The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) persistently defied the economic downturn brought about by the continuing Covid-19 pandemic this year and registered a total of P16.67 billion in investments from January to December.
This amount represented a 1,099% increase over the P1.39-billion investment turnout approved by the Subic agency in 2020 and almost four times the P4.38-billion investment forecast for this year, said SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma.
The new investment projects are also projected to generate close to 72,000 new jobs in Subic, she said.
“We’re not yet there even with this P16.67-billion figure this year, but we are definitely on our way to pre-pandemic investment levels,” Eisma enthusiastically pointed out on Monday.
The key, she said when asked how the SBMA attracted more investments despite the pandemic, “is keeping Subic a safe haven for both business and leisure.”
“The people here—and that includes the workers and residents—have gotten used to the strict implementation of safety protocols by the SBMA, and this is apparently paying off,” Eisma added. “People are asking where does Subic’s economic vibrancy come from, and the simple answer is that it comes from keeping Subic safe for everybody.”
Figures from the SBMA Business and Investment Group indicated that 110 new business locators registered in the Subic Freeport this year.
These included 82 companies wholly owned by Filipinos; five Sri Lankan and Filipino partnerships; three Filipino-Chinese combines; two Dutch, American and Filipino joint ventures; two Sri Lankan firms; two Taiwanese-Filipino companies; an American enterprise; and 14 other projects between a Filipino and a foreign partner.
The biggest investment project in 2021 was the P201.2-million watercraft operation business proposed by Empress maritime Subic, Inc., a British-Filipino venture.
This was followed by a petroleum trading venture by Bicol Oil (International) & Shipping Corp., a Filipino form that pledged P179.3 million; Subic Spectron Energy Trading Corp., another Filipino petroleum trading firm with P101.39 million; MN3A Subic Trading Corp., a Filipino general trading firm with P80 million; and SBGP Food Services, Inc., a Taiwanese-Filipino trading and retailing business with P74.6 million.
Completing the top 10 new investors are: Da Fu Yuan Corp., a Filipino-Taiwanese-Chinese venture for real estate development with P57.28 million; Jung Fang Corp., a Taiwanese real estate firm with P38.44 million; Alquenes Petroleum Inc., Filipino, with P28.5 million; Vexio Corp., another Filipino petroleum trader, with P25.97 million; and CGD Medical Depot Inc., a Filipino trader of medical supplies and food products, with P19.7 million.
On the other hand, the biggest investment project in terms of employment is that of Subic Supreme Industries, Inc., with projected 71,250 jobs.
This Filipino venture with committed investments of P15.5 million will develop and operate the marshalling yard at the gateway area for mixed-use development and services.
Eisma also said the success of Subic in generating more business commitments was underpinned by a community effort to practice minimum safety protocols, get vaccinated, and establish Covid-19 facilities like a testing center and RT-PCR laboratory, and a 500-bed quarantine facility.
“Our readiness and capability to fight Covid also brought more business to Subic,” Eisma said, pointing out that some sports and tourism events, as well as the crew-change and OFW repatriation programs of the national government, were held here under the bubble concept.