A site of historical significance where countless stories of heroism abound, Clark still holds its long-established character of hosting brave souls amid turmoil to this day.
Heroes, not clad in armor or full of ammunition, have risen in this premier economic and leisure hub in the Philippines—heroes that have stood up and remained at the forefront in the battle against an unseen foe.
If other developing countries are looking for a shining specimen of impeccable COVID-19 efforts, there’s no better example than this prime freeport zone in Central Luzon and the entity behind it.
Celebrating 28 years of exponential progress, Clark Development Corporation, which oversees the Clark Freeport Zone, looks back on its numerous efforts to mitigate the spread of the pandemic, and helping industries recuperate from the impact of the economic crisis.
CDC honors the bravery, heroism, and dedication of its employees, frontliners, and every individual who worked on the sidelines to help in the fight against an invisible enemy in COVID-19.
According to CDC, these “courageous individuals put their lives on the line every day to save the world from the dreaded disease,” as the state-owned corporation also extends its heartfelt gratitude to its locators “for helping vulnerable sectors of society during this time of crisis.” For its part, CDC also received various recognitions from different government agencies for its COVID-19 efforts.
While no one was spared from the challenges of 2020, CDC continued to grow by leaps and bounds looks forward to utilize 2021 as a springboard towards continued success.
To achieve this, CDC will be capitalizing on the spirited leadership and valuable contributions of its new man at the helm, Manuel R. Gaerlan, whose nomination as President and CEO was approved by President Rodrigo Duterte in January 2021.
Now, the retired PNP General, along with CDC’s Board of Directors and Executive Committee, is eyeing to boost the investors’ confidence in Clark.
“CDC has to re-focus its attention to economic reset, rebound, and recover to arrest the effects of the global pandemic,” Gaerlan said in a statement.
And how does this preferred area for business and career growth redefine its global competitiveness through best services that are at par with international standards or in any other countries in Southeast Asia?
By creating a sustainable impact on the economy and communities.
With its vision to make this Freeport one of the premier investment and tourism destination in the Asia Pacific Region, CDC, despite the far-reaching challenges of the pandemic was able to remain as the beacon of hope in the region by continuously providing employment, driving growth on its finances, and creating sustainable impact in the community through shared goals with its locators.
The Clark Freeport Zone was able to sustain significant figures on economic indicators which include employment, investments, and exports.
115, 375 – Workers
US$ 6.45 Billion – Exports
P245 Billion Investments for 2020 – up by 3.38% compared to P237 Billion in 2019
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority also shows that of the three Investment Promotions Agencies (IPAs) that posted double-digit growth in 2020, CDC led the way with 19%.
Creating a spirit of Bayanihan amid adversity
“Despite the looming uncertainty, a distinctive trait among us illuminates the spirit of communal unity and cooperation to fight an invisible enemy,” according to the state-owned corporation.
Clark, despite having to deal with the effects of COVID-19, still acted as a safe haven for locally stranded individuals or LSIs.
These LSIs first came to being in Clark when some 200 passengers, most of them OFWs, found themselves stranded at the Clark International Airport (CRK).
But through the efforts of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), Clark Development Corporation (CDC), Clark International Airport Corporation, and Luzon International Premier Airport Development Corporation (LIPAD), the stranded passengers were provided the necessary assistance—free food, and lodging in various locations in Clark.
Clark Freeport also helped host local government units or LGUs like the cities of Angeles and Mabalacat.
A total of P10.5 million worth of medicines, medical equipment, rice, canned goods was given to the LGUs at the height of the lockdown in Central Luzon, forming part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program of CDC for the Metro Clark Advisory Council (MCAC).
Moreover, the Clark Freeport converted buildings into COVID-19 Facilities to bolster the fight against the pandemic.
Barely two weeks into the enforcement of Enhanced Community Quarantine for the entire Luzon, officials of BCDA and CDC immediately set into motion the conversion of some of its existing facilities inside the Clark Freeport and the New Clark City (NCC) into quarantine centers for COVID-19 patients in Central Luzon.
At the Freeport, the ASEAN Convention Center was promptly converted into a 150-bed Covid Facility. At the NCC, the Athletes Village was also turned into a quarantine area for suspected cases while the National Government Administrative Center (NGAC) also served the same purpose with its 688 beds.
The Clark Freeport Zone’s converted COVID-19 facility has proven to be effective towards achieving the government’s ‘locate, isolate, secure’ strategy under the ‘#WeHealAsOne’ battlecry to reduce, and eventually eliminate, the effects of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Commission on Audit (COA) has likewise commended the strategic measures initiated by the CDC-COVID 19 team, citing “CDC’s numerous COVID-response programs which include the establishment of COVID facilities, and the adaption of significant COVID-19 protocols that were benchmarked and emulated by other areas in the country. These and all the other notable projects of CDC became beneficial not only for this Freeport but also for its adjacent provinces and communities.”
Offices and divisions such as the Corporate Social Responsibility and Placement Division (CSRPD), Public Safety Division (PSD), Purchasing Division, Health and Sanitation Division (HSD), Accounting Division, Treasury Division, Information Technology Department (ITD), Property Management Division (PMD), Human Resources Division (HRD), Communications Division (CD), Engineering Services Group (ESG), Assets Management Division (AMD) and Transportation Section were also acknowledged.
“Whatever adversity the time may bring, this Freeport will remain steadfast in its commitment to creating inclusive development for all,” said the CDC.
According to CDC, it “underscores that the Freeport’s achievements are being realized through the contributed support and effort of various sectors of workers, investors, local government units and other neighboring communities of Clark.”