THE SUBIC BAY Metropolitan Authority is looking to expand its area by about 21,000 hectares, taking in land from municipalities in Zambales and Bataan.
In a statement on Wednesday, the SBMA said these include 9,000 hectares in San Antonio; 10,000 hectares in San Marcelino; 500-600 hectares in Subic; 500 hectares in Castillejos, all in Zambales; 900 hectares in Olongapo City; as well as 505 hectares in Hermosa, Bataan.
“We want these areas to be utilized as economic zones because we’re already running out of space in the Subic Bay Freeport,” SBMA quoted Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma as saying in the statement.
The proposed expansion, she added, “will sustain the growth of the Subic Freeport, attract more investments, and generate jobs for residents from nearby communities and other areas.”
SBMA’s expansion is to be effected via a Senate bill now up for plenary action that was filed by Senator Richard J. Gordon.
The bill, which proposes to amend Republic Act No. 7227, or the Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992, also seeks to increase the area of the Clark Special Economic Zone from the current 4,400 hectares to 35,400 hectares and authorizes the Subic and Clark authorities to draft master plans for their expansion.
If the proposed bill is approved, projects set in expanded areas will enjoy the same tax incentives as those in Subic and Clark freeports so that they can attract investments.
Congress is currently in the process of revising tax incentives to make them more time-bound and performance-based, and to remove redundant perks.
Currently, businesses within these economic zones enjoy a five percent rate of tax on gross income earned in lieu of all other national and local taxes.
The national government currently receives three percent from the gross income tax collected from Subic locators, while the SBMA gets two percent which it then distributes to the eight local governments whose areas include parts of the freeport and special economic zone.
Meanwhile, one percent of the five percent gross income tax collected in Clark and other special economic zones is remitted to the national government; one percent goes to the provincial government; one percent to municipalities or cities; and two percent to the governing bodies of the ecozones. — Janina C. Lim