Starting July 1, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) in the Philippines will strictly require all freeport locators to first secure a permit to operate before doing business at the zone, two and a half hours from the capital Manila.
“If you don’t have a permit to operate, you have no business operating in the Subic Bay Freeport. The rule is, you need to comply first,” said SBMA senior deputy administrator for business and investment development Stefani Saño.
Based on recent findings, some locators have begun operating even if they have yet to comply with all Freeport requirements.
“This new system is not only beneficial to the government. It is also for the protection and for the interest of private businesses here,” Saño said.
Saño explained that in the existing system, the Certificate of Registration and Tax Exemption (CRTE) given to new locators before they open their business is also being considered as the permit to operate. However, as the CRTE does not spell out other requirements, like an environmental compliance certificate, the system allowed some businesses to go around these requirements.
“The new board of directors saw this flaw, so we would have to change the system and stress compliance first before operation,” he added.
At the end of last month, SBMA conducted a public forum with the business community to enlighten Freeport locators about the new permit system.
Signing Model Release by nongpimmy
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