The Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce, a member of the national Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is an independent, nonprofit, membership-funded organization founded in 1995 to serve and represent the interests of its member businesses. We are also an accredited marketer of the Philippine Retirement Authority.
We are actively involved in a number of areas and are in the forefront of issues affecting our member businesses, their employees, and their families.
The single distinguishing characteristic that sets SBFCC apart from other Chambers of Commerce is that our members come from some 20 countries around the world.
Chamber News & Events
Result of the SBFCC Board of Directors Election
The results of the SBFCC Board of Directors election have been tabulated and the new officers were announced at last night’s General Membership Meeting.
The following have the top four votes from corporate members:
At yesterday’s Board meeting, the newly elected and retained directors voted for its officers. Prof. Danny Piano, who was voted in as director, had to beg off due to a sudden serious health problem of a family member. Lawrence Lusung was then appointed by the Board as replacement director.
Here are the SBFCC Officers for 2014:
Rose Baldeo – President
Dante Pollescas – Vice President
Romeo Duran – Corporate Secretary
Lawrence Lusung – Treasurer
Tom De Bruin – Director
Lewis Strickland – Director
Jun Avecilla – Director
8th Annual Blood Drive
The Subic Chamber’s 2013 Blood Drive is scheduled on October 17 at Harbor Point's Activity Center.
SBFCC Board of Directors Election
September 16 – October 11 - NOMINATION PROCESS BEGINS: Corporate members in good standing may nominate their choice(s) for next year’s Board.
October 14 – October 25 - CANDIDATE SELECTION Those nominated are asked for their minimum 10 hours per month written, voluntary commitment to serve on the Board. If willing, they will be declared as official candidates in the voting process.
November 4 – November 15 - VOTING PROCESS BEGINS Based on confirmed candidates who have verified they are willing to serve. Ballots are forwarded to all Corporate members who are asked to VOTE for the candidate(s) of their choice.
November 18 – November 22 – TABULATION Votes are tabulated by the delegated Returning Officer and scrutinized by the Election Committee.
November 26 – ANNOUNCEMENT OF RESULTS Election Results with names of new Board members are announced.
Prior to end of December, the remaining members of the 2013 board will join the newly elected Board members to select Officers for fiscal year 2014.
There will be four seats to fill during this election. Directors having one more year to serve include Atty Romeo Duran, Tom de Bruin, and Jun Avecilla. Those running for re-election are Danny Piano, Rose Baldeo, Lawrence Lusung, and Lewis Strickland.
Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us at 252-3180 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Subic Chamber recently organized a tourism seminar titled “Getting to Know Your Tourists” at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center.
The seminar covered topics including the overview of Philippine Tourism, tourists behavior patterns, market profiles, visa policies, and values formation and effective customer service.
The event was a collaboration between the Subic Chamber and the Department of Tourism. Among the speakers were Director Ronaldo Tiotuico of DOT Region III, Raymund Glen Agustin of the Bureau of Immigration, and Ma. Evelyn Francisco of the DOT.
As the Subic Bay Freeport is continuing to become a prime tourist destination in Central Luzon, the Subic Chamber is helping lay the foundation in readying tourism stakeholders for the realization of this potential.
Improved Emergency Communications
Five units of professional two-way radios were donated to
Olongapo City’s Fire Department recently.
Prof. Danny Piano, Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce president, handed his personal donation during the city’s flag raising ceremony. Piano, who visited the Fire Department a week before, was surprised to learn that the department no longer has working two-way radios. He quickly arranged to provide the necessary equipment.
Witnesses to the handing over of the radios were newly elected Mayor Rolen Paulino, First District Congressman
Konghun, Vice Mayor Cerezo, city councilors and officers, and former councilor Edwin Piano who arranged the purchase of the equipment in Manila.
Fire Marshall Jonas Silvano who replaced the previous city fire chief a month ago appreciated the donation which he said will certainly improve the communications amongst themselves and with other government agencies, especially during disasters and other emergencies.
2013 Mid-Year GMM
A successful mid-year general membership meeting and mixer/networking night was held recently at Harbor Point’s Seafood Island.
SBFCC President Danny Piano reported on memberships, financials, and accomplishments of the Chamber for the past six months.
It was also a first that both the newly elected mayor of Olongapo City, Mayor Rolen Paulino, and SBMA
Chairman and Administrator Roberto Garcia, were both at a Chamber’s general membership meeting.
Chairman Garcia talked briefly about the new projects inside the Freeport and also about the new SBMA website.
