New Clark Investment Welcomed
04/04/2002 By Genalyn D. Kabiling

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo yesterday welcomed the $300-million investment of the United Parcel Service (UPS) in Clark Field, Pampanga, saying this will make the Philippines the firm’s hub for its Asia-Pacific operations.

The President cited UPS, an American international courier service, for giving the local economy a great boost and providing job opportunities to Filipinos.

"This venture will generate significant interest from locators across the world. This will also create additional investments and tremendous employment opportunities for Filipinos," the President said in her speech at the inaugural flight of UPS in Clark.

The President said the UPS investment proves the resurgence of investors confidence in the Philippine economy despite the earlier domestic uncertainties and world economic slowdown.

The President said the UPS investment also manifests the optimism of UPS in the country's future as well as the close economic ties between the Philippines and United States.

The UPS operations in the Philippines is expected to grant better regional access to exporters and importers, fortifying the Philippines' vital edge in transportation and logistics in East Asia.

The President reassured UPS and the rest of the business community of her administration's commitment to a safe and friendly business climate in the country.

"This administration is committed to strengthening conditions that make investments profitable and welcome on our soil," she said.

In a separate news conference, the President said the bulk of the peace and order problem is contained in Basilan only.

"We are not foolish to ask UPS to set up shop in Basilan," she said.

Asked if businessmen are safe in the Philippines, the President said: "I think they are quite safe that's why they (UPS) are putting in $300 million."

The UPS corporate plane, Lipad Pag-asa, had its inaugural flight yesterday.

Immigration school

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo inaugurated yesterday the Philippine Immigration Academy at the Clark Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) in Angeles City, Pampanga, that will train personnel of the Bureau of Immigration (BI) in immigration laws enforcement and in fighting terrorism, human smuggling and other transnational crimes.

The Chief Executive led officials of the BI led by Commissioner Andrea Domingo, representatives from other government agencies, and the diplomatic community in unveiling the marker for the academy at the Clark Polytechnic College.

Domingo thanked the President for her presence in the inaugural ceremony, saying it signaled the importance of the academy as a premiere training institution not only for BI personnel but from other countries in the Asia-Pacific and other enrollees.

Domingo said the academy will not only cater to the training needs of Philippine immigration personnel but also workers from other government agencies and immigration departments of other countries, especially those belonging to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

"Through this academy, we hope to achieve our vision of a world-class Philippine immigration service, manned by competent and professional personnel, equipped with modern facilities, and proud of its mandate as gatekeeper of our country's ports of entry," Domingo said in a press statement.

She added: "Our aim is to make this academy a regional ASEAN venue and laboratory for interactions, exchange of information, linkages, dialogues, researches, seminars, trainings, and global initiatives in addressing the issues of security, anti-terrorism and related concerns, using forensics, technical and other world-class methodologies."

Towards this end, Domingo said the academy will establish linkages with regional and global schools of law enforcement and public service.

Initially, the academy will offer courses on Philippine immigration laws, policies and procedures, alien registration laws, citizenship and naturalization laws, foreign language courses, information technology, intelligence gathering, masteral studies in immigration administration, and a baccalaureate study in public administration.

Joint venture courses with other foreign immigration counterparts such as the United States, Japan, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom will also be offered.

Domingo said that as a self-managing and self-financing organization, the academy will receive budgetary support from the government only in its initial stage of operation.

She explained that the academy, which was leased to the BI by the Clark Development Corp., will source its funds from project contracts, course fees, and financing aid from local, regional and global partners.