In Clark Freeport, only 39% of locator firms resume operation

In Clark Freeport, only 39% of locator firms resume operation

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Only 491 of the 1,262 locator firms in the freeport are operating, says the Clark Development Corporation

Of the total 1,262 locator companies operating at the Clark Freeport Zone, only 491 have resumed operation.

The Clark Development Corporation (CDC), the government-owned and controlled corporation that manages the free port, disclosed this on Friday, July 17.

A CDC press release sent to the local media quoted CDC president and chief executive officer Noel Manankil as saying that a collaboration with the Clark Investors and Locators Association (CILA) is being undertaken to explore “various ways to sustain the jobs of thousands of workers in this Freeport amidst the pandemic.”

Through video conferencing, Manankil told CILA officers and members during their recent general membership meeting that the 491 operational companies comprise only 39% of the total number of locator firms inside the Clark Freeport Zone.

He said free port locators had a total of 132,969 workers before the entire Luzon island was placed under enhanced community quarantine on March 17, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At present, only 59% of the workforce or 78,686 employees have returned to their workplaces inside the free port.

The CDC and CILA are finding ways to help locators 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. 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,” Manankil said.

He said the CDC has been acting on the request of locators for a possible rental reprieve.

 Manankil said the CDC had written the Department of Trade and Industry for authority to grant reprieve for the months of April, May,  and June.

“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 and also COA. So, we expect this to be settled in one month,” he said.

“But in the meantime, we will not start collecting rent for the period of April, May, and June until it is finally resolved,” Manankil added.

The CDC also quoted CILA president Francisco Villanueva Jr as saying, “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.”