Clark Development Corporation (CDC) was able to cushion the negative effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic on the Clark Freeport zone.
CDC Vice President for Administration and Finance Mariza Mandocdoc said that as of December 2020, there were 1,226 operating companies inside the freeport.
“Our baseline would be December 2019, or what we call the pre-pandemic period. During that time, we have 1,260 locators. If we will compare that with the 1,226 locators in 2020, we can say that the reduction in number is just very small. It is just around three percent of what were originally operating prior to Covid-19, so we are happy to see that at least Clark is gradually recovering,” she said.
In terms of workers, CDC reported a 15.43-percent reduction in labor force from 136,418 in 2019 to 115,375 workers in 2020.
“A total of 115,375 workers is still a big number. Some of whom are on work from home arrangements. That means there are still 115,375 workers who are able to earn for their families. We are still happy about that,” Mandocdoc said.
She disclosed that though they reported a 5.84-percent decrease in exports in 2020, they are still happy with the $6.45-billion worth of exports inside the freeport.
When it comes to the tourist arrivals, she said the 19.22-percent decrease from 721,571 total arrivals in 2019 to 582,902 tourists in 2020 was expected.
“Tourist activities became the most restricted of the activities in the zone during the height of the pandemic so we understand that. But now it’s able to pick up. By 2021 we expect that that will already improve,” she said.
The good news, according to the vice president, is that total investments in the freeport zone increased by 3.38 percent from P237 billion in 2019 to P245 billion last year.
“Essentially, if you look at our statistics, while we were affected by Covid, we were not that much affected. We are essentially a working economy. Economic activities in Clark continue, that is why we are thankful. We have good figures and we are happy to see that we are part of the revival of the economy,” Mandocdoc said. SOVEREIGNPH