MEETING IN THE NEW NORMAL. Clark Development Corporation (CDC) President and CEO Noel F. Manankil (2nd from left, 1st row) shared some updates inside Clark Freeport Zone to the members and officers of the Clark Investors and Locators Association (CILA) during their general membership meeting made possible through video conferencing. Also in photo are (from top to bottom) The Medical City – Clark Sales and Marketing Director Evelyn Yumul, CILA Chairman Dr. Irineo Alvaro, Jr., CILA President Frankie Villanueva, and other CILA members and officers including Pepz Zabat, Radito Tuazon, Dawin Malinit, Leda Rodriguez, Jeannie Ng, Angelina Casasola, and Rene Banzon. (CDC-CD photo)
CLARK FREEPORT – The Clark Development Corporation (CDC) and the Clark Investors and Locators Association (CILA) continue to collaborate in exploring various ways to sustain the jobs of thousands of workers in this Freeport amidst the pandemic.
CDC and CILA are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the operations of locators and employment of workers here will remain to be on track.
This was gleaned during the recent general membership meeting of CILA officers and members, where CDC President and CEO Noel F. Manankil shared updates inside the Freeport. The meeting was conducted through video conferencing.
In collaboration with CILA, Manankil said CDC can now focus on addressing the specific needs of each industry inside the Freeport.
“We have been looking at it before from a macro perspective, looking at Clark as one. But it now makes sense to look into specific industries to determine what is the best help that we can give,” he said.
The state-run firm and the officers and members of CILA are also taking steps to help locators and employees restart and recover in their operations.
“Our biggest priority now is to enable our locators to restart operations. So that is why we have been monitoring the number of employees reporting on a weekly basis,” Manankil mentioned.
In his report, Manankil said that as various locators here get back to business, more employees are now returning to work. He mentioned that 59 percent of the total labor force in the Freeport, or 78,686 workers, are now reporting to their workplaces.
Prior to the declaration of the pandemic, Clark has a total workforce of 132,969.
He also cited that a large portion of these workers are under the industrial sector. Of the 45,474 number of workers in this sector before the health crisis, 28,642, or 63 percent, are now reporting for work.
Manankil added that this was the result of the resumption of operations by 491 firms or 39 percent of the 1,262 locator-companies here.
Manankil likewise shared that the state-run firm has undertaken actions on the request of locators for a possible rental reprieve. He emphasized that CDC is one with its locators in surviving the challenges of the pandemic.
“We have written the DTI for authority to grant reprieve for the months of April, May, and June and we received a letter reply, basically saying that the CDC board can explore within its power and mandate to what extent reprieve can be granted. This was reported to the CDC Board and we have written and asked for guidance from two government agencies which are OGCC (Office of Government Corporate Counsel) and also COA (Commission on Audit). So, we expect this to be settled in one month. But in the meantime, we will not start collecting rent for the period of April, May, and June until it is finally resolved,” he said.
For their part, CILA President Francisco Villanueva Jr. said they will continue their initiative in supporting recovering industries among the locators.
“We plan to conduct workshops per industry where we can have representatives from CDC and CILA and talk about measures to take to support those industries to avoid an unfortunate turn of events,” he added.
Villanueva shared that a bubble housing facility for Clark employees is also in the pipeline as part of their measures to ensure the safety and well-being of the labor force in this Freeport.