Humugot ng kakampi sa Pampanga! Clark Freeport’s Pamintuan backs Romero’s takeover of Subic Port from SBMA

Clark Development Corporation Chairman Edgardo Pamintuan believes Harbour Centre Port Terminal’s takeover of the former American naval base from Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) will be good for the development of Central Luzon.

Pamintuan claimed that just as Clark is an essential hub for air commerce, Subic plays a similar role for sea trade, forming the Subic-Clark growth corridor, which is vital for the region’s global supply chain. “Both foreign and local investors, especially those in import and export, require infrastructure like Clark and Subic but at the right scale. Harbour Centre Port Terminal, Inc.’s entry into Subic will help provide this,” said Pamintuan.

Pier turmoil: SBMA’s Tan and Ponce silent on fate as Subic port’s future hangs in the balance as SC orders Romero’s Harbour Port takeover

His statement comes as Subic port operators, including Amerasia International Terminal Services, Mega Subic Terminal Services, and Subic Seaport Terminal Services, seek clarity from SBMA regarding the court-ordered handover of management and control of Subic Port to Harbour Centre. They are seeking information about whether Harbour Centre will assume full control of the port, including rate setting and existing revenue streams, reimburse their significant investments, and absorb their 1,292 employees.

Pamintuan argued that viewing Subic Port solely as a facility for the Freeport’s tenants is a narrow perspective. He believes that Harbour Centre’s involvement is crucial for driving economic growth and unleashing the region’s substantial potential.

The joint venture agreement between SBMA and Harbour Centre was approved in haste by then Administrator and CEO Armand Arreza a few months before the 2010 elections but has been vigorously opposed in court by government agencies specifically the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), Office of the Government Corporate Counsel, and succeeding leaders of the SBMA.

Nevertheless, Harbour Centre secured a 3-2 Supreme Court vote last year compelling SBMA to enforce the agreement.

Harbour Centre is owned by bilyonaryo Reghis Romero of R-II Builders. Romero used to own Manila North Harbour, which he reclaimed and developed, until he sold out his stake to International Container Terminal Services Inc. in 2019.