SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia said the Subic agency will jointly develop the area with the local government, after the latter declared more than 10,000 hectares of land and water area in the town’s southern tip as the San Antonio Economic Development Area.
Officials of San Antonio led by Mayor Estela Antipolo and Vice Mayor Lugil Ragadio met with Garcia here on Monday and presented a copy of Sangguniang Bayan Resolution 13-080, which enabled the conversion of the zone into an additional secured area of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
Under Executive Order 675, local government units (LGUs) can allow the SBMA to extend the free port beyond its current fenced-in “secured area” and into their territory by having their local councils pass an enabling resolution. The area of expansion also gets tax-and duty-free privileges granted by law.
In particular, the San Antonio resolution declared the coastal sitios of Silangin, Nagsasa and Talisayin in the Redondo Peninsula as part of the town’s economic development area.
The newly declared economic zone comprises more than half of the municipality’s total land area of 18,812 hectares and forms the western flank of the Redondo Peninsula.
The eastern flank of Redondo, which juts out into the mouth of Subic Bay, is under the jurisdiction of Subic, Zambales, and contains the South Korean shipyard of Hanjin, the world’s fourth-biggest shipbuilding facility.
It is also the location of a coal-fired thermal power plant being proposed by a consortium led by Manila Electric Co.
In Monday’s meeting, Garcia said he was pleasantly surprised by the swift action of the San Antonio municipal council in passing the resolution.
The resolution was passed on November 19. Garcia first announced SBMA’s expansion program when he made the rounds of neighboring LGUs in July.
Garcia said San Antonio’s decision to join the SBMA is very timely, since only less than 300 hectares of land is now available for development within Subic’s fenced-in area.“Many foreign investors are inquiring, and we are having a hard time responding to them due to the lack of available land,” Garcia told Antipolo and other town officials.