Mayor Paulino, on the other hand, discussed the problems besetting the city and how he plans to solve the same.
ISO 9001:2008 Training/Workshop
The Subic Chamber, due to clamor from many of its members, has organized a four-day, once a week, ISO 9001:2008 Training/Workshop at the VIP
Room of Subic Bay Exhibit and Convention Center (SBECC).
The purpose of the training is to make companies ready and compliant for the actual audit of an ISO certifying body like TUV and AJA.
Vessel Tracking Antenna Installed in Subic Bay
The Subic Chamber, in collaboration with the Lighthouse
Marina Resort, recently installed an Automatic Identification System (AIS) vessel tracking base station.
The AIS is an automatic tracking system used for identifying and locating sea vessels. Information provided by transponders installed on seagoing vessels include unique identification, position, course, and speed. The international maritime convention requires AIS transponders to be fitted aboard international voyaging ships with 300 or more gross tonnage, and all passenger ships regardless of size.
The Subic Chamber’s interest in installing an AIS antenna began when it requested and cannot get from the coast guard tracking data during the waste dumping issue last year.
President Danny Piano made arrangements with a German company (vesseltracker.com) and was able to
get the equipment for free in return for operating and maintaining the antenna.
Induction of the 2013 SBFCC Board of Directors
She 2013 Board of Directors of the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce (SBFCC) were inducted by SBMA Chairman and Administrator Roberto Garcia during the occasion of the State of the Freeport Address (SOFA) held at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center (SBECC) last March 18.
The Chamber directors accepted the positions and swore to its members to accept all responsibilities pertaining to the organization.
The Oath read: “I solemnly pledge, to do everything within my capabilities and power, to uphold the trust they have reposed in me, and to exert every effort to live up to their expectations, and uphold faithfully, the Constitution and By-laws of the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce, without mental reservation and purpose evasion.”
The directors present during the induction were President Danny Piano, Vice-President Rose Baldeo, Treasurer Lawrence Lusung, and Directors Tom De Bruin, Lewis Strickland, and Jun Avecilla. Corporate Secretary Romeo Duran was not able to make it due to an urgent matter.
The seven-person SBFCC Board of Directors have two year terms. Elections are conducted yearly on a staggered basis where three positions are up for grabs one year and four positions the next year. Only representatives of Corporate members of good standing are eligible to run for a directorship position.
SBMA Department of Tourism recognized by the SBFCC
Rarely, the Subic Chamber recognizes and awards a government agency or organization that excels in its respective field. This year, the Certificate of Recognition was awarded to the Tourism Department of the SBMA.
The SBMA Tourism Department was recognized and appreciated for their success in developing, marketing, and executing tourism activities making Subic Bay a prime tourist destination. The department’s outstanding and professional efforts are worthy of emulation by other government agencies and inspire confidence and enthusiasm among Subic Bay stakeholders. Raul Marcelo, head of the department, received the award.
Labor Matching Congress
The SBMA Labor Department and the Subic Bay Workforce Development Foundation, Inc, in collaboration with the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), PMAP-Subic Chapter, and TESDA, held a Labor Matching Congress recently at the Subic Bay Exhibition & Convention Center (SBECC).
Representatives from various SBMA departments, local government units, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) participated as speakers during the event.
Atty. Roy Pastor, head of the SBMA Labor Department said during his Welcome Remarks that, “there is a need to dovetail school curricula, programs and projects for us to patch employment gaps and achieve Industrial Peace within the region.”
Representatives from the SBMA Group, on the other hand, shared with the audience the prospects of jobs and investments in the Freeport.
SBFCC President Danny Piano spoke about the needs of locators inside the Freeport and how the academe should prepare their students prior to entering the labor workforce and in addressing employment gaps.
The whole-day event culminated in a Q&A where panelists answer questions from the audience composed mostly of students.
Senate Finds Glenn Defense in Violation of Philippine Laws
SSenator Loren Legarda, last February 6, reported on the result of the three-month long joint investigation conducted by the Committee on Foreign Relations which she chairs, and Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, headed by Senator Chiz Escudero, on the alleged dumping of wastes by MT Glenn Guardian, a vessel owned by Glenn Defense Marine Asia Philippines, in seawaters abutting Subic Bay.
The 134-page report, with wide-ranging inputs from a number of resource persons and various stakeholders including the Subic Chamber, was comprehensive.
