CLARK FREEPORT ZONE – The announcement of congressional wannabe, Vice Gov. Joseller “Yeng” Guiao last week of his plan – “once elected” to work for the conversion of the Clark Development Corp. into an authority has created “uneasiness” among the employees here.
“The conversion of CDC into an authority could trigger the mass lay-off of some 70 to 80 percent of the CCDC employees who do not have the necessary civil service eligibility,” an employee who asked for anonymity told Punto.
At a preas conference last week, Guiao declared that his first order of business once elected into office is to file a bill converting this freeport into an “authority” just like the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) in Olongapo City, Zambales; Cagayan Export Zone Authority (CEZA) in Santa Ana, Cagayan; and the APECO in Casiguran, Aurora.
Guiao said it is necessary to convert this freeport into an authority “”to chart its own course and give it stability” independent of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority and the Office of the President.
He explained that CDC had seen three presidents in only a short time. He said the CDC top executives lack security of tenure to fully implement their projects. He added that CDC should have its own Charter and corporate identity in order to negotiate with governments and big businesses.
But CDC employees chided Guiao for “not consulting with us” before making the announcement.
They said CDC is a “self-generating” and “self-sustaining” corporation and is actually “making money” that contributes to the national government coffers. They said if CDC is converted into an authority it could mean a decrease in their salaries to conform with the government standard.
“We will become beggars instead of donors,” they lament.
The employees also said that if CDC is converted into an authority, it will have to strictly follow government procedures which means an increase in the “bureaucratic red tape” which more often is circuitous and adverse to investors.
The employees said CDC could end up in the red like the cash-strapped SBMA. The SBMA has reportedly been in dire straits and, given its current income and operational expenses, would be unable to fully meet an P800-million yearly debt payment.