IN CLARK, NO WORK STOP­PAGE AMID ASEAN MEET

Philippine Daily Inquirer - - REGIONS - —TONETTE OREJAS INQ

CLARK FREEPORT— The Philip­pines’ host­ing of the 31st As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions (Asean) Sum­mit has not dis­rupted busi­nesses in this 4,500-hectare eco­nomic zone.

No com­pany needed to close in spite of the three-day non­work­ing hol­i­day de­clared by Pres­i­dent Duterte in Metro Manila and Bu­la­can and Pam­panga prov­inces for the du­ra­tion of the event, which ends to­day.

“It will be business as usual [up to Nov. 15],” said Noel Manankil, pres­i­dent of the Clark De­vel­op­ment Corp. (CDC), the state-owned firm that over­sees the free port.

More than 930 com­pa­nies em­ploy­ing more than 107,000 work­ers in Clark con­tin­ued pro­duc­tion, among them the Yoko­hama Tire Philip­pines Inc. (YTPI).

The firm’s 2,000 em­ploy­ees had to be paid an additional 30 per­cent on each day of the three-day work hol­i­day, said An­gelina Casasola, YTPI vice pres­i­dent for ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Ja­panese man­u­fac­turer Nanox Philip­pines, Suther­land Global Ser­vices Philip­pines Inc., IQOR Philip­pines Inc., Luen Thai International Philip­pines Inc., YTPI, SMK Elec­tron­ics Phils. Corp., Coronation Pre­mium Man­u­fac­tur­ing Inc., Global Gate­way Clark and Phoenix Semi­con­duc­tor Phils. Corp. are among the top em­ploy­ers in Clark.

Clark served as a gate­way for world lead­ers who landed at Clark International Air­port last week­end. Clark also hosted a wel­come din­ner and pro­vided venues for at least three Asean Sum­mit-re­lated meet­ings.

More than 11,000 se­cu­rity per­son­nel were de­ployed for the Clark leg of the Asean Sum­mit.

“There was very mi­nor dis­rup­tion,” said Manankil when con­voys of del­e­gates drove to Metro Manila through a ded­i­cated Asean lane on the North Lu­zon Ex­press­way.

Se­cu­rity is ex­pected to ease to­day as lead­ers who ar­rived in Clark are depart­ing via Ni­noy Aquino International Air­port. “We were able to show that Clark International Air­port is at par with the other air­ports here and abroad. We can ac­com­mo­date var­i­ous types of air­craft,” said Alexan­der Cau­guiran, pres­i­dent of the Clark International Air­port Corp.

Most work­ers avoided the Asean ac­tiv­i­ties here by tak­ing the Ma­bal­a­cat gate of the eco­zone to get to work on time.

CDC had built the Clark-An­ge­les-Ma­bal­a­cat Road as an al­ter­na­tive to MacArthur High­way less than a year be­fore the sum­mit. The Mitchell High­way and other ma­jor roads were widened.

Clark exports reached $6.38 bil­lion or 64 per­cent of the to­tal $9.979-bil­lion ex­port in Cen­tral Lu­zon in 2015, ac­cord­ing to data from the Depart­ment of Trade and In­dus­try.

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