Ricafort’s forte

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    RESILIENCY. COMPETITIVENESS. Twin values at the Clark Development Corp. under the leadership of President-CEO Benigno Ricafort that ignited the export industry and spurred employment in Central Luzon.

    Resiliency. Competitiveness. Most manifest in the redefinition of CDC goals, in the restructuring of productive areas for optimum collaboration with the Clark stakeholders that translated to $891 million in exports for only the first half of the year but already comprising 33 percent of Central Luzon’s total export of $2.7 billion for the whole of 2009.

    For the record too, the first semester exports surpassed the year-ago level of some $387 million or more than a 93 percent increase this year, so Ricafort reported in his accomplishment paper “Expanding Development, Changing Lives.”

    Hard data this time from Ricafort: “The increase in exports volume this first half of the fiscal year was due to Nanox Philippines Inc.’s strong showing with more than $493 million in the first semester or an increase of 59 percent from the same January to June 2009…

    “Yokohama Tire Phils. Inc., on the other hand, also contributed strongly in the first semester as it placed second with a $106-million output – almost the same export volume last year…”

    Bullish over these accomplishments, with the manufacturing sector showing all signs that the upward trend would continue, the CDC is confident of reaching the targeted $1 billion worth of exports in the second semester.

    I hate to rain on Ricafort’s glorious parade of accomplishments, but there is something amiss here – at least from the perspective of my high school economics lessons.

    My dear teacher Mister Amurao impacted in my young brain over 40 years ago that exports, alone, were never indicators of profitability. The volume of exports were always ranged against the volume of imports, with the resultant difference serving as the determining factor of either gain or loss. Applied there is the basic cost-benefit ratio formula. As in: for the over P14 million Ricafort reportedly received last year, how much did he – directly and indirectly – contribute to the Clark coffers?

    So the CDC exports for first semester 2010 reached $891 million. So how much did the imports – materials for producing the exports, not to mention the labor cost – of the Clark manufacturing firms cost?

    For all we know the imports cost $1 billion, thereby totally negating what CDC is bragging about in exports.

    So Ricafort talked of a record 58,023 employment by the end of 2009, said to have complemented the entire region’s 3,889,000 partial count on employment for the year.

    So how many of these workers were hired, rather than recycled, during his term.

    So Ricafort talked of Clark’s P6.3 billion in actual investments as 19 percent of the region’s investment figure of P33.8 billion for 2009. So how much of these came from Subic?

    So we indulge Ricafort’s fancy: “Clark’s bigger contributions are forthcoming as the global economy recovers, as good projects in the pipeline are pursued, and the number of capability-enhancing measures instituted by CDC this year brings in positive results…

    “Ultimately, it is CDC’s performance as a development corporation that will determine the Freeport’s success. It is imperative that the development in Clark continue to elevate the lives of the thousands of people gainfully employed in the zone, along with their families.”

    So it is imperative too that Ricafort stayed put as CDC president-CEO?

    “A resurgent Clark Freeport Zone is merely the start. Clark proposes to be the catalyst for regional, if not national, economic development. Hence, CDC shall continue with its parallel development program which aims to uplift the standards of business in the area.”

    Yeah, so Ricafort shall continue with his parallel development program which aims to uplift further the P14-million standard of pay in 2009?

    Tooting one’s horn, a fortissimo.  A great trumpeter we have at the Clark Freeport.  

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