MANILA – Filipino entrepreneurs from the United States-based Federation of Philippine-American Chambers of Commerce (FPACC) are planning to set up their own businesses in Subic Bay Freeport.
According to the FPACC, 65 of their members came to the country for a visit during the Luzon leg of the US Trade and Investment Mission and they met with Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SMBA), local industry leaders, and local government units (LGUs) heads.
The mission, which happened on October 17 to 24, was organized by the Central Luzon Growth Corridor Foundation Inc. in order to promote Central Luzon as a good investment destination.
Head of mission and executive director of FPACC Gus Mercado said that they want to bridge business and cultural ties between the Philippines and US through the chamber’s network.
He shared that the delegates expressed interest in real estate, eco-tourism, manufacturing, light-industrial machinery, and retirement facility.
“The majority of us here were born in the Philippines, and we have what they call pusong Pinoy,” said Mercado.
He added, “Our non-Filipino members of the delegation will understand why although we have been away for so long, we still have “pusong Pinoy”. Deep in our hearts, we are still Filipinos.”
He also noted that Subic Bay “is probably the only place in the Philippines where the US traffic laws are still being enforced” despite being converted into a free port.
On the other hand, SBMA chief operating officer Joven Reyes welcome the group warmly and provided them with information about the free port and the local business climate.
According to Reyess, SBMA was created by Republic Act 7227 “to promote and develop the Subic Special Economic Zone into a self-sustaining industrial, commercial, financial and investment center.”
He also said that it is the mandate of SBMA to attract investments in order to generate employment. To date, Subic is home to 1,500 business locators and about 90,000 skilled workers.
Reyes noted that SBMA has a good performance throughout the past years with a new profit of P1.2 billion in 2013. He added that Subic has an increasing net operating budget by 66 percent as of August 2014.