The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is the operating and implementing arm of the Government of the Philippines for the development of the 262 square mile (670 square kilometer) area of Subic Bay Freeport (SBF) into a self-sustaining tourism, industrial, commercial, financial, and investment center to generate employment opportunities. This area was the former US Naval facility in Subic Bay.
|Spain discovers Subic Bay's natural deep and strategically located harbor and soon builds a naval fortress.||After almost 90 years as an American military facility, Subic is turned over to the Philippines after the Philippine Senate rejects the renewal of the 1947 US-Philippines Military Bases Agreement and the Mt. Pinatubo eruption destroys base facilities.|
|The US Navy selects Subic Bay as a repair and supply depot due also to its strategically located safe and natural deep harbor.||R.A. 7227 creates the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority to promote and develop the Subic Special Economic Zone into a self-sustaining, industrial, commercial, financial and investment center to generate employment opportunities in and around the zone, and to attract and promote productive foreign investments.|
On March 13, 1992, the Philippine Congress passed Republic Act 7227, known as the Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992, in anticipation of the pullout of the US military bases in the country. Section 13 of RA 7227 created the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) to develop and manage the Freeport which provides tax and duty-free privileges and incentives to business locators in the special economic zone.
Richard Gordon, then the mayor of the City of Olongapo, became the first SBMA chairman.
Mayor Gordon with 8,000 volunteers took over the facility to preserve and protect US$8 billion worth of property and facilities when the last U.S. Navy helicopter carrier USS Belleau Wood sailed out of Subic Bay on November 24, 1992 and started the conversion of the military base into a free port like Hong Kong and Singapore.
On its fourth anniversary on November 24, 1996, Subic Bay hosted the leaders of 18 economies during the Fourth Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Summit. By that time, this emerging investment haven had already successfully attracted companies like Federal Express, Enron, Coastal Petroleum now El Paso Corporation, Taiwan computer giant Acer and France telecoms company Thomson SA to establish operations in the Freeport.
Richard Gordon was SBMA chairman and administrator and was succeeded by Bataan Representative and Harvard Business School graduate Felicito C. Payumo in 1998.
In August 2004, Executive Order No. 340 was issued by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. This Executive order reorganized the SBMA Board of Directors and segregated the powers, functions and duties of the chairman and those of the SBMA administrator. Ayala Land founding president Francisco H. Licuanan was appointed SBMA Chairman and former Development Bank of the Philippines (DPB) chairman Alfredo C. Antonio was appointed SBMA Administrator in line with this Executive Order.
In 2006, Kings Point's US Merchant Marine Academy alumnus Commodore Feliciano G. Salonga was appointed Chairman/Head of Agency, and Wharton graduate Armand C. Arreza was appointed SBMA Administrator and Chief Executive Officer.
Succeeding Salonga and Arreza at the end of their six-year term was seasoned business executive and entrepreneur Roberto V. Garcia who was appointed by President Benigno S. Aquino III as SBMA Chairman and Administrator in 2011.