Posted 3 weeks ago
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – After months of debacle regarding the assumption of authority in the agency, a decision has been finally issued by Malacañan declaring Atty. Wilma “Amy” T. Eisma as both Chairperson and Administrator of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.
Appointed in September 23, 2016, the former SBMA Chairman Martin B. Diño was a presidential aspirant in the national election but withdrew and nominated former Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte as his substitute standard bearer of the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).
|Newly appointed SBMA Chairperson and Administrator Atty. Wilma T. Eisma holds hands with fellow agency officials and families in prayer during a thanksgiving mass|
Since then, former Chairman Diño locked horns not only with Administrator Eisma but also with the previous Officer-in-Charge of the Office of the SBMA Administrator Atty. Randy B. Escolango (who has since been appointed as Deputy Commissioner of the Insurance Commission, Department of Finance) over the bounds of their authorities. In addition, Diño was also in conflict with the Agency’s Board of Directors and other officials for allegedly overstepping beyond his functions as Chairman in the Government Owned and Controlled Corporation (GOCC).
In an appointment letter dated September 25, President Duterte appointed Atty. Eisma as Chairperson and Administrator of the Agency for a term which will expire on June 30, 2022. Moreover, the separation of the position of Chairman and Administrator of SBMA as stipulated by Executive Order 340 (S. 2004) by then president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was ultimately repealed by Executive Order 42 signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Madialdea.
The development came as welcome change by both employees of the agency and the various locators in the Freeport, most of whom explicitly made their support of Eisma known to Malacañan. In lieu of an extravagant celebration, the agency instead chose to hold a thanksgiving mass on September 26 to commemorate the event.
After the mass, employees and officials of the agency took to the stage to give short speeches regarding the situation. Most expressed their relief at the conclusion of the conflict which caused unnecessary confusion and delays in the operations of the agency in the past.
The first person who gave a speech was Ameth dela Llana, head of the SBMA’s Ecology Center and one of the most outspoken critics of former Chairman Dino. In her speech she described the development as an answered prayer and even thanked the former Chairman for “bringing out the best” in everyone and “uniting them in their goals”. She added that it was Dino’s actions which motivated everyone to show malasakit (an approximate translation of which is protective concern) toward the agency despite their fears. She closed by saying that with all of these experiences, everyone is better off with the knowledge that they can now handle “whatever adversity may come in the future”.
Other employees and officials who also shared stories were: Socorro Esteban, an employee under the agency’s Labor Department and former high school classmate of Atty. Eisma; Atty. Ramon O. Agregado, Senior Deputy Administrator for Internal Services; and Benny D. Antiporda, a member of the Agency’s Board of Directors.
As an admitted adherent of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series, Atty. Eisma walked to the stage to the tune of the series theme and accompanied by applause and cheers from the crowd. After thanking the attendees for their overwhelming support, she declared that her actions as both chairperson and administrator will be dictated not by how it will make her term appear successful but instead by how the Freeport and the surrounding areas will improve in the long run.
She elaborated by saying that, “this is my home and I would like to provide a beautiful home and a prosperous home to… …our grandchildren – so that has always been my goal.”
|Atty. Eisma, front and center, during her impassioned speech regarding her experiences these past few months|
“I wanted to give up. It was not easy. I did not ask for this job. If not for the overwhelming love and support that I get from you each and every time, I would have given up a long time ago because it was so much easier to walk away,” she noted
“This is not a victory for myself but a victory for the SBMA. There should be no gloating. We should all be magnanimous in this decision.” She then described how she never liked being congratulated and how it always made her cringe, and that now, this decision by Malacanan ultimately means that there’s more hard work in store for her and the agency.
“I cannot do this alone. I can provide you moral compass, leadership and vision but at the end of the day this cannot be done by any single person. The rest is all up to you. So we have to work together to make it happen”
She went on to share about her initial hesitation to even accept the offer for the position of Administrator late last year. She revealed how afraid she was of not being up to the task and how some people from the ranks of the agency seemed to question her capability to lead. It took her considerable time to gather herself and be confident in the task that she would ultimately undertake.
The new Chairperson and Administrator closed by saying that her job in the end is to unite everyone in purpose and to remind them what Malasakit is all about, “the basics of caring for each other and the basics of caring for SBMA.”
“The volunteers are all of us now. You don’t have to be the ones from 1992. The volunteers are everyone who stepped forward. It’s a fight for justice between good and evil – and good has prevailed.”