Posted 1 month ago
|kevinhamdorfphotography.com photo via google images|
Before it became renowned worldwide as the first successful conversion of a military base into a special economic zone in the South East Asian region and a good model for sustainable development, Subic Bay has long been considered as a haven for golf enthusiasts. The Subic Bay Golf and Country Club was a top destination for golfers during the American occupation of the Freeport.
And while the lease and development agreement of Subic Leisureworld, Inc. over the facility was pre-terminated by the SBMA due to contractual defaults, a new company has stepped up to the plate.
Subic Smart Community Corp., a Japanese company, will now undertake the rehabilitation and redevelopment of the long deserted golf course facility. As the local arm of the Japan Smart Community Alliance (JSCA), Subic Smart plans to use its specialization in urban development focusing on environmentally sound and efficient social infrastructures, including improved energy, transportation, water supply, sewage, and waste disposal services to transform the area into an international venue for golf tournaments and a first-rate retirement haven for the elderly and pensioners.
|The official logo of JSCA, a multi-industry venture dedicated to developing and implementing smart community systems|
Established in April 2010 with the aim to resolve and overcome the obstacles of individual organizations thorough collaborations of the public and private sector, the JSCA has since become the largest continuing-care retirement community in their country.
Subic Smart has committed to a US$ 30 million investment for the revitalization of the golf course and to construct a 200-unit residential structure in it. In addition to the development cost, the company will also be paying a fixed annual rental fee of US$350,000 and a five percent (5%) gross revenue share payable to the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.
The project will be developed in two phases: First, the entire golf course facility will undergo renovation to the tune of US$3 million and which is then projected to be completed within a two-year period. Although the overhaul will be quite extensive – machinery and equipment will be completely upgraded – the golf course is expected to still be operational. Specifically, nine holes will remain open to the members.
Afterwards, the company will fund a $27 million expansion project which will primarily focus on the 200-unit residential facility. The residential units will be complemented by numerous amenities such as a sport center, gymnasium, library, bars, restaurants, hobby areas and function rooms.
|Historic Population of Japan from 1920 to 2010, with projected population all the way to 2060|
Subic Smart’s decision to expand their operation outside their country has been driven by the fact that their country is purported to have the highest proportion of elderly citizens. While the percentage of the population in the 65-and-over group remained at around 5% during the middle of the 20th century, that number expanded tremendously. By 1989, it had grown more than double to 11.6% of the total population. It is now projected to reach almost 25.2% within the next four years.
At any rate, the golf course and the Freeport in general, as it pertains to the sport of golfing, appear to be headed to a brighter future. With various companies such as the Universal International Group of Taiwan, Hanafil Golf & Tour Inc., and Subic Leisureworld Inc. having handled the operation of the golf course in the past, it would seem that the place will finally get a long-overdue makeover under the management of Subic Smart
|The letter from then-SBMA Chairman Roberto V. Garcia demanding the collection of membership fees during the transition between Subic Leisureworld, Inc. and Subic Smart|
Nonetheless, while these developments are all well and good, what is most troubling is the fact that the facility has been poorly kept during the transition between Leisureworld and Subic Smart – the time during which operation of the golf course was handled by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. And yet, in a letter issued by then-Chairman Roberto V. Garcia, the SBMA Head states that the SBMA shall collect and demand the full payment of monthly membership dues covering the 13-month period.
As most members of the golf course would likely voice out, these fees are supposed to constitute maintenance and preservation of the golf course so why are they charging the members for a service that was not fully delivered?
In our honest opinion, this is something that needs to be addressed by the current Chairperson and Administrator of the SBMA, Atty. Wilma T. Eisma.
What do you think?