It found Glenn Defense guilty of non-compliance with the country’s environmental and marine protection laws.
It also instructed the pertinent government agencies to initiate administrative proceedings and to conduct further investigation to determine if the filing of a civil or criminal case is warranted.
New Year Giving
The Subic Chamber and Absolute Service Inc, in collaboration with former city Councilor Edwin Piano, the Kabalikat Group, JM Productions, and other civic organizations, conducted a giving program to underprivileged kids, women victims of violent crimes, and others last January 12-13. Various goods were distributed to the Niños Pagasa Center, Social Development Center, Center for Women, Center for Youth, Landfill Daycare, Nagbaculao Daycare, Lower Kalaklan Settlers, and Street Workers.
Happy New Year!
Bigger, better; this seemed to be the impression one gets from the celebrations and events that ended 2012. This can only mean one thing, progress had been achieved.
Olongapo City’s prelude to its Fiesta, the Beauty Queen Coronation Night even had Asia’s Queen of Songs, Pilita Corrales, as guest. It was an honor for the Chamber President to address the crowd during that special night.
The Fiesta parade that followed late in December was also one of the most participated parades seen in years. Marching bands, floats, and various organizations all joined in a more than kilometer-long column that started at the Freeport’s Rizal Gate and ended at Rizal Triangle.
Even the Toys for Tots program of the Subic Chamber and TATAG’s Children Christmas Party had more than triple the attendees compared to 2011.
The year ended with more than 13,000 enthusiastic folks proceeding to the Freeport’s Boardwalk to join the New Year countdown and watch the breathtaking fireworks.
A pretty good year indeed! Here’s looking forward to another!
Toys for Tots Campaign
BHundreds of underpriviledged children were handed with toys during the Christmas holidays, courtesy of kind-hearted and gracious donors from the Subic Chamber.
This is the second year that the Subic Chamber, in collaboration with the TATAG Foundation, had embarked on the Annual Toys for Tots Program. The objective of the program is to bring joy and smiles on faces of the less fortunate children and to provide a message of hope that will assist them in becoming responsible citizens.
Annual GMM at Global's Silk Pavilion
The SBFCC held a well attended and successful General Membership Meeting last November 27. SBFCC President Danny Piano presented a comprehensive report focusing on Memberships and Financial Standing, Accomplishments and Milestones, and result of the SBFCC Elections.
SBFCC Receives Scroll of Honor
The Subic Chamber received the prestigious Scroll of Honor Award from the Philippine Red Cross for recognition and deepest appreciation of sustained collaboration in the Red Cross ideal of serving for the well-being of man.
President Danny Piano kicks off the SBFCC 7th Annual Blood Drive, graciously hosted at Harbor Point’s Activity Center on October 24th, 2012.
SBFCC personnel, Olongapo Chapter of the Red Cross and Lions Club volunteered to assist in the typing, testing and collection of a total of 105 units.
Thank you to all the donors who gave the gift of life. Your precious donations will go to the Philippine Red Cross and will save lives.
Special thanks go to all the donors, Argee Gomez and staff at Harbor Point for logistics, SBFCC Vice President Rose Baldeo for sponsoring water and snacks for donors and volunteers and Ocean Adventure for providing free admission tickets to their facility to successful donors.
Without your help, we could not have accomplished such a successful event.
Mixer and Networking Night at Ford Subic
How about a brand new Mustang for tries? That’s what Ford had on display, right on the area where the mixer and networking night was held—at the Ford Subic dealership. Interested members had sit-in tries inside the iconic American car.
Members of the Subic Chamber had a great time overall which was made even better by the sumptuous food provided by Twin LL Kitchenette.
Subic Chamber Distributes Relief Goods to Flood Victims
The Subic Chamber distributed hundreds of family-size relief packs and heavy-duty multi-purpose 10’x10’ tarpaulins to various areas in Olongapo City, Subic town, and Bataan.
The areas, which were visited in four different days, include evacuation centers at the Sta. Rita Elementary School, the Sta. Rita High School, the Barretto Elementary School where dozens of already flooded families were also devastated by a landslide, the Nagbaculao fishing village in Barangay Kalaklan, Purok III-A in Barangay Sta Rita, New Ilalim riverside area, Barangay Mataain of Subic town, and a remote farming area in Hermosa, Bataan.
The operations were coordinated with barangay and town officials, the DSWD, the SBMA, various non-governmental organizations, and private citizens who wanted to volunteer their time.
