SUBIC BAY Freeport - The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) reported Wednesday that committed investments in this Freeport for the first half of 2010 reached a total of $185.9 million.

The total investments signified a 100 percent increase compared to the previous record.

Updates on President Benigno Aquino III's presidency

SBMA Administrator Armand Arreza said a total of 56 new projects were approved by the agency in the first half, compared to 51 in the same period last year.

"Considering that we're still on the tail end of the global recession, it's quite remarkable that Subic would be hitting more than $37 million per month in terms of new investments," Arreza said.

"Last year, our monthly investments average in the first half was only about $17 million due to the financial slowdown that affected trade in Subic," he added.

Of the new projects, foreign direct investments totaled $114.58 million or an increase of 98.28 percent over the first half record of $57.78 million in 2009.

Local investments, meanwhile, reached a total of $71.29 million, a 140 percent increase over last year's $29.67 million in the first half.

Arreza said that once operational, the new investment projects are expected to create some 6,725 new jobs.

Arreza also noted the growing participation of local companies in the economic development of the Subic Freeport, as the global recession somewhat curtailed the entry of foreign investments.

Arreza added that seven out of top 10 investors during the first half of 2010 are fully Filipino-owned.

The biggest investment commitment, however, was made by the Chinese firm Sunnew-Subic Investments Ltd., which pledged $75 million for the construction of wind energy projects at two sites in the Subic Bay Freeport.

Arreza said that Sunnew-Subic has proposed to construct a total of 25 wind turbines, with the project covering a total area of 50,000 square meters at both the Mt. Sta. Rita and the Redondo Peninsula sites.

Once completed, these wind turbines will make Subic the country's first economic zone to have a renewable energy facility.

The project will produce about 50 megawatts of power by 2012, and will initially employ 103 workers.

Meanwhile, the second biggest investment project was pledged by Filipino firm Subic Bay Town Center Inc., which committed a total of $36.42 million for the development of a commercial center.

With a projected employment of 4,320, the Subic Bay Town Center project is also expected to be one of the biggest employers in the Subic Freeport in the coming years.

Tied in at third place in terms of committed investments are Alubat Aviation Composites Phils., a German-United Kingdom joint venture in aviation repair and maintenance services, and Vapco International Corp., a joint Jordanian-Filipino venture, which both pledged $15 million.

Rounding up the top 10 largest projects are: Sands of Triboa Resorts, a Filipino company with commitments of $14.37milion; Fertuna Holdings Corp., Filipino, $5.35 million; Holy Land Subic Foundation, Inc., Filipino, with $5.33 million; San Bernardo Shores Beach, Filipino, $2.21 million; Advance Subic Screw Inc., Taiwanese, $1.5 million; CW-Subic Bay Dev't, Inc., Filipino, $1.49 million; and Chinmei Metal Mfg. Inc., Filipino, with $1.45 million.