SUBIC, AUGUST 6, 2006 (MALAYA) At the helm of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority is Feliciano G. Salonga, a graduate of the US Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York where he was consistently awarded with the Scholastic Star until he finished his Bachelorís Degree in Marine Engineering in 1953. He attended the MBA program in the University of the Philippines in 1959-60, and is a graduate of the United States Mine Sweeping Course in 1956 and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Intelligence Specialist Course in 1954.

Salonga is also vice chairman of Bataan Shipyard & Engineering Co., Inc.; managing director of Marine Consultancy Division of B.P. Mata & Co., Inc.; marketing director of MLD & Associates, a marine consultancy firm, chief of the Aids-to-Navigation Group, Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary (PCGA) National Command; director of the O.B. Montessori Grassroots Leadership Foundation, Inc.; and president of the Mt. Pinatubo Hidden Temple Shrine & Community Foundation.

Prior to his chairmanship of the SBMA, Salonga was the president of Ganda Energy & Holdings, Inc., an independent power producer from 1997-1999.

Other positions he held were executive chairman of Sabah Shipyard Philippines, Inc. (1994-1999); president & general manager of Philippine Shipyard & Engineering Corp. (1987-1994); vice president for marketing of the Philippine Shipyard & Engineering Corp. (1984-1987); commercial manager of PNOC Marine Corporation (1981-1984); chairman of Traders Industrial Supply Co., Inc. (1980-1983); marketing director of Dynamarine Corporation (1966-1980); president and general manager, B.B. Fischer & Company, Inc. (1973-1980); senior department head for Research & Development Department of the Philippine Packing Corporation (1960-1963); Commissioned Officer (LT. SG), Philippine Navy, TF-04 Intelligence Officer, Patrol Force Staff Engineering Officer, Division 21 Chief Engineering Officer (1953-1960)

In February 2006, Salonga was awarded the Blue Falcon Award by his alma mater, the V. Mapa High School, for his achievements and contributions in maritime industrial management.

He was made an adopted son of Zambales, on October 24, 2005 in recognition of his goodwill and support to the people of the province "with the common vision for excellent service and development of the Freeport and Zambales Province."

In 1998, Salonga was named "Outstanding Professional Achievement Awardee for the year 1998" by the United States Merchant Marine Academy Alumni in Kings Point, New York.

He was also awarded a presidential citation for Successful Privatization of the Philippine Shipyard & Engineering Corporation by President Fidel V. Ramos in 1994 and "Adopted Son of Subic" for Service to the Community in 1989.

He is also former commander of the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary, 103rd Squadron (Zambales); former first vice president & director of the Philippine Shipbuilders & Repairers Association (PHILSAR); former president of the Shipbreakers Association of the Philippines, former president of the Philippine Independent Power Producers Association, Inc.; and former chairman & governor of the Chamber of Maritime Industries of the Philippines.

He was a member of the East Asia Committee of Lloydís Register of Shipping, London from 1996 to 1998, and the Technical Committee of the American Bureau of Shipping in 1982.

Chairman Salonga is a licensed 3rd Assistant Engineer of the United States Coast Guard and currently Commodore of the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary, Aids-to-Navigation Group.

Working closely with his Chief Administrator Armand C. Arreza, Salonga has helped effect major breakthroughs in the Freeport like the recent groundbreaking of Korean Shipbuilding giant Hanjin Heavy Industries Corp. (ADL)

A group of Chinese businessmen who recently visited the Philippines said the Subic Bay Freeport is now being regarded as "a big piece of cake" due to its strategic location in the Asian region . According to Arreza, the Chinese businessmen from Jilin Province regard the Freeport as an ideal place to open an investment hub in the region.

"Because of Subicís strategic location, the Chinese officials will be visiting the Subic Freeport to discuss with us the desire of the Chinese business groups to put up investments in Subic," Arreza said.

The delegation, led by Fu Xilai, the State Minister for Trade, and Yang Quing Cai, vice-governor of Jilin Province, visited the Freeport to meet with Salonga, Arreza, SBMA Senior Deputy Administrator for Operations Jose Calimlim, and Sec. Rene Diaz, Presidential Adviser for Central Luzon.

Arreza also said that the China Agriculture Technology Transfer Center, Grain Production and Processing Base will soon be constructed in Subic.

Salonga said that the good news only signifies the continuing confidence of the international business community in the government and that the economy of the Philippines is on the right track.

Salonga added that the Subic Freeport is anticipating a significant upsurge of foreign investments after the completion of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC)-funded $215-million port development project and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Tollway which will be completed by next year.

The tollway will link Subic to other industrial ecozones in Northern Luzon, particularly the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) in Pampanga and Luisita Industrial Park in Tarlac.

"Among the latest investors from China is the Hebei Jingniu Group, a large-scale transnational company based in China, which would infuse $300 million in committed investment for the setting up of a high-tech industrial glass production plant in Subic," Salonga said.

He noted that the SBMA Board of Directors has already approved the project proposals for the setting up of the China Agriculture Technology Transfer Center, Grain Production and Processing Base in Subic.

"There will be more than 5,000 new job opportunities that will be opened to Filipinos by these new companies. This is in line with the vision of President Arroyo to create more jobs to help promote better living to every Filipino family," Salonga said.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved