Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) chairman and administrator Wilma Eisma concluded a weeklong business trip to Chicago on Friday not only with potential investment projects for the Subic Bay Freeport, but also with awards in international public service and business.

Eisma, who arrived in Illinois, USA on November 9 for an investment and trade briefing at the Morgan Stanley Building in Chicago, received the Award in International Public Service at the Chicago Filipino Asian American Hall of Fame Awards on November 10.

The award honors high-achieving Filipinos and Filipino-Americans who promote the positive image of the Filipino, not only in the Philippines and the United States but also throughout the world.

The awards project of the Chicago Philippine Reports TV and VIA Times Newsmagazine of Chicago had recognized the likes of former Ambassador Jose Cuisia, environmentalist Gina Lopez, former Ambassador Willy Gaa, and inventor and tech-innovator Dado Banatao.

Eisma is also set to receive citation on November 16 at the 15th annual Stevie Awards in New York, where the American Business Awards organization will recognize accomplishments and contributions of companies and business people worldwide.

The SBMA chief was named finalist for the Stevies in this year’s category for Female Executive of the Year in a government or non-profit organization, while the SBMA was listed as finalist for Organization of the Year award under the government or non-profit organization category.

SBMA port promotions manager Ronnie Yambao, who accompanied Eisma in the investment promotions mission, said that the SBMA group had been busy connecting with business and industry leaders, as well as Filipino community leaders in Chicago, in between the awards rites.

“After a courtesy call with Consul General Gina Jamoralin in Chicago on the first day of the visit, we attended the Investment and Trade Briefing at the Morgan Stanley Building with Commercial Consul Mel Lalunio,” Yambao related.

“In that briefing, Chairman Eisma talked to about 30 businessmen and venture capitalists for possible investments in renewable energy, manufacturing, logistics and supply chain, tourism, petroleum refining, construction solution and hydro power,” he added.

Among those that inquired about Subic were executives of Great Seas Holdings of Yorkville, Illinois; Dennis Wilmsmeyer, director of America’s Central Port, the center of the multi-modal freight transportation system in the United States; George Modrovic, CEO of Elfi LLC, a metal construction products manufacturer; and two US Marines veterans who will visit Subic with their group in February next year for a week of nostalgic tourism program.

Eisma said that a lot of American companies based in China are now looking into the distinct advantages of relocating in the Philippines. “With this, we want to take advantage of the situation to promote Subic as a competitive investment destination in the ASEAN region,” the SBMA chief said upon leaving Subic last week.

She added that because of the developing trade war between the United States and China, the Philippines is again becoming a favorite investment destination, not only because of its competitiveness but also with the advantages of the General System of Preferences and other free trade agreements.

“Now as the tide is turning, we have to seize the moment and make Subic stronger,” she said. (Ric Sapnu)