Donations from various locators from within the Subic Bay Freeport started pouring in as soon as SBFCC President Danny Piano asked its members for help. “We have a bunch of kind-hearted members who are always willing to provide assistance to the needy in times of disasters. It is an honor and privilege for me to lead and represent our organization,” Piano said.
The donors include Subic Enerzone, PacTec, GrainPro, Global Development, RP Energy, Aviation Concepts, IDESS, Vision Air, PTT, Absolute Service, Printing Images, Subicwater, Nicera, Dataworx, SBDMC, KPMG, RCBC, and a couple of anonymous donors.
Subic Chamber receives commendation from the Philippine Red Cross
For having consistently and regularly donated hundreds of units of blood through its annual Blood Drives, the Philippine Red Cross awarded the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce its Diploma of Service.
The SBFCC Annual Blood Drive, which was started five years ago, consistently draws many volunteers and donors from all walks of life. This is yet another recognition given to the Subic Chamber for its many social programs.
1st Subic Bay Safety Summit
The very first and historic Subic Safety Summit was held recently at the Subic Bay Freeport with the theme “Safe… Safer… Safest Subic Freeport.” It was a collaboration by the newly launched non-profit Subic Safety Organization, PEME Consultancy, SBMA, and SBFCC.
The whole day event tackled the importance of safety in the Subic Bay Freeport, government regulations in safety & health, and others. It also launched the newly formed non-profit Subic Safety Organization where participants became automatic members of the organization. Guest speakers include SBMA Chairman & Administrator Roberto Garcia, SBMA Director Norberto Sosa, SBMA Public Health & Safety Manager Solomon Jacalne, DOLE-BWC Consultant Jaime Reyes, PEME President Donald Manalo, PEME Consultant Allan Cuya, and SBFCC President Danny Piano.
2012 Locators' Congress
It was the very first Locators Congress the SBMA Chairman and Administrator Roberto Garcia attended. A number of Chamber members, even if some disagreed, were actually surprised and appreciated how the Chairman answered the questions with evident frankness. Other senior SBMA officials including Attys. Monch Agregado, Joy Alvarado, and Redentor Tuazon were also part of the SBMA panel and helped answer some of the questions. (See SBFCC Newsletter for the Q&A)
Thanks to Vice-President Rose Baldeo for hosting the event at the Global Terminal’s Silk Pavilion.
2012 State of the Freeport Address
SBMA Chairman and Administrator Roberto Garcia presented last year's accomplishments of the SBMA as well as plans and programs for the future. The US$8.4 billion cumulative investments and 17% increase in 2011 despite the sluggish global economy top the accomplishments. Mr. Garcia also discussed the chalenges the SBMA is facing including the total cumulative loss of P7 billion since its creation in 1992. He said that the loss incurred by the SBMA is due to the low lease rates being given to investors, lack of additional land for new and expanding companies, along with an under-utilized airport, under-utilized container terminal 1, and ageing infrastructures and equipments.
The SOFA is an annual event organized by the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce.
Induction of 2012 Chamber Officers
Chairman Garcia inducted the 2012 officers of the Subic Chamber during the recent SOFA. From the left are Treasurer Lawrence Lusung, Corp Sec Romeo Duran, Chairman Garcia, Director Lewis Strickland, Vice President Rose Baldeo, and President Danny Piano.
The Subic Chamber recognized and gave a Certificate of Recognition to DTI-Zambales for its significantly improved and streamlined services, fair and equal treatment of customers, and clean and honest governance worthy of emulation by other government agencies.
Golden Eagle Member of the Chamber's elite President Circle
The highest category of the Subic Chamber's elite President Circle, the Golden Eagle Membership, was awarded to Rose Baldeo of Global Terminals & Development.
Israel Chamber and Subic Chamber signed Memorandum of Agreement
President Joseph Gueta of the Israel Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ICCP) and Prof. Danny Piano, President of the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce (SBFCC) recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement between the two organizations.
Each commits to continually develop their available resources to increase or sustain their level of trade and competitiveness in the world market. The SBFCC and ICCP shall also undertake to encourage its members and member companies to participate and support expansion and diversification of existing companies within the industry, and shall work hand in hand in developing strategies envisioned towards promotion of trade and investment between Israel and the Philippines.
The signing was observed by Ferdie Sarfati, ICCP Executive Directors, SBFCC Board of Directors, SBFCC Executive Director Susan Dudley, and members of the Subic Chamber during its mixer and networking night at the SeoRaBeol Grand Leisure Hotel. SBFCC Vice President Tom De Bruin made the arrangements for the collaboration of the two chambers.
