BUSY SUBIC PORT. A stacker truck gets moving at the New Container Terminal in the Subic Bay Freeport, as the Singaporean-registered cargo vessels MV Thana Bhum and MV Spirit of Colombo unload container boxes in this photo taken November 4, 2014.

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT—Fresh from its victory in the sports tourism derby last week in Bangkok where it was named “Best Sports Tourism Destination of the Year,” Subic Bay has gained yet another recognition, this time as Asia’s “Fastest Growing Free Trade Zone” in the International Finance Awards 2017.

Aside from this, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), which manages the zone, was also cited for its “Best Social Responsibility Initiative.”

The awards will be handed out by the London-based International Finance Magazine (IFM), a financial-market information group, during the IFM Annual Award Ceremony scheduled on January 26 in Singapore.

Subic Bay’s first award recognized its emergence as a flagship of the Philippine economy and a catalyst of growth in the region, the SBMA said in a statement on Monday.

The second award cited the SBMA for identifying the social needs of the indigenous Ayta community in the Subic Freeport area and taking the initiative to positively impact the social status, earning potential and access to services of the members of the tribe.

The International Finance Awards recognize and honor individuals and organizations in the international finance industry that make a significant difference and add value, as well as herald the highest standards of innovation and performance.

Organizers said the IFM awards make a concerted effort to shine the spotlight on organizations in niche segments and those that exhibit brilliance in the unsung corners of the finance industry.

The other winners from the Philippines are: BPI Asset Management, as “Best Asset Manager,” Omnipay as “Best Payment Solutions Provider” and RCBC Bankard Services Corp. as “Best Credit Card Offerings.”

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said the agency considers it an honor and privilege to be listed in the IFM’s roster of excellence.

“These awards, which come on the eve of SBMA’s 25th anniversary, inspire us not only to celebrate our past, but more important, to forge our country’s future for the sake of our children and future generations by continuing to make a difference and adding value to Filipino lives,” she said.

The IFM awards are the latest in a string of international citations received either by the Subic Freeport, the SBMA or its officials mainly for excellence in the field of management.

In the Third Sports Industries Awards and Conference Asia held in Bangkok, Thailand, last week, the Subic Bay Freeport was also recognized as the Best Sports Tourism Destination of the Year, while the SBMA was given a silver award for Best Sponsorship of a Sport, Team or Event.

Eisma was among this year’s winners in the search for the “100 Most Influential Filipina Women in the World,” which recognizes Filipinas influencing the face of leadership in the global workplace. She received the award during the 14th Filipina Leadership Global Summit scheduled from October 25 to 29 in Toronto, Canada.

In 2015 the Subic Freeport also emerged as overall winner for Asia in the Global Free Zones of the Year 2015 awards given out by fDi Magazine, a publication of The Financial Times of London.

As of now, the Subic Bay Freeport has more than 126,000 workers employed by a total of 2,897 companies variously engaged in shipbuilding and other marine-related business, tourism, information and communications technology, manufacturing and services.

Eisma said with committed investments surpassing the $1.4-billion mark in the first quarter of this year, the Subic Freeport is expected make more significant strides in the Philippine economy in the coming years.

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