SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – Several road rehabilitation projects are either on-going or in the initial stages of preparation here as the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) began implementing a P530-million infrastructure program to repair roads and related facilities built when Subic was still a military base.
SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the Subic authority recently completed the P9.3-million El Kabayo road rehabilitation project and has now started the P18-million Argonaut Highway-George Dewey Complex road and drainage improvement project, as well as parts of the P369.7-million road rehabilitation package.
“More projects will be underway soon, so I ask Subic stakeholders, as well as visitors to the Freeport, to please bear with us the temporary inconveniences like traffic jams, and a little noise and dust pollution because of the on-going road projects,” she said.
“We’re doing this to improve the core business infrastructure here and to sustain the attractiveness of the Subic Bay Freeport as a globally-competitive trade and tourism center,” she added.
According to the SBMA chief, most of the road rehabilitation projects today are funded under the national government’s Build-Build-Build program. This was the first time that a massive road rehabilitation program is undertaken ever since Subic became a free port zone in 1992, she said.
Eisma said the agency was able to first secure from the national government a P500-million fund for the Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) rehabilitation program in 2017 and this was followed in 2018 by a P530-million fund for road rehabilitation.
As of now, the SBMA Board of Directors has approved and awarded two new major rehabilitation projects: the P76-million road rehabilitation project proposed in 2016, and the P18-million drainage improvement project along Argonaut Highway-George Dewey Complex.
Meanwhile, three other major projects are now up for bidding: Naval Supply Depot (NSD) Road Rehabilitation Project Phase 2, Road Rehabilitation Project 2018, and Road Rehabilitation Project 2019.
The 2018 road rehabilitation package is budgeted at P299 million and will include improvements at the Malawaan Park parking area, road ramp along Dewey Avenue, as well as repair of Waterfront Road, road to the New Container Terminal, Rizal Highway and Maritan Highway, as well as several roads in residential areas.
Meanwhile, the 2019 road rehabilitation package has a budget of P253 million and will consist of repairs along main roads like Argonaut Highway, San Bernardino Road, roads to Leyte Wharf and Sattler Pier duct banks, Rizal Highway, Boton Highway, Binictican Drive, and the approaches to Kalaklan Bridge and 14th Street Bridge.
On the other hand, the NSD Road Rehabilitation Project Phase 2, with a budget of P85 million, consists of repairs of roads leading to the NSD Compound where most of grain and bulk shipments are done. These areas have been battered by heavy trucks that carry tons of grain shipment coming from ships.
Eisma said repair projects are necessary because the US Navy-built roads have deteriorated over the years. “When I came back in 2017 as administrator, the first question that came to my mind was how come it seemed like there has not been any road repair in Subic, only to find out that there was no budget for that because the SBMA doesn’t have any assistance from the national government and we had to rely on our internal funds,” she said.
“Thus, I had to seek the assistance of Senator Richard Gordon, the first SBMA chairman, to get some funding for Subic included in the national budget,” she said.