GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 22 October) – The city government has renewed its partnership with Clark and Subic Bay Freeport and Special Economic Zones as it moved to further accelerate its trade and economic exchanges with the two areas.
City Mayor Ronnel Rivera signed a memorandum of understanding on Friday with the Clark Development Corporation (CDC), Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC), and the Subic-Clark Alliance for Development (SCAD) to formally extend their linkages.
The hybrid signing ceremony was joined virtually by CDC President and Chief Executive Officer Manuel Gaerlan, CIAC President/CEO Aaron Aquino, and SCAD chairman, Secretary Vivencio Dizon.
CDC Chief of Staff Dennis Legaspi witnessed the signing event in a hotel here and the formal launching of the Central Luzon-Soccsksargen Products Exchange.
Rivera said they pushed for the renewal of their collaboration with the Subic Bay and Clark stakeholders to enhance their engagements in trade, investment, and tourism.
“We never stop looking beyond our resources. We extend our efforts to introduce new developments and further enhance what we are already capable of doing,” he said in his message.
The city government initially forged partnership deals with CDC, CIAC, and SCAD in 2019 through the assistance of the United States Agency for International Development.
The City Economic Management and Cooperative Development Office (CEMCDO) said the partnership had resulted in cooperation in the areas of investment generation, trade and commerce, transport, tourism, sisterhood agreements, and sharing of best practices.
Among the latest engagements are the promotion of the General Santos City-Pampanga cargo, tourism bubble and product exchanges.
The local government also forged sisterhood agreements with the cities of Mabalacat, Angeles, and San Fernando in Pampanga during a visit by their delegations here in September 2019.
Before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in February last year, Clark-based MAG Travel and Tours launched chartered flights to and from the city through Leading Edge Air Services Corp.
Gaerlan expressed hopes that the planned commercial flights between this city and Clark would finally materialize once the COVID-19 situation improves.
“This pandemic caused us a lot of displacement, a lot of stress, but I hope we maintain our partnership in the future that we will connect not only through the internet but by connecting flights,” he said.
Leonard Flores, CEMCDO head, earlier said the local government has started negotiations through the help of private stakeholders and government organizations to revive the air connectivity between the city and Clark.
Based on their initial discussions with concerned groups, including SCAD, CDC, and CIAC, the proposed flight will be limited to airport-to-airport cargo shipment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, he said it will provide direct access to new sources of goods as well as marketing opportunities for products from Region 12 in the northern and central Luzon regions.
“It will enable the continuous supply of materials and goods necessary for production as well as distribution for the businesses in their respective regions,” Flores said. (MindaNews)