By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Employment at the Clark Freeport Zone has reached 107,694 as of November 2017 this year, more than five times the employment at the peak of stay of American troops in Clark.
In a statement, Clark Development Corp. (CDC) President and CEO Noel F. Manankil reported there were a total of 943 registered enterprises, including some government agencies, that set up operations in the freeport.
The report showed that Clark has only 93,467 workers at the end of December 2016. The increase represents about 12 percent for a period of 11 months.
At the peak of stay of American troops in Clark, there were only about 20,000 workers inside the former US military facility.
The number of workers inside the economic zone has been growing tremendously since the conversion of Clark Freeport from military facility into a productive commercial complex that started in 1993.
The increase in manpower in Clark is being attributed to the sound investment climate and economic policies of the Duterte administration.
Among the biggest contributor of jobs here are Japanese-owned Nanox Philippines with 7,926 workers, Sutherland Global Services Philippines, Inc. with 6,071, iQor Philippines, Inc. with 5,857, L&T International Group, Phils., Inc. with 5,200, and Yokohama Tire Phils. Inc with 2,858.
The Japanese semiconductor firm Nanox attributed its increase in employment to the signed agreement with CDC and Clark International Airport Corporation for their P731-million expansion project here two years ago.
Industrial firms also employ the biggest number of workers with 49,055 or 46 percent of the total number of workers while the ICT/Business Process Outsourcing firms is the second largest employment contributor with 22,883 or 21 percent.
The employment generation is also expected to increase significantly once the components of the New Clark City project of the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) gets implemented in the coming years.
New Clark City is the country’s newest development project will feature mixed-use real estate developments for housing, a business continuity center that would also house national government agencies, an agro-industrial park that will provide a platform for research and development, and the Philippine Sports City inside 9,450-hectare at Clark Special Economic Zone.
Under the Build, Build, Build mantra of President Duterte, the BCDA was also able to start the construction of P9.3-billion passenger terminal project at the Clark International Airport last December 20, 2017. The project is being implemented in partnership with Department of Transportation, Department of Public Works and Highways, Department of Finance and Department of Budget and Management.