Export from Clark City this year is expected to equal if not surpass marginally the $6.8 billion exports performance last year, indicating the new metropolis’ resiliency amid the pandemic.
Vince Dizon, President and CEO of the Bases Conversion Development Authority, (BCDA), the parent company of Clark Development Corp. which hosts the Clark Special Economic Zone, said at the virtual economic briefing Philippines: Patchway to Asia in a Post Pandemic World that exports from Clark as of September this year reached $5.1 billion.
“We are on track to be equal despite the pandemic or marginally surpass 2019 exports,” said Dizon, citing that this performance only showed the resiliency and strength of investments made in Clark. He cited the investments from both the government and the private sectors are expected to continue beyond 2020.
According to Dizon the new government center in Clark ensures business continuity during times of natural calamities such as typhoons.
“The government has invested in new government center to make sure that government will continue whatever may happen in other areas especially in the capital,” he said.
According to Dizon, the importance of Clark developments for the Philippines can be summed up in one word “resilience.”
With strong typhoons affecting the country, Dizon said the Duterte administration’s major objective is to ensure resiliency and Clark is seen as the epitome in building this efficiency.
American-owned firms such as FedEx, Concentrix, Citi, and Cargill also pitched in why they chose Clark as their choice location.
For its part, Mark Shorney, FedEx vice-president for operations in Southeast Asia, said the expressway link between Manila and Clark as part of the government’s Build Build Build infrastructure program led their decision to expand in Clark with its $30 million gateway project.
Shorney said the expressway link will provide great freight capability and help Clark and Manila access to the world. He also commended its 700 manpower complement for keeping their operations up and running during the quarantine.
He cited government policy that allowed logistics firms’ unhampered operations during the lockdown enabling them to serve clients.
As the largest logistics network globally, Shorney said FedEx’s agility would enable them to handle the delivery once the COVID-19 vaccines are made available and help avoid straining the logistics players’ capability.
Aftab Ahmed, country officer of the Philippines Citi, cited the Philippines proven track record in handling crisis situations in its decision to invest in the Philippines. Its 6,800 strong back office manpower pool in the Philippines continued to support Citi’s operations in 98 countries globally without interruptions during the lockdown. The company delivered roughly 5,000 computers to employees’ home and procure Wi-Fi devices as functions are done via work from home arrangements enabling the company to deliver timely services to clients globally during the hard lockdown.
Christopher Matthew A. Ilagan, Cargill Philippines Inc. corporate affairs director, said they have been present in the Philippines for over 7 decades already and they are happy with its partnership with the government.
“We are always on the lookout for investments,” he said.