Vibrant commercial and industrial activities inside the Clark Freeport has steadily changed Central Luzonâ€™s economic landscape following a surge in investments, exports and employment generation since its inception in 1993.
In celebration of its 19th anniversary last April 13, we look back at its colossal makeover from a United States military installation into a bustling Freeport by highlighting achievements that had created a positive impression on both the local and national economy.
Unprecedented export record
Due to growing business confidence among locators and investors, Clark is one among the economic zones in the country to benefit from the influx of new business and increase in expansion programs by big ticket local and international companies.
In 2011, the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) earned a staggering $3.912 billion in exports – a historical 161 percent increase from the state-owned firmâ€™s US$1.453 billion record in 2010 due to impressive performances of its locators and investors.
According to the CDC, the entry of Texas Instruments (TI) in 2010 made a remarkable contribution to the export industry of this bustling Freeport with the $1.53 billion it posted last year.
Aside from TIâ€™s contribution to the CDCâ€™s 2011 exports statistics, at least $124 million in estimated service exports from the Freeportâ€™s Information Communications Technology and Business Process Outsourcing (ICT-BPO) sector counted for the state-owned firmâ€™s 161%-record increase.
Also, Clarkâ€™s export performance is equivalent to around 8.1% of the estimated total Philippine exports of 48.5 billion in 2011.
The following firms were responsible for Clarkâ€™s record-high export increase: TI, $1,530,164,426; Nanox Philippines, Inc., $791,064,999.14; Phoenix Semiconductor Philippines Corp., $566,091,472.48; Yokohama Tire Philippines, Inc. (YTPI), $298,059,468.72; L&T International Group Philippines, Inc., $145,104,643.34; and SMK Electronics (Phils) Corp., $98,493,605.67.
The top 5 exporting sectors of the Clark Freeport last year are as follows â€“ Electronics, $3,103,885,248.18; Tires, $298,059,468.72; garments, $226,884,390.58; other manufacturing, $131,355,636.92; aviation-related, $13,246,818.88; and other sectors, $139,335,526.76 for a total of $3,912,767,090.04.
Relatedly, Clarkâ€™s employment statistics also posted a significant 6% growth of 64,055 workers last year compared to Clarkâ€™s 60,162-strong workforce in 2010 â€“ the highest level of employment generated at the Clark Freeport since the CDCâ€™s inception in 1993.
The CDC in 2011 has signed a total of 207 projects with a total committed investment of P22,974,896,271.00 that would provide a committed employment of 8,206 workers.
Among the major investments signed last year include YTPI, which committed to infuse P14,620,000,000 worth of investments and a committed employment of 3,000 workers; SPT (Phil) Clark Corp. (investment) P285,000,000, (employment) 138; Bonsure Everrich International, Inc. (investment) P192,696000, (employment) 39; and Jamco Philippines, Inc. (investment) P171,000,000, (employment) 68.
Other notable projects and accomplishments achieved last year by the state-run CDC include the following:
ï‚§ United Asia Automotive Group, Incorporatedâ€™s $35-million investment for assembly lines for Foton vehicles;
ï‚§ The $40 to $50 million, state-of-the-art Philippine Academy for Aviation Training of Cebu Pacific Air and the Canadian aviation training firm CAE, whose groundbreaking rites was recently led by no less than President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III on Jan. 24 here; and
ï‚§ A budget of over P3 billion allotted for various key infrastructure improvements inside the Clark Freeport.
Some of the key projects completed, close to full completion, and on the pipeline are the Clark-Mexico Transmission Line Project (Phase 3A and 3B); security gates improvements for Clarkâ€™s Main Gate Entry Control Facility; and initial drainage improvements, among other projects.
Prime tourism destination
Clark will not be where it is now if solely focused on investment agenda. Clark is now one of the perfect travel destinations north of the Philippines. It offers an array of world-class leisure and recreational facilities like 36-hole championship golf courses, residential villas, specialty shops and restaurants, duty free shops, firing range, leisure parks, waterpark, hotels, casinos, and nature sight-seeing area.
With the presence of 24-hour, on-duty security personnel and hi-tech security infrastructure, the Clark Freeport is a sure travel destination.
The CDC envisions a consistent enhancement of its revenue programs by delving into a well-focused marketing strategy on transforming the Freeport into a premier logistics hub vis-Ã -vis a globally competitive economic hub.
With its proven experience to meet the challenges of the changing times, the CDC will continue to reinvent itself by constantly embracing its endearing commitment to manage the affairs of Clark and make it a byword in the international business circuit. (CLJD with reports from Clark Development Corporation)
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