New Virology Center to be Built in Clark New City

COVID-19 has changed everything! The niceties that helped take the sting out of the monotony of life, such as going on weekend trips to distant resorts, eating out at restaurants or dancing the night away at clubs have been stripped from our lives. We have spread our wings and opening gradually, but then find ourselves closing-up society again when the infection starts to overload our medical system.  Tragically, an insidious and dangerous contagion continues to destroy our way of life. 

We find ourselves in the midst of the worst pandemic since the Spanish flu of a hundred years ago. With the inability to move freely and conduct commerce, we are paralyzed.  Not only is the health of our people in jeopardy but our delicate economy we all depend on is threatened.

Even after the Coronavirus has eventually subsided, whether by way of an effective vaccine or other means, the possibility of new (novel) viruses like COVID-19, which we have no group immunity to, is a very real and continuing threat to our worldwide societies. Rapidly growing world populations and climate change are just a couple of the contributing factors to new contagions spreading and reaping the same if not worse scenario on our country and world. 

Given what is at stake, the Philippines government has recently and proactively stepped in to plan for the inevitable outbreak of future contagions. Our government has designated New Clark City as the location for the new Philippines Virology Center of the Philippines.  What better place to locate a state-of-the-art infectious disease control center than in the modern, disaster-resilient zone of Clark New City. 

The administration has approved the establishment of this virology center as part of its growth in infrastructure program known as Build, Build, Build.  The project is the joint work of the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).  Vivencio Dizon, Presidential Advisor for Flagship Programs and Projects for the DBCC and president and chief executive officer of BCDA stated on Thursday, August 5, 2020, that the new Virology institute will indeed be located in the New Clark City zone.

This is good news for the nation and more specifically for our local region as it continues the move forward in building-out this major new hub of commerce and government administrative offices in the area, bringing additional jobs and growth of this new national capital region of Central Luzon.

New Clark City is a fast-growing track of land designated at 9,450 hectares (23,400 acres). Of this enormous chunk of land, only 3,500 hectares of this parcel are to be developed.  The remaining land will be green, open spaces for a cleaner, greener, and more ecologically desirable city environment to live and work. This area was formerly part of the U.S. military base Camp O’Donnell.  The sparkling new city is located within the municipalities of Capas and Bamban of the Tarlac Province. Administration offices for New Clark City are in Angeles, Pampanga as part of the Clark Special Economic Zone.

The government?s actions are indeed commendable.  During this exceedingly difficult life lesson we are all living through, we must learn from it, stay focused, work collaboratively and intelligently and with a set purpose of defeating this pathogen and future ones that will be lurking around the next corner. We must do everything we can to find our way back with a new proactive perspective.  We must look to the successful mitigation strategies of other countries around world and consult with and imitate their measures. After all, our entire way of life is at stake.  

Yokohama Tire and South Korea COVID -19 Pandemic Response, What We Can Learn

COVID-19 App on Cell Phone
COVID-19 App on Cell Phone

A Company and a Country COVID-19 Case Study

The Japanese Clark locator Company Yokohama Tire Philippines Inc, (YTPI) was recently commended for being able to maintain continuous operations of its Philippine factory throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.  Permission was recently given to continue their operations due to the company?s adherence to strict operational prevention and safety protocols. 

Local leaders from communities surrounding the plant and the greater Clark Freeport have praised this company?s efforts. These local community leaders were from the townships of Angeles City, Pampanga, Mabalacat, Pampanga and Bamban, Tarlac.  Mabalacat City Mayor Crisostomo Garbo gave the ok recently for the company to continue its operations. Angeles City Mayor Carmelo Lazatin, Jr. also expressed support for the company, offering to help in any way he can to maintain jobs during this crisis. 

YTPI is currently maintaining 80 percent production capacity. The company was able to utilize advanced safety equipment and safety measures to adequately mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in their work environment.  The policies and actions of YTPI?s executives allowed the company to continue operations, preserving the majority of the 2500 jobs at the plant thus far.  A remarkable accomplishment for any manufacturing company with that number of employees. 

The above case is one example, and proof that we are not rendered hopeless in the grips of a pandemic.  If, we are diligent and careful, utilize technology and are diligent, using learned measures to mitigate infectious spread, we can gain control over an otherwise uncontrollable enemy.  In the process we can continue our economy while minimizing the virus?s nefarious effects on our populous and economy.

We can also view other countries as models, while looking deeply at their methods used to minimize infections and deaths while maintaining their economies. Countries that have been able to bend the curve substantially include, New Zealand, Australia, and Norway. However, most noteworthy, given its proximity to the China where the outbreak occurred, is the example of South Korea.  

