Clark Philippines - NEw ASEAN 'Mother of all investments' destination


By MARK ANTHONY N. MANUEL

CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga, Philippines – The Chairman of the three of the biggest companies in the country said that Clark Freeport would become the "mother of all investments" in the country if "relevant improvements in facilities and avionics as well as expansion of terminal buildings" will be erected inside the Freeport.

Kapampangan business tycoon Manuel "Manny" Pangilinan also said Clark is a great opportunity to be the center for call centers and business process outsourcing (BPO) services in the country as well as the hub for information technology for Central Luzon.

Pangilinan has compared Clark to Chenai and Bangalore in India, and Silicon Valley in California as an information technology center in the world.

Pangilinan is the chairman of the investment giant Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC), television station TV5, and Smart Communications, the biggest telecom company in the country.

He has also urged the national government to transfer the operation of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as the country's premier airport to the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) in Angeles City, saying that the former airport will already reach its saturation level in about three years.

Speaking before the awardees of the Most Outstanding Kampangan, Pangilinan explained that Clark is a prime candidate as the new premier international airport "simply because it is ready."

"It's clear that an alternative international aviation gateway is needed sooner rather than later," said Pangilinan.

The businessman also disclosed that is companies are planning a public-private partnership for the development of the Pampanga River as a bulk water source.

"This plan is designed to help minimize flooding in the province," he said.

Pangilinan likewise announced his desire to establish a tertiary hospital in the province, "to upgrade medical services to the Kapampangan."

Pangilinan was reportedly in talks with Ramon Ang of San Miguel Corporation for the development of DMIA's Terminal 2 and a high-speed railway that will connect the airport to Manila.

"It is a positive development," said Mayor Marino Morales, noting that any development at the Clark airport will also redound to the overall progress of nearby Mabalacat town which plays host to the airport.

Morales said the presence of the Clark airport, the modern Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx), North Luzon Expressway (NLEx), and the eventual construction of the high-speed railway will speed up the development of the northern part of Mabalacat as "Makati of the North."

DMIA plays host to foreign and local carriers such as Tiger Airways of Singapore that flies Clark-Singapore, Air Asia of Malaysia via Clark-Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu, Asiana Airlines via Clark-Incheon in South Korea with connecting flights to the US, China and Japan, Cebu Pacific Air via Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok and Macau while South East Asian Airlines (Seair) via Clark-Caticlan at the world famous Boracay Beach Island Resort.

Other carriers include Spirit of Manila Airlines via Clark-Taiwan and Jin Air a subsidiary of Korean Air with chartered flights to Incheon in South Korea.

It was remembered that top government officials in Central Luzon has urged President Benigno Simeon "PNoy" Aquino III to pursue the plans of developing the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) here as a premier international airport in the Philippines, following reports of supposed glitches at the Ninoy Aquino international Airport.

The Metro Clark Advisory Council (MCAC), composed of representatives from business and concerned sectors in Central Luzon and of mayors of towns surrounding the Clark Freeport, has issued a resolution for the development of the Clark airport following the spate of diversionary flights in Clark.

 

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