Angeles City―Qualified residents living in the cities and municipalities around Clark Freeport must be given top priorities in the employment opportunities and other benefits generated by the growth and development in the former American base here.
Mayoral candidate Alexander Cauguiran, former president and CEO of Clark International Airport, said that communities surrounding the Freeport gave their concurrence to the creation of the Clark Special Economic Zone, a prerequisite for the conversion of the base land into economic use.
Speaking before the barangay officials and residents of Balibago, Cauguiran said “based on this agreement, qualified residents of Angeles and Mabalacat cities and Porac all in Pampanga and town of Capas, Bamban in Tarlac must be given priority in the employment inside the Freeport.”
The former CRK boss also said he is supporting the four business thrusts of the Bases Conversion Development Authority and Clark Development Corp. to pursue the further development of Clark Freeport Zone, Clark Global City, Clark International Airport Corporation and New Clark City.
At present, about 107,000 workers are inside the Freeport. This is expected to grow once the multi-billion infrastructure project of the government, private sector investors and current locators will be finished a few years from now, Cauguiran said.
Under construction are the government center, the sports complex for the coming 30th Southeast Asian Games, and the expansion of the passenger terminal of Clark International Airport, whose privatization for its operation and maintenance was already awarded by the government to the North Luzon Airport Consortium for 25 years.
The new terminal will increase Clark’s passenger capacity from 4 million to 12 million annually and will be partially operational next year.
Clark occupies several hectares of land within the territorial jurisdiction of Angeles and Mabalacat cities, Porac in Pampanga and Capas and Banban in Tarlac, as shown by Section 15 of Republic Act 7227 otherwise known as the Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992.
The first class municipality of Capas alone, where the New Clark City is located, occupies about 9,450 hectares inside the base of its total land area of 43,148.55 hectares.
Cauguiran also proposed a Memorandum of Agreement between the BCDA and its subsidiaries, Clark Investors and Locators (CILA) and the local government units to assure the employment of the qualified residents around the Freeport.
A human resource coordinating office should also be established inside the base to ensure the implementation of the terms and conditions of the MOA, he said.
The mayoralty candidate urged local governments around Clark to be ready and prepared for the social consequences of growth and development of the surrounding communities.
Traffic, peace and order, informal settlers, drug addition, prostitution, education, health services, sanitation, flooding and other must also be address as it affect the growth of the any business, he said
He also urges residents applying for employment to prepare themselves by undergoing further training to justify hiring by their employers.
Cauguiran stressed he recognizes the rights of the investors and locators to hire workers for highly specialized positions if no local residents qualify for the position.
“We recognize their rights to hire workers neither abroad or from other areas to meet the demand of their business,” he added.