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Diño scores big in SBMA

Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority chairman Martin Diño yesterday said SBMA bagged its single biggest foreign direct investment (FDI) in recent years, scored a record six new revenue increases this year, and doubled its fuel-storage capacity in 24 years after the Americans had left the former naval base.

Diño said the major gains achieved by SBMA in the first quarter of 2017 debunked reports of inefficiency and alleged leadership row hurled by his detractors who opposed his uncompromising crusade against corruption, smuggling and abuses of some Freeport officials victimizing business locators.

He said his exposes on a spate of smuggling activities at the Freeport like the sewing machine declared as scrap materials and petroleum products and the botched importation of white sugar and substandard steel bars might have enraged those behind the racket, including officials with pending court cases.

But Diño explained that he was only doing his job based on the marching orders of President Rodrigo Duterte to clean Subic of corruption and bring back the Freeport to its former glory as a leading transhipment and logistics hub in the Asian region and this part of the world.

He said he would pursue the filing of cases before the Ombudsman of ranking SBMA officials implicated by the Commission on Audit (COA) report in the ghost delivery of P50 million worth of RFID automation project which was designed to track smuggling of goods in Subic.

Diño said since he assumed office in October last year some high-ranking SBMA officials tagged by COA in its observation audit report have not yet rectified their disallowances while others were even promoted to juicy posts by the incumbent administrator Wilma Eisma.

He cited the case of Rannie Cruz, former head of the property office who was linked to the RFID ghost project, who was promoted by Eisma as his chief of staff and designated as head of the seaport department, one of the juiciest positions in SBMA regulating the docking of foreign vessels.

Diño said it is under his term as chairman and head of agency that the SBMA approved the proposal of the Singapore-based Dynamic Konstruct International Eco BuildersCorp. (DKIEBC) to build a $797 million new industrial estate at the Redondo Peninsula where the Hanjin shipbuilding firm is located.

Unlike in previous contracts, Dynamic Konstruct already paid P472 million in advance rentals upon signing of the contract to develop 900 hectares at the peninsula where the Filipino-owned RP Energy Energy Inc. of businessman Manuel Pangilinan and Aboitiz Power is building a 600-megawatt power plant.

But Diño said the rent awarded by the previous administration to a solar power firm for 800 hectares of land amounted only to a few centavos as well as for the redevelopment of the once popular Subic golf course that was also pegged at a ridiculously low price to the gross disadvantage of the government.

On the contrary, he said Dynamic Konstruct has laid out a P40 billion committed investment on the new industrial site that is pure raw land and rolling hills and is expected to employ some 50,000 workers in the various development projects to be established by a mix group of locators.