The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is set to celebrate its 28th founding anniversary on November 24 with a simple but solemn ceremony to recall the heroic deeds of volunteers in the early years of the Subic Bay Freeport and acknopwledge the contributions of present-day stakeholders who helped make Subic a premier zone for economic growth in the country today.
SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the morning celebration will feature a Eucharistic mass, followed by a short program honoring Subic volunteers and the recognition of finalists in the 2019 SBMA Employee of the Year Awards.
In the afternoon, the agency will conduct a bloodletting program in coordination with the Philippine Red Cross, which will be a reaffirmation that volunteerism is alive and well in Subic Bay Freeport, Eisma added.
The SBMA chief also said the SBMA will acknowledge its frontline workers who stood in the forefront of the agency’s help fight against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the Subic Bay Freeport area, as well as those who provided assistance to victims of typhoon and flooding in Bicol, Manila and Cagayan areas.
“More modern-day heroes are turning up every time there is a need to protect our community and help others. And I am glad to see that we continue to provide malasakit even beyond our borders. This is something we should also celebrate about,” Eisma added.
The Subic agency will observe its founding anniversary this month 28 years after the US Navy withdrew from the former US Naval Base on November 24, 1992. This impelled then Olongapo mayor and now Senator Richard Gordon, along with 8,000 volunteers, to protect the $8-billion worth of property left by the US Navy in Subic.
On the same day, 28 years ago, the US Navy helicopter carrier USS Belleau Wood sailed out of Subic Bay with the last remaining Navy personnel and their dependents, thus leaving Subic solely in the hands of Filipinos for the first time.
Since then, the Subic Bay Freeport became a self-sustaining special economic zone area that catalysed more investment and employment opportunities alike.
The SBMA was created as the government agency to manage the Subic Bay Special Economic and Freeport Zone under the Republic Act 7227, also known as the Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992, that was passed by the Philippine Congress on March 13, 1992.
As of June 2020, the Subic Bay Freeport is home to a total of 3,349 business enterprises which employed a total of 140,282 workers.
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