Exec: Commerce in Subic not affected by sea dispute
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman Roberto Garcia clarified that the West Philippine Sea dispute has not yet raised threats or tensions and will not affect the flow of global commerce in the maritime area.
“As of now there is no threat. The ceiling between the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea remains free,” he said during Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc (PamCham) 53rd General Membership Meeting held recently at the LausGroup Event Centre here.
When the issue of security was raised during talks between port authorities and stakeholders, he noted that the Subic Seaport remains stable and secure. Thus, multimodal logistics and distribution companies should continue to practically ship their cargos through Subic.
He cited that one-third of the world’s shipping lines and vessels pass through the disputed waters.
When asked the question, “What are your steps in protecting Subic Ports for our national interest and business sake?” Garcia was quick to reply that the government has existing defense and security measures.
“If something has happened there, the Philippine government definitely has plans, as far as I am concerned.”
He furthered that the Philippines has capabilities to deal with external threats and defend its territorial claim, with the support of the United States and ASEAN alliances.
“Our government has clearly given us the freedom of navigation, and together with the ASEAN and the United States, we will firmly fight for our freedom of navigation in the West Philippine Sea.”