Subic Chamber now ECOP member
The Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce (SBFCC) is now officially a member of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP).
The SBFCC started collaborating with ECOP since last year, particularly on matters regarding the minimum wage and on the KAPATID Awards. The Subic Chamber nominated five Subic Bay Freeport companies to the ECOP Kapatiran sa Industriya [Partnership in the Industry] 2011 Awards. One, Absolute Service Inc (ASI) came up as one of the winners. Twenty eight companies from across the nation were originally nominated. This was trimmed down to 13 from where the winners were eventually picked. Finalists included Nestle, Dole Phils, Toyota, Bridgestone, and IBM Phils among others. Dole Phils bagged the grand award. ASI received the "Strategic Local Talent Development" special award.
Absolute Service Inc president Danny Piano, who is also the current president of the SBFCC, received the award presented by Philippine President Noynoy Aquino.
ECOP is recognized by the Philippine government, through Presidential Letter of Instruction (LOI) 688 of 1978, as the single voice of employers, to be consulted by the government, together with labor, in the promulgation of a scheme which would promote and sustain an adequate machinery for cooperation between labor and management at appropriate levels of the enterprise.
SBFCC Relief Donations
The Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce was able to successfully distribute two batches of relief donations to victims of typhoon Pedring recently.
The first batch was distributed to two areas in Olongapo City, one on the evacuation center at Barangay Sta. Rita while the other was at the Nagbaculao cliff-side of Barangay Kalaklan.
The second batch was distributed to one of the hardest hit areas in Luzon—Calumpit, Bulacan.
The Chamber thanks all the donors and volunteers who kind-heartedly provided cash, goods, and support. As we distributed our relief goods to the disaster victims, the resulting glimmer of hope from their otherwise desperate eyes, set on miserable and bleak surroundings, is enough indication that the Subic Chamber, once again, made a difference on the lives of others.
Our donations were immensely appreciated!
Subic Freeport chief brushes off move to close facility
A top official of the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce (SBFCC) brushed off the suggestion of Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. that this Freeport should be closed to curb oil smuggling.
SBFCC President Danny Piano said Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp President Edgar Chua could have made that statement in an emotional haste.
He also clarified that the economy in Subic Bay Freeport is not only worth P10 billion, but its exports alone already amounted to more than P50 billion.
“We are talking about affecting more than a thousand businesses and about 100,000 workers in those two areas who are going to lose their jobs. The social impact is certainly worth more than the taxes in question,” said Piano.
Chua in a report proposed shutting down major Freeport zone in the country to curb oil smuggling, which he said eroded tax revenues of the government by up to P30 billion a year.
Chua was also quoted saying that Subic Bay Freeport and Phividec Industrial Estate in Misamis Oriental have been the main entry point for oil smuggling.
“I do sympathize with Mr. Chua, though, regarding the rampant smuggling of oil although I think this is not limited to Subic or Phividec. But no, I disagree with the blanket statement that locators are abusing their tax-free privilege. That is certainly not the case,” added Piano.
The Freeport head pointed out that oil smuggling is a long standing Bureau of Customs problem which is not procedurally difficult to control.
“It’s not like oil tankers can sneak unseen in the first place,” he emphasized. -by Anthony Bayarong, Philippine Star
SBFCC Blood Drive a Success
The Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce (SBFCC), in cooperation with the Philippine Red Cross and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) conducted yet another mass blood donation drive last October 18. This is the SBFCC’s 5th since it started the project in 2007.
2011 International Coastal Cleanup
Kids are just amazing! Heavy rains did not even hinder their enthusiasm one bit. They continued to remove thrash from our coastlines and waterways—with passion and gusto. You’d wonder if the world is better off with kids running the show instead of politicians. :)
Representatives from different cruise-ship terminals in Asia including Singapore, Japan, and Malaysia, were warmly received by SBMA and representatives from various organizations as part of the preparations for the formal launching of the Asia Cruise Terminals Association (ACTA) in October.
ACTA, in which SBMA is a founding member, was created with the aim to provide for a cruise-friendly environment, and a vehicle for regional cooperation in terminal development, operations, and management. It seeks to promote cruise terminal facilities and services internationally, targeting to establish an influential alliance leading to the emergence of a captivating Asia cruise playground.
