New Clark City as emerging hub pitched to Taiwan business community

CLARK – The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) has pitched New Clark City’s growth potential to Taiwan businesses, citing its smart, green, and resilient features, during a recent webinar on the relocation considerations of Taiwanese investors.

The BCDA, together with its partners, has hosted a series of roadshows and webinars to showcase the country’s new growth centers, including New Clark City in Tarlac and Poro Point in La Union.

BCDA Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Aileen Anunciacion Zosa, in a separate forum last February titled “New Clark City: The Philippines’ Next Growth Center”, highlighted the importance of physical connectivity to the global supply chain.

“Because physical connectivity is important to the global supply chain we are emphasizing in the development of Clark and New Clark City, BCDA will complete this year the direct connection from the new Clark International Airport terminal to the New Clark City through the completion of Sacobia Bridge, cutting travel time to 15-20 minutes,” Zosa said.

To date, there are 15 Taiwan companies operating within the Clark Freeport Zone, generating 4,933 jobs and accounting for investments worth $213.54 million. 

 Aside from access to world-class highways and the Clark International Airport, a bus rapid transport system, an integrated mass transit lane, and high-speed railways are all planned for development.

“In Clark, we do not just offer physical connectivity, but we also provide investors with a very environment-friendly and sustainable quality of life by offering generous pedestrian and bike lanes,” said Zosa.

 In order to preserve natural resources, only 1/3 of Clark’s total land area will be developed. The rest will remain as is, with infrastructure to be built around, not built over. Trees, greenery, and other natural features will constitute the majority of the development. 

 Zosa also shared to prospective foreign investors that the BCDA has engaged with multiple government agencies to set up offices and key infrastructure in New Clark, like the Department of Agriculture’s National Seed Technology Park as well as the Department of Science and Technology’s Virology Science and Technology Institute of the Philippines.

Bullish response

For his part, Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) Chairman Wilfredo B. Fernandez said that, “With a young, educated labor workforce averaging 23 years old, and the country’s increasing population from 105-million mark, the potential for growth in New Clark City is glowing. As investors search for economic zones with modern infrastructure to support relocation or expansion, I invite you to take a serious look at New Clark City.”

Along with investor-friendly laws like Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act (CREATE), which can offer up to 40 years of incentives, as well as the amendments to Public Service Act, Foreign Investment Act, and the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, “the future for business post-pandemic at the New Clark City could not be brighter,” Fernandez added.

BB International Leisure and Resort Development Corporation, a Taiwanese firm operating inside the Clark Freeport Zone, said “everything works” in the business hub. “Soon, we believe that Clark will be the center, the haven of international businesses not only in Asia but also all over the world,” said BB International President and CEO Irineo Alvaro Jr.

For Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO), the New Clark City is a promising venue for Taiwan investors. “The vision of New Clark City is for the citizens of the Philippines providing services and better city planning for the best interest of Filipino people. I hope that through this virtual seminar, Taiwanese manufacturers will have a better understanding of the investment opportunities in the Philippines, especially in New Clark City,” said TECO representative in the Philippines Michael Peiyung Hsu.

Poro Point’s growth potential

Banking on a young workforce, improved accessibility, growth potential and investor-friendly laws, Poro Point Freeport Zone (PPFZ) in La Union is being pitched to the Taiwan business community as a strategically located, emerging economic hub in the Philippines.

Zosa laid out the critical infrastructure projects that make Poro Point an ideal location for Taiwan investors to do business in.

“[Poro Point Freeport and Special Economic Zone] is actually the nearest property to Taiwan. In fact, it’s just a stone’s throw away from Taiwan and Xiamen, with Poro Point having an airport, a seaport, and tourism and a recreation/gaming complex, making it ideal for Taiwan locators,” Zosa said in the virtual event held a few weeks ahead of BCDA’s 30th anniversary on March 13.

Poro Point is home to the San Fernando International Seaport, which has three pier structures that accommodate all vessel types; and the upgraded 40.5-hectare San Fernando Airport, which is positioned as a choice of destination for aviation training.

BCDA, in partnership with the Department of Transportation, is also currently building the Php 35-million San Fernando Ferry Port Terminal inside Poro Point Freeport Zone. Upon completion, the terminal will reduce travel time to and from the surrounding communities of Alaminos and San Fernando, as well as Dagupan in Pangasinan, from more than five hours to just two and a half hours.

Offering a perfect blend for business and leisure, Poro Point also boasts of a world-class integrated Mediterranean-inspired resort with golf course and gaming and recreational facilities as well as various areas for mixed-use tourism and commercial development.

Other than the air, sea, and land infrastructure projects near Poro Point, the Department of Information and Communications Technology and BCDA has also implemented the Luzon Bypass Infrastructure Project, an ultra-high-speed information highway that will greatly improve the speed, affordability, and accessibility of broadband internet across the archipelago. The presence of a cable landing station at Poro Point strategically positions it as the IT hub of the North.

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