As of this writing, this technologically advanced nation of almost 52 million people has managed to keep their total COVID-19 deaths down to approximately 300, with a total of almost 14,000 confirmed cases.  As of this writing, compare this to countries such as the U.S. showing 146,000 deaths with 4.1 Million cases with ongoing deaths of over 1,000 per day.  While the U.S. has a population of approximately 328 million, the per-capita infection rate for the U.S. is 1.25%. Compare this to the South Korean infection rate of .027% which is a small fraction of a percent of the U.S. rate.  If you do the math, this works out to South Korea experiencing an infection rate of around 2% of the United States? rate.

Even though South Korea experienced one of the world?s worst initial outbreaks early in the pandemic in mid-February 2020.  A single person transmitted the virus to many of the approximately 1,000 other worshipers in attendance that day at a mega-church Daegu, South Korea. The South Korean authorities were however vigilant, jumping on the task of interviewing approximately 230,000 members of the entire church members. They found several thousand exhibiting symptoms of the virus.  By the end of February, to a large extent, the result of this single infection, Korea had the most COVID-19 patients outside of China. 

The above the action of the government jumping on the threat of further infection was quite remarkable.  Essentially, most of the members of the church were contacted and in cases of infection, self-isolated or hospitalized depending on the severity. Cell phone location data was used to investigate additional contacts outside of the church?s congregation.  Many of those with milder cases, were sent to government converted, corporate training facilities, to isolate and obtain more limited medical attention. Within only a few days, government officials ensured that thousands of people in Daegu, the city where the outbreak occurred, were tested for the virus. Mask wearing became the mandated norm, with few if any people seen without a mask.  Within a month, the outbreak in South Korea was essentially contained. Since the early weeks of March 2020, the daily rate of new daily cases fell from 800 to only in a few dozen and even in the single digits up until this writing in late July 2020.     

Korea managed to curtail and contain the virus much better than most of the rest of the world. What did they do right?  In a sentence, strict, accurate, quick-result virus testing, diligent and advanced contact tracing, governmental involvement in the isolation of people at all levels of infection, and the implementation and compliance with rigorous, prevention measures such as mask wearing, social distancing, and hand washing. Credit must also be given to the people of the country, whose diligence in conforming to governmental mandates and guidelines for mask wearing, social distancing and isolation were outstanding.

In conclusion, we must ask ourselves, what we can learn from employers such as Yokohama and counties like South Korea??? What aspects of their processes and procedures can we implement in our work environment and throughout our country? Our health, economy and quite literally our survival may just depend on it.

Clark, the New Aerotropolis

CLARK FREEPORT 7/22/2020 ? What is an aerotropolis?  Well, according to the website aerotropolis.com, it is ?a new urban form where cities are built around airports speedily connecting time-sensitive suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and businesspeople to distant customers, clients, and marketplaces.?  You may ask, what does an aerotropolis have to do with Clark International Airport (CRK)?  If the Luzon International Premier Airport Development Corporation (LIPAD) has anything to say about it, everything! 

Big plans lay head for the Clark International Airport in the coming years. This airport site projected to become the central focus of growth and development in the Central Luzon area.  LIPAD is the current contractual management company for the Clark airport, including the management of a massive 800-hectare parcel of land surrounding the airport within the Clark Civil Aviation Complex. 

Yet another acronym in this story for you to remember is ADPI which stands for Aeroport de Paris Ingenierie. So, what is this French sounding acronym?  This is simply a master plan and feasibility study accomplished in 2013 through a grant from the French government.  Just recently, the organization that is LIPAD said it is planning on updating its own master plan to include the ADPI airport development study. 

So, where will this take us regarding an aerotropolis future for Clark?  Well, LIPAD, in accordance with the ADPI study proposal, is planning for Clark to become the next premier mixed-use township destination in Central Luzon. Think of NAIA on steroids.  The plans are for Clark International Airport to be the very center of it all. The mega-facility will integrate general aviation, commercial logistics, tourism, employment/work, lifestyle/living, along with leisure, all combined in the Philippines new, premier mixed-use world-class aerotropolis.

LIPAD Corporation team members are currently meeting with government officials to fast track this plan. Some of the companies comprising LIPAD include the following:  

  • Filinvest Development Corporation, a publicly listed holding company focused on the hospitality, real estate, and transportation markets.
  • JG Summit Holdings Inc., with business interests in air transportation, banking, food manufacturing, hotels and more.
  • Airport Ground Support Solutions Inc., an airport operations and passenger handling company.
  • Changi Airports Philippines (I) Pte. Ltd., whose parent company is a leading consultant, manager, and investor in the aviation market, growing world-class airports around the planet.

So, hang onto your hats as development of the Clark International Airport continues at an unprecedented rate.  See you at the aerotropolis. 

New Clark City Agricultural Industrial Business Zone

Posted 07/09/2020 ? Clark growth and development is in the news again with a new Department of Agriculture (DA) plan to construct a 30-hectar Agri-Industrial Business Corridor (ABC) at the New Clark City location.  This project is consistent with the concept of a green city as was one of the original aspects of New Clark City (NCC).  The entire NCC project will eventually encompass almost 10,000-hectares.    

