TURNOVER: Former SBMA head Roberto Garcia hands over the SBMA flag to Wilma Eisma symbolizing the turnover of his post to the lady lawyer.
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an order consolidating the offices of the administrator and chairperson of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority following a power struggle in the agency.
Duterte on September 25 signed EO 42, which "expressly” repealed Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s EO 340 issued in 2004 that created two top SBMA posts.
The president said the older Executive Order 340 "created confusion with regard to the scope of the authority, powers, functions and duties" of the chairperson and administrator. He said it "adversely affected operations of the SBMA, as well as numerous investors and locators."
Under Duterte’s new EO, the SBMA administrator, who now sits as ex officio chairman of the SBMA Board, has the following functions:
To execute, administer and implement the policies and measures approved and adopted by the SBMA Board;
To directly administer and supervise the operations and day-to-day business activities of the SBMA;
To exercise the powers of control and supervision over decisions and actions of subordinate officers;
To appoint, transfer, remove, suspend or otherwise discipline any employee of the SBMA in accordance with law;
To represent the SBMA in all dealings with offices, agencies and instrumentalities of the Government and with all persons and entities, public or private, domestic or foreign, unless otherwise directed by the President or by the SBMA Board;
To sign all permits, certificates, authorizations, and other official documents issued by the SBMA in the exercise of its governmental, regulatory, propriety, and commercial powers;
To execute, on behalf of the SBMA, all contracts, agreements and other instruments affecting the interests of the SBMA or where the SBMA is a contracting party, duly approved by the SBMA Board;
To direct and supervise the preparation of the agenda for the meetings of the SBMA Board;
To preside at the meetings of the SBMA Board; and
To perform such other functions and duties as the President may direct, or as may be assigned to him/her by the SBMA Board.
Eisma appointed as SBMA administrator, chairperson
In a bid to end the squabble in the agency’s leadership that had worried investors and traders operating in the port, Duterte also appointed SBMA administrator Wilma Eisma as the agency’s chairperson for a term expiring on June 30, 2022.
Duterte earlier designated Eisma as SBMA administrator in December last year—stripping Martin Diño of the position that he held concurrently as chairman of the agency. The two leadership positions caused a power struggle between Diño and top SBMA officials, including deputy administrator Randy Escolango.
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Meanwhile, Malacañang is yet to clarify the effect of Duterte's EO to Diño’s post.
Diño created a stir within the agency after he claimed that his appointment as chairman made him concurrent SBMA administrator.
This prompted Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra to step in and appoint Escolango, a lawyer, as officer-in-charge, following Roberto Garcia’s resignation as SBMA administrator.
Diño was presidential candidate of PDP-Laban during the last elections until he was replaced at the last minute by Duterte, who was then Davao City mayor.