The state-owned Clark Development Corporation (CDC) is exploring potential opportunities to attract Qatari investments into the Philippines for various sectors, such as logistics, tourism and leisure, manufacturing, and other industries, according to a senior CDC official.

The CDC is a government entity that manages the Clark Freeport located in the central plains of Luzon, the Philippines’ largest island, said Evangeline G Tejada, the CDC’s vice president for Business Development and Business Enhancement Group.

“The agency works with multi-national investors so they could generate productive economic activity, such as employment export, and investment,” Tejada told Gulf Times during a recent visit to Qatar.

Tejada said the Philippine government envisions the Clark Freeport as the country’s modern industrial estate and premier service and logistics hub, with facilities for training and conferences, as well as tourism and leisure by 2020.

“Our visit to Doha aims to explore the local market because we want to attract Qatari companies and add them to the CDC’s expanding portfolio of international investors, as we continue to transform Clark into a premier investment hub,” Tejada pointed out.

Qatari companies are welcome to join Clark’s roster of international investors from the US, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea, among others, Tejada said. “Major foreign firms operating in the Clark Freeport include Texas Instruments, Samsung, Posco E&C, Mercedes Benz, and Yokohama Tires, to name a few,” she noted.

She added, “Clark has a master plan, which serves as guide in the balanced development of areas suited for high-end industrial and IT-enabled industries, tourism investment, including the creation of retirement villages and medical tourism facilities, aviation and logistics related enterprises, and commercial activities aligned with the central business district concept.”

Anthony Emmanuel G Tulabut, who manages the CDC’s Communication Division, also lauded Qatar Airways’ regular flights to the Clark International Airport, saying the Qatari flagship carrier “is keeping passenger traffic busy at Clark, thus contributing to the local economy.”

Tulabut also said Qatari investors could also utilise Clark as an export hub to the Philippines’ Southeast Asian neighbours “and beyond.” With a 2,500-hectare modern aviation complex, Tulabut said Clark’s strategic location along a major growth corridor provides Qatari investors access to markets in the wider Asia-Pacific region.

“The Clark Freeport’s modern infrastructure facilities, generous fiscal and non-fiscal incentives, professional support services, amenities, and other advantages make it an ideal destination for investments,” Tulabut noted.

With Lusail City and Msheireb Downtown Doha leading the country’s smart city journey, Tejada said the Philippines could learn from Qatar’s experience in building smart and sustainable cities.

According to Tejada, the New Clark City located inside the Freeport’s 27,600-hectare sub zone, is being positioned as the country’s first smart and green city. Covering 9,450 hectares, New Clark City has designated 3,500 hectares as buildable area and 6,000 hectares as green and open spaces, she added.