Monday, September 17, 2012
New SBMA Fees
SBMA has officially informed locators and residents that starting next month they will be charged a common usage fee. This controversial fee is an attempt to raise money for bankrupt Subic. Investors have pointed out that SBMA has been administered by a huge, inefficient bureaucracy and has been racked with corruption for decades. If it addressed its inefficiencies and corruption it could save more money than slapping a huge new fee on investors. SBMA administrator Robert Garcia has essentially said investors who don't like the huge new fees are welcome to leave and he has no plans to cut the massive SBMA bureaucracy. For residents, the hit will not be too bad. Residents now pay $10 (about 420 pesos) per unit per month to SBMA for various services. That will be increased to 1200 pesos. Most residents don't seem to mind the increase (of about $20 a month) as long as it results in improved services, such as better police protection of the housing areas. SBMA police who guard the housing areas are much better than what you would find almost anywhere else in the Philippines. They are responsive. They know their neighborhoods. They answer their phones. They respond to problems. They patrol. They generally (though not always) are not partnered with the criminals. The problem is they have dilapidated vehicles, limited money for fuel, etc. If SBMA can use the new money to get more cops on patrol in housing, residents will be big supporters of the new fee.