Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Clark, Kuwaiti group to forge deal on technopark

The Manila Times Reporter

Clark Development Corp. (CDC), the state-owned firm overseeing the former US airbase-turned-economic zone, plans to forge a lease agreement with the ruling Al-Sabah family in Kuwait to develop the Clark Technopark.

Antonio Ng, CDC president, said the Al-Sabah family will fund the development of the 228-hectare technopark to the tune of P1.3 billion through Peregrine Development International.

In a recent seminar for business journalists, Ng said the technopark "is a self-contained community industrial estate for light manufacturing with support services, park and open spaces." It is expected to generate 20,000 jobs once its development is completed in three years.

The technopark is one of the projects included in the master land-use plan to reflect the four main engines of growth of CDC.

CDC is tasked to develop 32,000 hectares of land in Clark Field, Pampanga. The whole area is divided into a 4,400-hectare main zone and a 27,600-hectare subzone.

The main zone will be divided into three areas for industrial, tourism and aviation purposes.

But all those plans may come to naught if the Supreme Court turns down CDC’s request for a tax amnesty for hundreds of Clark locators. If that happens, the state-run firm may also be open to lawsuits and huge financial losses.

Ng said the CDC locators can file a case against the company for an unfavorable decision of the Supreme Court because they will have to pay the 30-percent corporate income tax instead of the 5 percent stipulated in their contract with the CDC if the tax amnesty is not granted.

A motion for reconsideration filed by the CDC sought the approval of the Court for a tax amnesty to be given to more than 300 locators since the time the ecozone was created until the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) agreed to give some exporters incentives on March 11, 2006.

He said that if the locators will sue, CDC’s future gains will be threatened. CDC now provides jobs to around 37,000 employees, which require P4.5 billion in salaries and benefits.

The CDC is also responsible for P54-billion worth of exports, P40-billion worth of investments in the country, and a P1.2-billion worth remittance to the Bureau of Internal Revenue in 2005.

The state-run firm is pushing for the approval of House Bills 4900 and 4901, which will grant tax amnesty to locators. It had also asked the Department of Finance to give the tax amnesty its blessing.


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