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More Clark firms reopen; workers return

CLARK FREEPORT — At least 1,209 companies, or 96 percent of businesses here, have resumed operations this month, putting back to work 116,767 workers almost 10 months after the coronavirus pandemic slowed down the world’s economy.

Before the enhanced community quarantine was imposed in March last year, Clark had 1,262 companies and 132,699 workers.

Less than half of those figures maintained operations in the second quarter of 2020, according to reports obtained by the Inquirer from the state-owned Clark Development Corp. (CDC).

Exports declined in the last quarter to $5.4 billion (P259.5 billion) while imports totaled $3.6 billion (P173 billion), the reports showed.

Upward trend

“After the first three months of the pandemic, Clark slowly came back to life, economically speaking,” Manuel Gaerlan, CDC president, and chief executive officer, told the Inquirer by phone on Wednesday.

Citing economic indicators, Gaerlan said Clark’s performance showed an upward trend from July 2020 to December 2020.

“The number of locators returning … to operation continuously increased together with the number of employees reporting to work under the ‘new normal’ protocols,” he said.

According to Gaerlan, the manufacturing and industrial sector’s being bullish and active accounted for the positive balance of payment performance of the economic zone.

Though the tourism sector was “badly hit,” it is beginning to perk up, he said.

Top earners

Among the top revenue contributors in Clark in 2019 were Widus International Leisure Inc., Filinvest Mimosa Inc., and Eight Integrated Development Corp.

Also cited were Eaglesky Technology and Amusement Corp., Yokohama Tire Philippines Inc., L&T International Inc., Premier Central Inc., and Puregold Duty-Free Inc.

“For 2021, there is no other way but up,” Gaerlan said. “CDC is resetting and preparing for a strong rebound to help the nation recover.”

Clark Investors and Locators Association reported working with CDC in exploring ways to sustain the jobs of workers. —TONETTE OREJAS