The Department of Agriculture (DA) is partnering with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), the lead in charge of the NCC area.

It is anticipated that the project will encourage additional investments in agriculture in not only Clark but 12 other ABCs designated throughout the country?s economic zones.   The ABC project at New Clark City however is designated to be the initial and potentially most significant one because of the Clark?s agriculture resources and central location in Luzon.

Some of the advanced facilities are to include an agribusiness multipurpose area and a national seed technology park that will utilize advanced science to ensure the Philippines is an agricultural leader for years to come. Included in this project is multiple other high-tech agricultural production technology, value-added facilities, and access to capital for farmers agricultural ventures.   

Fresh, organic fruits and vegetables are also integrated into the master plan for NCC.  At the Clark Civil Aviation Complex a project called the Clark Fresh Market (CFM) which will become a launching point and cater to specialized agricultural markets such as organic produce, halal-certified (Muslim consumable certification) and other high-quality food markets.  This facility should significantly help improve the health of our nation?s people by making more readily available clean and nutritionally superior foods available to a wider cross-section of our populous.

Economically, the combination of the ABC and the CFM is expected to create thousands of new jobs.   Additionally, the economic growth of the central and northern Luzon regions of Pampanga and Tarlac should feel the significant effect on their economies. 

These projects provide a means of joining the entire central and north Luzon regions along with providing for the advanced food needs of the nations new center of business and commerce that will become New Clark City. It is also anticipated to help foster a nationwide renewal of the agriculture sector.  It is also a progressive and proactive means to help shield the country from the ravages of pandemics in the future. The Philippine government is committed to improving the food and agriculture stability in the country. They anticipate a budget of over P284 billion for the year 2021, significantly surpassing the 2020 budget of only P80 billion. 

Clark International Airport becoming an Affordable Choice in a Hot Economy

New highs are being experienced at the Clark International Airport, otherwise known as DMIA, and we are not talking aeronautical elevations here.? We are referring to the volume of airline passenger traffic at the countries now fastest growing airport.? ?Clark is experiencing a phenomenal growth period due to the abundance of budget airlines and the desire for affordable travel by an increasing populous with spendable income.

The airport experienced an impressive 71 percent growth in passenger volume last year.? Clark tallied a record 1.3 million passengers in 2012.? This was 533,000 passengers greater than the 767,000 recorded in 2011. Last Nov. 21, the Airport hosted its five-millionth passenger since beginning commercial flight operations in 2003.

Besides the standard carriers, there are now a total of eight budget-type airlines offering great deals for resource-limited travelers through the gateway.? As it turns out, 77 percent of all travelers or 1.013 million people used these budget carries for their travel needs last year. Clark airport’s achievement of impressive growth has encouraged the arrival of passengers to the airport from as far away as Northern Luzon, Metro Manila and Southern Luzon to experience Clark’s great rates to exciting domestic and international destinations.

With 2013 expected to be another year of GDP growth figures in the 7.5 to 8 percent rate, other nations would be enviable to be in the Philippines position.? ?These rates of GDP growth are helping the country progress and eventually inch-out of third world status.? Add to this the record-low interest rates, low inflation and a strong stock market, and we see the Philippines as the bright shining star of Southeast Asia. ?The increase in Clark air travel is but one indicator of the Philippine’s turnaround on the world economic scene.

All of these factors are combining to help create a larger middleclass and offering families the chance to move out of abstract poverty. ?Individuals previously unable to afford airline travel to foreign destinations have skyrocketed.?? Additionally, the affordable pricing of these Clark Airport carriers is additionally causing a compound effect, adding to the phenomenal growth of the facility and the ability for more individuals to afford airline travel.

Big things are on the horizon for Clark International Airport.? The existing passenger terminal is scheduled for a P360 million expansion to help accommodate the continual growth expected throughout this year.? Add to this a proposal by CIAC to build a P12 billion terminal that would allow for at least 10 to 12 million passengers a year.? The proposal submitted to the Department of Transportation and Communications is looking to build an international terminal similar to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia.

Additional support is expected for Clark Airport in the coming months and years.? Already an executive order was signed by President Aquino encouraging local carriers to use Clark as an alternative airport to Metro Manila’s NAIA facility in order to help traffic and congestion at the metro airport.

In order to assist in the easy use of Clark by Manila travelers, a new dedicated first-class bus service is being launched on January 15, 2013 in order to ferry passengers back and forth to Clark.? Three separate bus companies are going to be participating in the service. The service will depart Trinoma Mall in Quezon City, offer a designated lounge area as passengers wait for the bus, and only cost P200 for a direct, non-stop trip to Clark.

While Metro Manila will most likely always remain the main core capital city and gateway for the Philippines, Clark is quickly becoming the de-facto, less-congested, easier and more affordable alternative travel gateway that will only continue to set new heights of quality and offer individuals more options for their travel experience.