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Clark still a top investments hub

[ Manila Bulletin Online ] February 1, 2009

Seen to generate more jobs despite crisis, exec says

CLARK FREEPORT — Executives of Clark Development Corp. (CDC) are optimistic that Clark Freeport would continue to make a strong showing as an investment hub despite the worldwide economic slowdown.

CDC President Benigno N. Ricafort said that local and international firms have continued to consider Clark as sites for their investments.

With investments continuing to pour in on Clark Freeport, Ricafort said the former US military installation remains as a top generator of jobs.

He made the statement in reaction to a television report that more than 1,300 employees have been laid off in Clark and 40,000 more workers are going to lose their jobs this year.

The CDC president said the report was erroneous and did not reflect the employment statistics in the Clark Freeport.

Ricafort clarified that from November 2008 to Jan. 15, 2009, only 1,378 workers hired by 12 firms here had been adversely affected by the financial crisis.

He said the affected workers are mostly contractual employees hired during peak seasons to meet the increase in demand,

Of the 1,378 workers, 60 percent were temporarily laid off, and 30 percent were permanent laid off. The remaining 10 percent are set to be laid off.

Of the 12 companies, six are into garments manufacturing, four are in information and communications technology, and two are in the industrial sector.

The two industrial firms, Ricafort said, have permanently closed down, but only 58 employees were affected.

Ricafort said the figure represents only two percent of the total number of employees in Clark, which had a workforce of 57,790 as of January 2009.

Earlier, the CDC reported that the employment figures here had breached the 57,000-mark, noting an increase of more than 5,000 workers last year.

Ricafort said his optimism about Clark is anchored on strong investors performance as shown by reports by the stakeholders.

"To address the adverse 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 the regular consultations with Clark stakeholders, we continue to improve our services," Ricafort said.

Ricafort said that 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) are its advantages.

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