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A Brief on Clark Freeport

Clarkfield is actually Clark Freeport, a former U.S. Air Force base on Luzon Island in the Philippines. It nestles against the northwest side of Angeles City in the province of Pampanga, and is about 40 miles (60 km) northwest of Manila. Its main gate opens toward the busy roads of Angeles City, still grappling with its reputation as Sin City, and the town of Mabalacat where rural quiet is long gone, taken over by the rush of commerce. Clark itself, spread over 4,500 hectares, is managed by the government-owned Clark Development Corp. (CDC) and, at the aviation complex, the Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC). The Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) is located at Clark's aviation complex. The airport is eyed as the future premiere international gateway of the Philippines.

At Clark's main gate is this confusing sinage followed by one that imposes a sudden swerve for motorists without stickers. Logic is not a specialty of Clark traffic officers.

It's not UFO landing in the photo below. Practicing and campus journalists and others from multi sectoral groups from all over Central Luzon link arms around the Salakot, a landmark at the entrance to the former US Clark air force base in Angeles City, to mark the fourth year of the still unresolved Ampatuan massacre that killer 58 persons, including 32 journalists. They urged the resolution of the case by 2016. (Ding cervantes)

CL journalists mark 4th year
 of Ampatuan massacre
Nov. 23, 2013

ANGELES CITY-  JOurnalists from all over Central Luzon observed last Friday the fourth anniversary of the infamous Ampatuan massacre at the "Salakot" landmark near the main gate of the former US military base at Clark freeport here with a demand for timetable and full media coverage of court hearings on the case.

     The journalists, led by the National Union of JOurnalists of the Philippines (NUJP), were backed by campus writers and other representatives from multi-sectoral groups, formed a human chain around the landmark which was built during the stay of the US military at Clark to highlight Philippine sovereignty, expressed lament over the slow pace in resolving the case.
      "We call on the Supreme Court to delegate a special court exclusively for the Ampatuan massacre that can conduct daily hearings with full media coverage," said NUJP-Pampanga chairman Ashley Manabat.
      For his part, Fred Villareal, vice chair of the NUJP- Pampanga urged that the case be resolved by the end of Pres. Aquino's term in 2016.

     Manabat noted that "it has been four years since 58 people, including 32 journalists, were brutally killed by a powerful clan in Maguindanao but not one has been convicted. The same is true in other murders of mediamen in the country."
    "What is worse is that the culture of impunity seems to reign even more strongly even as we reel from the devastation of typhoon Yolanda," he said.

    He noted that "the pork barrel scandal and reports of government neglect, politicking, lawlessnewss, continuing hunger in the devastated lands, and the  the fudging of the casualty count in the Visayas make for a richer ground for the culture of impunity."
    "Let us not forget," he appealed to the media, even as they vowed to continue marking the anniversary of the Ampatuan massacre even after the case is resolved.

Phlippine Air Force to leave Clark

PAF submits for DND okay
 transfer of 7 major units
from Clark to other areas

by ding cervantes
nov. 5, 2013

CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga- The Philippine Air Force (PAF) has finished and submitted to the Department of National Defense (DND) detailed plans on the transfer of seven of its major units occupying some 300 hectares in this freeport to other areas, particularly Subic freeport in Zambales and Basa Air Base in Floridablanca, Pampanga.

    In an interview with the Star, Air Force spokesperson Lt. Col. Miguel Okol said "it's now up to higher authorities to approve the plan and release the funds for the transfer to commence."

    "We are giving way to the progress and development of Clark,  but without compromising national security," he said. The approval of the transfer plan in the hands of the DND and BCDA, he added.

    Okol said that the transfer would start immediately after the plan is approved  and funds are released. He said the timetable for the transfer would depend on when the proposal would be approved and on the release of the needed funds.

     Over 300 hectares of this freeport were allocated for the use of the PAF after the US air force left its base here in 1991. The allocation is based on an agreement between the DND and the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) which owns the lands within the former US military base which is now a freeport.

     The state firm Clark Development Corp. (CDC), the implementing arm of the BCDA here, earlier admitted it is running out of lands to lease to interested investors here, an  issue that some sectors have raised in batting for the removal of the PAF units here.

    The PAF area, labeled as Air Force City, under the supervision of the 600th air base wing, but it also hosts the  1st Air Division, the 410th Maintenance Wing, the  420th Supply Wing, the  710th Special Operations Wing, the Air Force Logistics Command and the   Air Force Reserve Command.

     "These major units will move to other places, such as Subic with the consent of the BCDA and Basa which is already ours. But some other units will be moved to other areas such as Fernando air base in Lipa and even our headquarters in Villamor," Okol said.

    Okol could not immediately say how much the transfer would cost, but assured families of the Air Force personnel here that no movement would be done until "all the infrastructures in their destinations are ready for them."

      Hundreds of houses built by Americans within the PAF area here serve as homes for personnel dependents. "One of our priorities is the morale and welfare of our men and their families," Ocol said.

    Earlier BCDA president Arnel Casanova said here that the transfer of the PAF would give way to the availability of more lands for lease to investors. "We plan to implement this transfer during the term of Pres. Aquino,”  he added.

   Casanova also noted that the BCDA has already invested P33.8 billion in Central Luzon to create opportunities for investment and employment in the region.

Of the P33.8 billion, P30.68 billion was used in the construction of the 94-kilometer Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) that was dubbed the most modern tollway connecting the Subic Bay Freeport Zone and the Clark Freeport.

“BCDA, together with its subsidiaries, CDC and CIAC, is committed to actively pursue the development of Central Luzon. The development of Central Luzon is not merely a local or regional concern, it is a matter of national interest,” Casanova stressed.



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