SUBIC BAY FREEPORT -- Top officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) have released information on their financial position and business interests in connection with the government’s transparency and accountability initiatives.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said 12 of the 15 SBMA directors had already signed a data privacy consent form that allowed the agency to release their latest statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) to the public.

The annual filing of SALN is required under the 1987 Philippine Constitution and under Republic Act No. 6713, also known as the “Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.” The SALN should contain the true, detailed, and sworn declaration of one’s assets, liabilities, net worth, business interests and financial connections.

According to the statements on file, Director Julius Escalona has the highest net worth among the SBMA officials at P50.16 million. The businessman from Hermosa, Bataan declared total assets of P67.36 million, but has liabilities of P17.2 million.

Escalona’s biggest asset consisted of a batching plant valued at P30 million, and several units of houses and condominium units he acquired in 2015 and 2016 worth more than P20 million.

Chairman Eisma has the highest declared assets at P69.74 million, but her liabilities totaling P25.98 million gave her a net worth of P44.45 million, the second biggest among the SBMA officials.

Eisma, a lawyer who served as corporate manager with the Philippine affiliate of Philip Morris International before taking over as SBMA administrator in January 2017, listed her biggest assets as condominium units she acquired in 2005, 2013 and 2016. She also has some real estate business in Olongapo City.

Third in the list with the biggest net worth is former Bataan Vice Governor Rogelio Roque, who declared total assets at P27.35 million and no liabilities. Roque’s assets are mostly in the form of residential lands acquired from 1983 to 2008. He now has three relatives in the government, including daughter Maria Margarita, who is a council member in Limay, Bataan.

Director Brian Patrick Gordon of Olongapo City, meanwhile, listed total assets of P16.96 million and liabilities of P.92 million to end up with a net worth of P16.04 million, the fourth highest among the SBMA top brass. The son of Senator Richard Gordon listed three business interests in Olongapo City.

Next comes Director Jan Joshua Khonghun of Subic, Zambales, with total assets of P14.42 million, liabilities of P.41 million, and net worth of P14 million. His biggest assets consisted of four dump trucks used in his logistics business that are worth P11.8 million.

Khonghun has a construction business in Subic, Zambales and listed five relatives in government service, including his father, Congressman Jeffrey Khonghun of Zambales First District.

At No. 6, Director Edwin Enrile, a former member of the Bataan provincial board, has total assets of P18.5 million, liabilities of P6.5 million and net worth of P12 million.

A lawyer, certified public accountant and farm owner, Director Tomas Lahom III declared assets totaling P14.7 and liabilities of P2.68 million, thereby leaving him a net worth of P12 million. His biggest assets consisted of residential and agricultural lands, motor vehicles and farm equipment at the Lahom Farms that he operates in Nueva Ecija.

Director Maria Cecilia Bitare, an executive in international shipping and logistics, has total assets of P7.19 million, liabilities of P.3 million, and net worth of P6.89 million. She has two relatives in the government in Legazpi City.

On the other hand, Director Marvin Ted Macapagal from Olongapo City listed total assets of P3.8 million and no liabilities. He is connected with First Reliance International, a trading firm in Makati.

Not all SBMA officials, however, had net worth in millions. Director Cynthia Co Paulino, the wife of Olongapo City Mayor Rolen Paulino, declared total assets of P450,000 and no liabilities. Aside from the mayor, she also listed two other relatives to be in government service.

Meanwhile, newly appointed directors Rolando Ampunin of Subic, Zambales and Teodoro del Rosario of Olongapo City had similarly signed a consent form to release their SALN, although their statements would have to be filed only at the end of the year, as required by law. (Ric Sapnu)