Subic-Clark roadshow highlights CL infra projects, investment areas

SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), along with its partner agencies, gathered local government officials and business leaders here on Tuesday to present updates on infrastructure projects under the government’s Build Build Build program.

The Subic-Clark Roadshow was part of a series of roadshows launched in 2016 to highlight the importance of cooperation among national, provincial, and local governments, as well as business leaders, to achieve the bold vision of President Rodrigo Duterte to bring the “golden age” of infrastructure.

Heads of government agencies pledge to work together for Central Luzon development. From left: CIAC Acting President and CEO Jaime Alberto Melo, BCDA President and CEO Vivencio Dizon, SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma, AFAB Chairman and Administrator Emmanuel Pineda, and CDC President and CEO Noel Manankil.

This year, the roadshow was expanded to cover Subic and Bataan.

Heads of BCDA, Clark Development Corporation (CDC), Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC), Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), and the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB) briefed key stakeholders on major projects that seek to improve connectivity within the region, attract investments, create jobs, and push economic growth further.

In last Tuesday’s event, SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma introduced the exciting projects lined up for Subic in the coming years, including the Subic Bay Freeport Grain Terminal, Redondo Industrial Park Development, and the SBMA Waterfront Reclamation Project.

Eisma also urged businessmen to invest in new ports in Subic. “We need new ports. It doesn’t even have to be a cruise ship terminal. Ngayon pa lang, we are already experiencing congestion. Manila is congested. We have to have that foresight in place. Build a port somewhere,” she said.

CDC President and CEO Noel Manankil cited Clark and Subic’s cooperation in working together to promote tourism and attract investments in Central Luzon. “Thanks to the SBMA leadership, they are sending us a lot of tourists,” said Manankil.

Clark’s tourism assets include the Marriott Hotel, the first five-star hotel in Pampanga; the Sun Valley Golf Course; and the Aqua Planet theme park. Several projects soon to open within the Clark Freeport Zone are the Hilton Hotel, The Sharp condominium units, Mirej Clark, Mimosa Plus, and the Clark Safari.

Clark is also expected to attract more domestic and international tourists with the ongoing expansion of the Clark International Airport. Jaime Alberto Melo, CIAC acting president and CEO, said the new terminal building will be operational by the second quarter of 2020. Upon full development, the Clark International Airport will be able to accommodate 80 million passengers per annum.

BCDA President and CEO Vivencio Dizon showed updates on the construction of the National Government Administrative Center (NGAC) in New Clark City. The NGAC project involves the development of back-up government offices to ensure continuous business operations in case of disaster or national calamities, and world-class facilities to be used for the Philippines’ hosting of the 30th South East Asian Games.

“Under the leadership of President Duterte, we are not just planning it; we are making it,” said Dizon. The construction of NGAC Phase 1A is ahead of schedule at 55 percent.

AFAB Chairman and Administrator Emmanuel Pineda meanwhile urged business leaders to invest at the Bataan Freeport as he emphasized efforts to improve accessibility and develop more investment areas. “We want to make the Freeport a work-and-play destination,” said Pineda.

Mr. Aurelio “Bong” Pineda, former president of the Metro Olongapo Chamber of Commerce, committed the support of the private sector. Speaking for the business community, Pineda said: “We accept the challenge that was given to us and we feel that it can be done, and the dreams can be realized.” (Dante M. Salvana)

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