SBMA attracts P1.22 B investments in 2020

Published June 9, 2021, 6:30 AM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Some P1.22 billion of investments were committed by 69 locators in Subic Freeport in 2020 even as the pandemic affected 8,000 workers in the Freeport and triggered downsizing of exporters due to difficulties during the strict quarantine periods.

At the virtual Business and Investment Climate webinar by the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation Inc. (SEIPI), SBMA manager Karen Magno said that 60 locators are engaged in construction, health and wellness, logistics and ICT industries. These projects are also expected to generate 682 new job opportunities.

In addition, 16 existing locators are expanding with combined committed investments of P163 million and 264 employment opportunities.

However, the pandemic has caused companies to downsize operations including Nidec Philippines and Wistron Infocomm. Wistron, a laptop manufacturer, has $23.7 million investment in Subic employing 452 workers.

As of end December 2020, Magno reported that a total of 8,129 Freeport workers were affected including 2,265 who had been terminated or retrenched and 4,138 on forced leave. Another 3,642 workers were also on various work arrangement.

As a result, SBMA’s operating revenues went down to P3.20 billion in 2020 from P3.72 billion in 2019.

To date, SBMA is host to roughly 1,713, local and foreign investors with committed investments of $10 75 billion. There are a total of138,967 workers employed in the Freeport, including those working at the 105 manufacturing companies. Electronics firms in the Freeport have estimated investments of $1 billion and employing more than 20,000 workers.

To support investors in the Freeport during the pandemic, SBMA has implemented some measures including the extension of certificates of registration and tax exemptions. SBMA also approved some economic relief and assistance for enterprises, such as the waiver of penalties for non performing companies.

Magno further noted that Subic Freeport offers the most competitive rates for their locators. 

For instance, she said, Subic seaport rate is less expensive by an average of 30 percent compared to Manila and 12 percent cheaper than Batangas ports. Labor cost is also $8.75 per day. In terms of land lease rates, the Subic Bay Gateway Park offers $2.25 per square meter per month for vacant space and $4-$6 for warehouse space.

Its power rate is also at a low of $0.1350 per kilowatthour. Water rates for commercial establishment with above 501 cubic meter consumption is only $11.67.