Subic Bay Freeport—Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority Chairman Martin B. Diño on Thursday revealed six big-ticket projects totaling P140 billion (US$2.8 billion) the agency wants to undertake in anticipation of an upsurge of foreign investors by next year.
Diño said he will be sending to Malacañang a budget proposal to fast-track these major projects he intends to implement during his term at SBMA.
“Before I came here, the President [Rodrigo Duterte] instructed me to improve and make Subic the best investment area in Asia. But how can I achieve that when there is no area that I could offer to new investors?” Diño said. “I have to find new land.”
He found it at a 3,000-hectare industrial zone at Redondo Peninsula here, at the back of the shipyard of South Korean-owned Hanjin Heavy Industries Corp., that can be developed.
While Dino said there is more than enough land for investors at Redondo, the roads and bridges leading to it should be built first to make it accessible via Subic Freeport and the new industrial zone in Zambales.
That’s why he is asking Malacañang for P126 billion to build four major roads and bridges to Redondo that would shorten the travel time of cargo trucks and passenger vehicles to and from Northern Luzon and Metro Manila.
First on the list with a proposed budget of P11 billion is a 17.273-kilometer bypass road that would connect the Subic container terminals to the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway without passing the busy commercial and leisure areas of the Freeport.
Second, with a proposed budget of P22 billion, is the 25.73-kilometer Tipo-Castillejos By-Pass Road, which will also include the construction of seven bridges. This road will be connected to Tipo Road at the SCTEX exit and run directly to Castillejos, Zambales, avoiding heavy traffic in Olongapo City and Subic.
Third, with a proposed budget of P91 billion is a 65-kilometer multi-modal expressway that would directly connect Subic Freeport to Manila.
And fourth, with a proposed budget of P2 billion is the Tipo-SCTEX Road Widening project, which aims to improve the capacity of Tipo Road by adding another lane on both sides of the road, improving the existing tunnel, and building an additional tunnel.
These projects, Diño said, should provide easy access to and from Subic Freeport for both cargo haulers and tourists, especially those coming from or going to North and Central Luzon, as well as Metro Manila.
“These infrastructure projects will bring Subic Freeport and other centers of commerce in Luzon area closer to each other,” he said, noting that travel time from point to point would be greatly shortened, making development faster and easier. It would also help decrease the volume of vehicles plying major roads of Metro Manila that cause traffic.
“Where these roads pass, expect rapid economic growth, which means more jobs being created and more revenue being collected. There will be more progress for everyone,” Dino added.
To maximize the economic benefits brought about by the new roads, the SBMA is also proposing to build additional container terminals and expand the Naval Supply Depot here.
Diño said he is proposing the construction of New Container Terminal 3 and 4 for P10 billion, which will be built parallel to the existing NCT 1 and 2.
The Naval Supply Depot, which serves as storage facility for bulk grains and other non-containerized cargoes, is being proposed for expansion and improvement for about P4 billion.
Diño said he has coordinated with the National Economic and Development Authority to seek its endorsement to Malacañang, “so that we could go ahead and fast track these big-ticket projects and complete them the soonest possible time,” he said.