, stood at P178.37 million in January-May last year, but this time reached P232.63 million in the same period.
Eisma also reported a huge 352.7 percent increase in the dividends paid by the SBMA to the national government through the Bureau of Treasury: P660.69 million this year, compared to P145.91 million in 2016.
The SBMA’s rosy financial report also covered investment generation, business expansion, and job creation.
Eisma said new investment commitments surged by 642 percent from P5.6 billion in January-May 2016, to P40.55 billion in January-May 2017.
She added that the number of new business locators also increased by 58, thereby bringing the total number of Subic-registered businesses to 1,527. Meanwhile, expansion projects by existing locators jumped by 85 percent, or from 13 projects last year to 24 this year.
Because of these, the number of active workers in the Subic Bay Freeport also shot up by 16 percent, or from 103,425 in May 2016 to a total of 119,647 in May this year.
Eisma said the huge spike in new investment commitments could be attributed largely to the P39.92- billion project of Dynamic Konstruk International Eco Builders Corp. (DKIEBC), which has eyed a huge swath of land at Subic’s Redondo Peninsula.
DKIEBC will engage in general construction, renewable energy and industrial hub development, with projected employment ranging from a minimum of 10,000 to a maximum of 50,000.
Eisma said other major business developments in Subic this year included the soft opening of Datian Subic Corp.’s shoe factory, which now employs 1,000 workers; the ground-breaking of Toyota Subic, Inc.’s P150-million multi-level showroom and service center; the start of Teekay Swan’s and JOVO’s ship-to-ship transfer operations with an expected annual port revenue of P200 million; and the start of DM Leisure Corp.’s P4.6-billion golf course and leisure complex project.