“The Subic meeting will serve as a venue for the validation and ratification of the ACTA constitution and by-laws, which was discussed during the first Pro-Tem meeting in Singapore,” said Raul Marcelo, head of SBMA's Tourism Department. He added that as part of SBMA’s thrust to make Subic Bay a prime logistics, maritime, and tourist hub, the agency will facilitate the development of Subic as a cruise-ship destination by being an active member of ACTA.
GSBTB representative Jean Versoza and SBFCC President Danny Piano joined the group during lunch at Asian Spices Restaurant at Segara Villas.
Subic Bay Welcomes Dragon Boat Team
Members of the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation (PDBF) team were welcomed enthusiastically by the Subic Bay Freeport during the occasion of the feast of San Roque. A motorcade was conducted where students from several schools and employees from various companies lined up the streets to wave support to the team.
SBMA Chairman Bobby Garcia encouraged the team to use the facilities of the Freeport, free, for their regular practice. Deputy Administrator Raul Marcelo, head of SBMA’s Tourism Department and organizer of the successful event also said to the paddlers that they have our support and that they can have the whole of Subic Bay at their disposal.
SBMA, the Customs Agency, GSBTB, and the Subic Chamber presented plaques and certificates of recognition to the team. The SBFCC certificate states, “In recognition of your successful campaign at the 10th Int’l. Dragon Boat Federation World Championships held in Tampa Bay, Florida where, despite tremendous odds, you won five gold medals, two silver medals, and broke several world records. You bring honor, pride, and inspiration to the entire Filipino people.”
ICTSI Signs Contract to Operate NCT-2
International Container Terminal Services (ICTSI) has signed a 25-year contract with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) for the operation of the Subic Bay Freeport's New Container Terminal-2 (NCT-2). Subic Bay International Terminal Corporation (SBITC), a subsidiary of ICTSI, will operate the terminal. Administrator Armand Arreza signed for SBMA while Edgardo Abesamis, President of SBITC, signed for ICTSI.
SBITC, a long time member and active supporter of the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce (SBFCC), is a Silver Circle member whose General Manager, Reimond Silvestre, is also a member of the SBFCC's Board of Directors.
SBFCC Receives Award from the Philippine Red Cross
TThe Philippine Red Cross recognized the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce with a Certificate of Appreciation last July 15, 2011. The SBFCC provided the most number of blood donations at the Subic-Olongapo area. The awarding was held at the Olongapo City Convention Center during the mass blood donations in line with the Red Cross blood donations month. Mayor Bong Gordon, chairman of the Philippine Red Cross-Olongapo Chapter presented the certificate to SBFCC President Danny Piano.
Free Trade Forum
The Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce organized a forum titled "Doing Business in Free Trade Areas." It was held last July 7, 2011 at the Formosa Hall of the Gateway Park. SBFCC Vice President Tom De Bruin welcomed the participants and speakers including, among others, representatives from the Department of Trade and Industry.
New SBFCC Office Blessing and Inauguration
The new SBFCC office located at the ground floor of SBMA’s Regulatory Building at the corner of Rizal Hiway and Labitan St. was officially inaugurated and blessed last June 15. With close proximity to other offices and business establishments, the SBFCC will soon be offering additional services to existing and potential members including providing assistance to regulatory and other processes such as visa processing, GSIS insurance payments, and more.
The guest of honor during the event was no less than Administrator Arreza who was instrumental and, in fact, originally recommended the new office for a closer and more convenient collaboration between SBMA and SBFCC.
Subic Bay Summer Sports Summit
Fun! This was how many participants described the recently held Summer Sports Summit at the Subic Bay Freeport. The Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), the Lighthouse Marina Resort, and the SBMA staged a successful and very first Subic Bay Summer Sports Summit at the Boardwalk area of the SBF.
The sports summit featured several events including beach football, beach volleyball, open water swimming event, sand castle-making contest, and 3K and 5K fun runs.
CBD Sewage Treatment Plant
Subicwater inaugurated on 25 November 2010 its latest sewage treatment plant (STP). This plant will service the Central Business District, including the bayfront hotels, and should be a huge step towards making Subic Bay cleaner. Pres. Danny Piano and Joe Guthrie represented the SBFCC.
MOA Signing Between Central Luzon Chamber Presidents
Chamber of Commerce presidents from Region III including the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, Tarlac, Bataan, Nueva Ecija, and Zambales signed a Memorandum of Agreement signifying the cooperation and collaboration between the different areas.
