, July 2 , 2004
The inclusion of the Subic and Clark Economic zones in the 10-point agenda of President Arroyo has drawn popular support among Filipino and foreign investors here.

This was announced yesterday by Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Felicito C. Payumo in reaction to the inaugural speech of the President who stressed that both Subic and Clark would be developed into a major transshipment hub to spur economic growth in the country.

"The President has the full support of everyone in Central Luzon and Subic Freeport commits to be the leading edge in the fuilfillment of her 10-point agenda," Payumo said.

Payumo added that Subic investors have expressed full support to the economic agenda of the government for Central Luzon as several companies have already laid-out plans to expand their operations to create much-needed employment for residents in the region.

Payumo cited the entry of a cluster of Taiwanese manufacturing firms at the Subic Bay Industrial Park along with the expansion projects of a several Japanese companies at the Subic Techno Park (STEP).

"The new Global Gateway, creating inter-modal transportation park using the Subic Container Port Terminal, the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Toll road, is precisely to support that competitiveness she (President Arroyo) aims to establish," Payumo said.

He stressed that the toll road project will most likely be extended up to Rosario, La Union near the Baguio Special Economic Zone and Poro Point.

"The Northern and Central Luzon will become more competitive and it will also add vital support to her legacy points because this growth corridor will be the primary employer to help in creating six to 10 million jobs which President Arroyo wants to achieve during her term," Payumo added.

Subic Bay Development and Management Corp. (SBDMC) president Jeff Lin said that the entry of more Taiwanese companies is expected with the full-blast development of both Subic and Clark.

"Subic will become more attractive to foreign investments and economic progress in the entire region will be assured," Lin said.

Subic Techno Park president Ichiro Tsuji noted that completion of the projects for Subic and Clark will further increase export performance in the region that would require to open more job opportunities for Filipinos.

"If Subic and Clark would truly become a major transshipment hub in the international market like Hong Kong and Singapore, this will encourage economic progress in the country," Tsuji said.

Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce (SBFCC) president Jose Saddul said that the inclusion of Subic and Clark in the 10-point agenda of President Arroyo would build up "more confidence" of the investment in the Arroyo administration.

"Most of the investors depend heavily on the support of the government particularly in infrastructure projects like the Subic Port Development and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac road," Tsuji said.

Apart from producing computer and other electronic wares, this premier Freeport zone is also projected to become the country’s next major transshipment hub of agricultural products with the recent opening of modern bulk grain and the bulk fertilizer terminals that will help boost the government’s food security program.

Payumo said that with the full operation of this bulk grain and fertilizer terminal facilities, the country would be ensured of a free-flowing supply of primary agricultural products such as soybean, wheat, and corn as it will also help reduced the prices of fertilizer.

Also, Subic has become one of the country’s major tourist destinations with the opening of several themed-parks such as the Ocean Adventure, the ZooBic Zafari, the Butterfuly Garden, Insectarium and Tropical Bird Park that have boosted the tourism industry in the region.

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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