SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority will ask the national government for funds for major infrastructure projects planned for implementation here starting next year.
SBMA Chairperson and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the funds would help fix two crucial accesses to the premier free port.
“The first order of business is the repair of the Alava Pier and the construction of a new Magsaysay Bridge, which leads to the Subic Freeport main gate,” Eisma said.
“I have asked Finance officials to consider the release of funds for Subic as an investment for the national government, because the SBMA would be giving back bigger remittances to the national treasury once these projects are completed,” she added.
The projects are estimated to cost a combined P2.84 billion, with the repair of Alava and other piers in Subic eating up P2.45 billion.
“We need to prioritize these infrastructure projects since they will further push the Subic Freeport’s business potential,” Eisma said.
It would be the first time in many years that the SBMA would request for a national allocation as it has been operating as a self-sufficient government agency for at least a decade, the freeport chief said.
“But it can be done, and I know how to get it done,” Eisma said.
The SBMA would channel its own funds instead to other projects meant to enhance security in the freeport.
Eisma, who attended the Asia Cruise Forum Jeju in South Korea last month where she had a discussion with cruise ship firms, said the reason why large cruise ships were unable to visit the Freeport is that its port is already silted.
“Alava Pier is badly in need of dredging, since large ships such as US aircraft carriers can no longer dock there. Aside from that, the pier posts there have already deteriorated and need replacement,” she said.
The repair of Subic piers would complement the Duterte government’s “Build Build Build” program, which includes the construction of the proposed Subic-Clark Cargo Railway that will ease the transfer of cargo container from vessels docked in Subic to the nearby Clark Freeport and other destinations in Central and Northern Luzon, Eisma said.