SUBIC BAY METROPOLITAN AUTHORITY
A PUBLIC SERVANT FOR ALL SEASONS
SBMA Senior Deputy Ambassador Ramon Agregado
talks about leadership lessons he has learned and wish
to pass on to the new breed of public servants
BY MARTIN SARMENTA
A leader’s life is filled with changes and challenges. But despite all these tests and shifting seasons,
how can a leader remain focused on serving and supporting the people?
Ramon Agregado, Senior Deputy Administrator for the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), has not only weathered the storms that confront leaders. In fact, he has used these trials as growth opportunities to help serve others even more.
BUILDING ON CURRENT STRENGTH
Before joining SBMA, Agregado already had a thriving private practice in Makati, taking on litigation work involving civil, criminal, labor, and corporate cases.
In 2005, however, he was recruited by then SBMA Administrator, Armand Arreza, to head its Support Services Group which included the Legal, Administration, and Finance departments. He was hesitant at first due to his lack of finance experience. Yet Agregado took on the challenge, learning the ropes and
persevering until he not only proved that he was equal to the task, but how he actually surpassed all expectations.
The sterling results of his efforts are much appreciated by the SBMA community, who are grateful
for his accomplishments.
This inspires Agregado to persevere with government work, even if at first, he thought he would not last. He shares, “You actually see how your work affects the community.”
MERGING DIFFERENT STYLES
Judging from his lengthy stint in government, Agregado is doing well, indeed.
He has served under two presidents (Macapagal- Arroyo and Aquino from 2005 to 2016) and is currently serving under the Duterte administration.
Likewise, he has worked with former SBMA Chairmen and Administrators—Chairman Feliciano Salonga and Administrator Armand Arreza (2005-2011), Chairman and Administrator Roberto Garcia (2011-
2016), Chairman Martin Diño (2016-2017) and OICAdministrator Randy Escolango (2016)—and is now
working with Chairperson and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma.
Agregado remarks that he did not only learn from his bosses, but used these lessons to make him a better leader himself.
From Chairman Feliciano Salonga, who was educated at Kings Point, the United States Merchant
Marine Academy in New York and served in the Navy, he saw the maritime potential of Subic Bay. Salonga
was “very cool and practical.” Thus, Agregado learned to face problems head on. “He wanted things given to him straight, no sugar coating,” Agregado recalls.
Then there was Administrator Armand Arreza, who was a finance expert educated at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. From him, Agregado learned the financial strategies and aspects
of running an operation. And since Arreza was also a former Undersecretary of Tourism under then Tourism Secretary Richard Gordon, Agregado also learned not just the potential of the tourism industry, but its complexities as well.