Donation of Rescue Life Vests
SBFCC President Danny Piano's personal donation of 10 rescue life vests, through SBFCC's Security, Safety, and Rescue Committee headed by VP Rose Baldeo, were officially handed to SBMA during the GMM.
6th SBFCC Golf Tournament
The Chamber held for the first time its annual golf tournament at the Hacienda Luisita Golf Course in Tarlac. In the past, this would have been a very lengthy trip frought with traffic gridlock. But with the SCTEx, travel time from Subic to Tarlac is now a mere hour and along beautiful sceneries, too. The golf course itself is beatiful and obviously well maintained. The Chamber tournament was again successful, thanks to our sponsors and players who participated. The list of winners can be viewed here while photos of the tournament can be viewed on our Online Forum's Gallery.
Subic-Clark Milestones and Prospects Forum
About 500 high ranking government officials, headed by President Arroyo, and businessmen from the Subic Clark corridor attended the Subic-Clark Milestones and Prospects forum at the Grand Ballroom of Holiday Inn Clark. Presentors include former SCADC Chairman Ed Pamintuan and GGLC President Dennis Wright. An Open Forum was also conducted with questions from the audience asked from panelists: SBMA's Armand Arreza, CDC's Benigno Ricafort, CIAC's Victor Luciano, GGLC's Dennis Wright, CILA's Simon Morley, and SBFCC's Danny Piano.
PRA, SBMA, SBFCC Tripartite MOA
After almost a year of arrangements and negotiations, a Tripartite Memorandum of Agreement between the Philippine Retirement Authority, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, and the Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce is now official. The MOA commits the three organizations to continually help in the development and transformation of the Subic Freeport into a retiree-friendly destination. With the MOA, potential retirees can now apply, through the Subic Chamber, for PRA membership from Subic instead of going to Manila (click here for info about retiring in the Philippines). The Chamber can also provide assistance to establishments wanting to be accredited by the PRA.
In the picture from left to right are: Susan Dudley, former SBFCC executive director and instrumental in crafting the MOA; SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza, SBMA Chairman Feliciano Salonga, PRA Chairman Gen. Edgardo Aglipay; Prof. Danny Piano, SBFCC President and CEO of ASI-Phil Branch; Rose Baldeo, SBFCC Vice-President and CEO of Global Development; Lawrence Lusung, Chamber Treasurer and Senior Manager of the Bank of Commerce; and USN Capt. Eloy Bermudez (Ret), SBFCC Director and General Manager of Subic Dry Dock Corporation.
Message from the President
The 13th Baktun
Friends, here is my fearless forecast: the year 2013 would be good for the Subic Bay Freeport!
Okay, this is not based on any quantifiable economic data and stats—but simply because the Mayans said so.
No, I’m not drunk while writing this; maybe tipsy, but not groggy. Hey, it’s the holidays!
So, the apocalypse did not happen, and the world did not end; which means onward we march to another 5000 years.
Incredibly, according to a global independent market research company, Ipsos, one in ten people believed that the Mayans have prophesied the end of the world at the close of the 12th Baktun—21 December 2012 to you and me. So much so that a number of governments have told their citizens that the world won’t end. The Chinese government even had to resort to arresting people who were spreading doom and gloom.
Ironically, the Mayans said people predicted wrong and that they, the Mayans themselves, did not interpret the end of their Long Count Calendar as the catastrophic end of the world. Their calendar has simply run out, they said; nothing more, nothing less. In fact, the Mayan elders said that the correct interpretation was that the world will be transformed for the better—not end; a new beginning, a renewal, more like.
In this context, we can then look back a bit at 2012 and try to predict how things will roll inside the Subic Bay Freeport in 2013. Let’s look at the big ones.
The proposed marine cargo diversion to Subic and Batangas will be a big boon to the Subic Bay Freeport. At present, Subic’s container terminals only use 6% of its actual capacity. The Maritime Conference, organized by the Subic Bay International Terminal Corp (SBITC), a Chamber member, and SBMA, held here last August certainly helped at making businesses in central and northern Luzon become aware of Subic’s cargo potential. We hope that the recent big push by the Subic-Clark Alliance for Development (SCAD), headed by former SBMA Chairman Felicito Payumo, will at last make it happen. The container terminals were actually built during Chairman Payumo’s term as head of the SBMA.
