Defense chief sees no security problem with China biz park
There would be no security complications in the establishment of a sprawling industrial park for Chinese companies being planned at the former US Air Force Base in Clark that now houses a Philippine Air Force base and an international airport, according to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
The site, New Clark City, will form part of the Clark Freeport and Special Economic Zone, which spans Angeles City, Mabalacat and Porac in Pampanga province, and Capas and Bamban in Tarlac.
“Why would there be [a security issue], when that’s just business?” Lorenzana said in response to a question about security implications in the planned Chinese industrial park. “Do you think China’s military will go there? They won’t. Just businessmen.”
He spoke with reporters on Saturday on the sidelines of the Veterans Federation of the Philippines Executive Board Meeting in Quezon City where he was the guest speaker.
“Maybe it is good,” he added, “because they will put up an industrial park there and put up manufacturing. It will generate a lot of jobs.”
“Besides, they won’t be able to bring the land to China,” Lorenzana quipped. “They will invest there to put up buildings, factories and hire Filipinos. So what’s wrong with that?”
The state-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) said in September that it was eyeing to allot 300-500 hectares at New Clark City to host Chinese companies.
BCDA president and chief executive Vivencio Dizon told reporters then that the Chinese side had wanted to build on 1,000 ha, but he said this would be impossible given the terrain.
Last week, BCDA and China’s Gezhouba Group, a construction and engineering company, signed a framework agreement on the industrial park, one of the 29 agreements, commercial contracts and memorandums of understanding sealed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit.
Construction of the industrial park is expected to start late next year, Dizon said.
Mostly light and medium industrial companies from China are expected to set up shop at the industrial park.
“The deal is they develop, and they also are the ones to bring in [investors]—it’s a package deal,” according to Dizon.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III also said then that car factories, robotics-assembly plants and semiconductor facilities, laboratories and training facilities could be hosted within the industrial park.
Dominguez said putting up an industrial park housing Chinese investors was “a very good move for us” since their operations could serve as a regional base.
He said it helped that the sprawling land was government property, hence easier to develop with the Chinese.
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