MANILA, Philippines – Despite the global financial crunch, job opportunities in Clark freeport zone continue to expand as 3,000 new jobs are about to open after four new lease agreements were signed recently.
Clark Development Corp. (CDC) president Benigno N. Ricafort said that job opportunities will continue to remain strong inside the Clark Freeport citing the recent signing of four new lease agreements with a committed employment of 3,000 workers.
To date, Clark’s total number of operational firms reached 434 infusing new committed investment of P36.51 billion.
Ricafort said the Freeport’s actual investment have already reached P68.63 billion from various Clark firms that are mostly industrial, garments manufacturing, tourism, IT and electronics, and Business Process Outsourcing industries.
Ricafort explained that his optimism for Clark is anchored on strong investor performance as shown by reports from stakeholders who continue to hold dialogue and consultations with the CDC.
“To address the effects of the world financial crisis, the CDC is working hand in hand with its locators and investors through the continuous holding of dialogue. Because of these regular consultations with Clark stakeholders we continue to improve our services,” Ricafort said.
Ricafort cited Clark’s proximity to Subic and the presence of infrastructure and facilities like the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) and the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) as advantages amid the financial crisis.
“One major advantage of Clark is its Freeport status plus the special economic zone at the Sacobia Valley giving investors a low five-percent tax rate,” Ricafort stressed.
Last year, investments in Clark freeport zone amounted to more that P14 billion with overall employment reaching over 57,000. Ricafort said that 164 investment projects have been approved in 2008.
Ricafort said both international and domestic firms opened or expanded their business in the Freeport zone. Of the 164 projects, 65 were newly signed while 22 are expansion projects.
The remaining 77 meanwhile are renewal of contracts and memoranda of understanding.
Ricafort noted that the new projects and the 22 expansion plans brought in a total of P13.11 billion
He said the initial P13.11-billion investments would increase to P14.12 billion on the fifth year. Also, the CDC is expecting a committed employment of 13,737 from the new projects.
Last year, CDC reported that the number of workers in the freeport zone increased by 5,780 bringing the total workforce to 57,790.
The increase in employment statistics, Ricafort said, had breached the 57,000 mark for Clark workers.
Ricafort said investments in Clark will reach $3 billion by next year. In fact, he said they are expanding the Freeport because many locators have signified interest in locating in the former American military detachment in Pampanga.
They are in the process of developing a subzone that is 10,600 hectares big.–Ma. Elisa P. Osorio, Philippine Star