This planned cargo diversion was long time in the making. I remember this being a regular item in the agenda of the SBFCC’s Business Development Committee during its frequent meetings with former Administrator Armand Arreza in 2011. I think it was he who made the request to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) to fund the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) study. In fact, the Subic Chamber is one of the first organizations the JICA talked to, in November 2011, regarding the study.
Should this push through, the year 2013 will certainly look promising to the marine cargo industry. It would also be a great income generation source for the SBMA.
Shipbuilding, too, is expected to continue to grow. Hanjin Subic, another Chamber member, which is now hiring more workers in addition to its 20,000 workforce, has catapulted the Philippines as the fourth largest shipbuilding country in the world. Add to that its new agreement with AMSEC, a subsidiary of Huntington Ingalls, to provide maintenance, repair, and logistics services to the US Navy, and you can very well imagine how huge this can be starting 2013.
Hanjin, in collaboration with the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF or Pag-Ibig) has even started building 1000 housing units in Castillejos for its workers, the biggest single housing project in the country today.
Shipbuilding in the country is so successful in stimulating the economy that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has even invited nine Japanese shipbuilders to expand and set up operations here. It is now one of the government’s preferred industries under the Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) plan where a ton of perks and incentives are given to new entrants.
The Subic Bay International Airport is another one that is starting to show promise. Not only is general aviation seemed to be booming as evidenced by the success of Chamber member Aviation Concepts, it looks like there is a chance that a carrier, Astro Air International, might actually start its Subic-Taipei and Taipei-Boracay flights soon.
The increased VFA exercises is also seen as another activity that is expected to stimulate further the economic activity within the Freeport and surrounding areas. While regrettable that it has to happen because of the Scarborough and Spratly issues, we’ll take what we can. The end of the world has already passed anyway. The Subic Chamber has even formed a VFA Committee, headed by Joe Guthrie, to make sure to follow events as they unfold.
I predict, however, that it will be tourism that will shine brightest in 2013. It already did very well in 2012 despite all the ruckus on environment-related issues. The Department of Tourism (DOT) has even declared the Subic Bay Freeport as the “Premier Convention Capital of Central Luzon,” due mainly to the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center (SBECC).
The SBECC, formerly the GVC Manufacturing building, was renovated around 2007. I vividly remember Armand Arreza telling me and John Corcoran, who was then the SBFCC President, when we visited the place while construction was going on, that he hopes it does not turn into a white elephant. A few months later, the 20th Ad Congress, the biggest event in the advertising industry, was held there and that started it all. It was one of the successful projects of SBMA and certainly one that helped spur tourism inside the Freeport.
While I am happy with the DOT declaration, I think that was a very modest and conservative pronouncement because the SBECC certainly rivals the Philippine International Convention Center, the Convention Center in Cebu, and even the World Trade Center in Manila. It is bigger than any of the three, truth be told.
Not only the SBECC, I was quite impressed, too, with how the SBMA’s Tourism Department, headed by Raul Marcelo, brought in and organized a good number of tourism events that continues to put the Subic Freeport on the map. I am so impressed with this department’s performance that when our good friend Susan Dudley gave notice (no, not because of the purported apocalypse), I had to scout from the tourism sector and found Donna Tamayo, a long-time acquaintance and now the Chamber’s Executive Director.
I am fairly certain that 2013 would be a banner year for tourism in the Freeport. Add to that Harbor Point, the newest and biggest mall in this area; possible airport commercial and general aviation flights; the likely completion of the Subic golf course; the scheduled renovation start of the Golden Dragon Resorts and Casino (former Legenda and newest Chamber member) this year; and then the completion of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEx) by middle of this year, which extends the SCTEx even more closer to Baguio, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for success.
Sure, we have our share of problems—smuggling and waste dumping to name a couple—but those will probably make us stronger, more alert, and learned. Two issues also: the CUSA and the Writ of Kalikasan on the coal-fired power plant, are both still in the courts. A decision on the latter will probably come out by next month while the former might take a bit longer. But, whatever the decisions of the courts will be, we can simply move on and continue to build the Freeport.
Incidentally, the ancient Mayans used a base-20 counting system (we use the decimal base-10) where a Katun translates into something like 20 years; and where 20 Katuns make for one Baktun. Their latest Katun ended at just about the same period as the 20th anniversary of the Subic Bay Freeport... and then it renews. Coincidence?
Yes, I agree with the Mayan elders that 2013 means a renewal. Yup, the 13th Baktun; it’ll bring forth prosperity, not upheaval.
Okay, that’s a pathetic wax poetic. But who cares. The world did not end. Happy New Year!