SUBIC BAY FREEPORT ZONE - The official statement of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) was released on Monday, regarding the security measures for Subic Bay Freeport Zone's seaports and airport. And it looks like, not everyone is happy.
In 2018, the SBMA launched the cruise tourism program and generated a lot of income to local businesses including SBFZ taxis, buses, malls, hotels, restaurants, etc. Hundreds of millions of pesos was generated in the past few years ever since cruise ships started to dock in Subic Bay Freeport's Alava Pier.
Cruise ships arrive with thousands of passengers mostly from Asia and Europe, some of them will be taken to theme parks, water parks and Pampanga by tourist buses and taxis, while some wanted to tour the Central Business District of Subic Bay Freeport Zone on foot.
This 2020 more than 30 cruise ships are expected to arrive in Subic Bay and the cruise tourism program will continue amid the 2019 coronavirus (2019-nCov).
Most of the tourists that arrive in Subic Bay by cruise ships are from Asia, specficially China, the origin of the dangerous virus. Thousands of cases were reported from across the world, while some were fatal.
The SBMA chief said that Health Secretary Francisco Duque advised that there is not a need just yet to stop the entry of cruise ships in Subic Bay in view of established safety measures in the Freeport.
Olongapo City mayor Rolen Paulino Jr. wrote a letter to the SBMA chief advising to stop accepting cruise ships until the coronavirus threat is controlled.
The SBMA has placed the Port of Subic on heightened alert as part of the safety measures being taken against the 2019 novel coronavirus which has spread from Wuhan, China.
The SBMA chief also said that Genting's World Dream cruise ship will be arriving to Subic Bay from China on January 29 with an estimated 800 passengers from the usual 4,000, the huge drop was also caused by the safety measures being taken by China in response to the coronavirus.
Although, workers, students, locals, are not so happy about the SBMA's response to the coronavirus. They are also advised to wear masks while in contact with tourists.
The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, especially the Chairperson and administrator have worked so much for this cruise tourism program that it's so challenging and stressful for a sudden situation to spark.
The Subic Bay Times supports both safety of the people around Subic Bay Freeport, Olongapo City, and surrounding areas and this big cruise tourism program of SBMA.