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Locators raise concern on Subic’s new plans


[ Malaya.com.ph ] February 8, 2010

Some of the new plans of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) are raising concerns among locators and investors.

In a statement, SBMA administrator Armand C. Arreza clarified concerns about the Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA), the Kalaklan bridge construction, and the Ayala Land project.

Arreza disclosed that the SBMA is still evaluating the viability of closing the airport.

"There is no rush to close the airport," he told members of the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (SBFCCI) at a recent congress.

"Actually, we are still marketing the airport and looking for other alternatives to make it useful," Arreza said.

Arreza also assured the chamber that the 30 locators to be affected by the construction of an Ayala Land mall would be given options to either relocate their businesses inside the mall, or move into a commercial building to be built nearby.

Ayala Land is expected to start construction of the mall in April this year and to finish in 2012.

Arreza also briefed locators on the scheduled closure of the Kalaklan bridge starting March 1, to pave the way for the construction of a P200-million new bridge and security plaza. Arreza earlier explained that the construction project would have to go on as scheduled, lest local businesses would lose out during both the peak tourism season during Christmas and in summer next year.

The Locators Congress was held recently at the Global Terminals and Development, Inc. office in Subic. The congress, which was organized as an annual event, focused on business issues and concerns of business locators.

Arreza also disclosed that the SBMA will now spread development efforts to communities in Olongapo, Zambales and Bataan, which are outside the controlled or fenced-in portion of the Subic Bay Freeport.

Arreza earlier explained that the SBMA’s expansion program was meant to address the limited commercial and industrial space in Subic’s controlled area, wherein a huge environmental preserve is located, as well as to create livelihood opportunities that would directly impact on the neighboring communities.

"We will now focus on developing significant infrastructure facilities in those areas in order to generate more investments outside the traditional boundaries of the Freeport," Arreza said.

"But we need funds to build public infrastructure projects that will convince more investors to pour their money into the Subic Bay area," he said.

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