AN AUSTRALIAN firm opens next month in Clark a vocational college where students are charged an average of P400,000 per course which Australian executives say are 50 percent lower than those being charged in their country.

With the scheduled opening of the Australian institution, only about 200 interested students have enrolled, with no one from the Philippines. Students will enjoy free air-conditioned board and lodging throughout their courses. Their classrooms are also air-conditioned.

Australian proponents of the educational institution say they selected Clark Freeport Zone which they described as a clean with spacious environment supporting a healthy leisure and tourism market with a wide range of facilities. In addition the school site is a restricted zone, similar to a secure expatriate area.

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Australian school executives added that the Clark site is unique to other campuses that are typically congested, with a little space for studying let alone open-park and recreational space with room to move around freely without the overcrowding.

The entire 250,000 square meter Expo Filipino has been developed by the Australian International Training and Management Group (AITMG) which will also operate the new Australian campus in the Philippines.

AITMG has the highest quality educational faculty from Australia, however its point of difference is combining educational excellence plus strong links to industry and employers opening career pathway for graduating students.

Officials of the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) today said they have offered alternative sites to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) as early as 2007 in its effort to help the agency maintain its operations inside the Clark Freeport prior to the transfer of its regional consular office to the City of San Fernando.

Clark Development Corporation (CDC) executives have offered alternative sites to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) as early as 2007 in its effort to help the agency maintain its operations inside the Clark Freeport prior to the transfer of its regional consular office to the City of San Fernando.

This is contrary to allegations that CDC has slept on the job but actually it resorted to undertake measures to prevent the transfer.

CDC President Benny Ricafort also clarified that CDC has been in close coordination with DFA officials since August 2007 when the agency first announced its plans to relocate its passporting office to the City of San Fernando.

“The CDC has been working closely with the DFA in coming up with alternatives for retention since the agency verbally announced its plan to give up its leased premises in the Balikbayan Mall in Clark. The alternatives were presented in view of the DFA’s planned procurement of a lot in the City of San Fernando where Regional Government Offices are located,” Ricafort stressed.

It will be recalled that in May last year, the CDC formally offered then DFA regional director Ernesto Belardo two strategic areas as suitable relocation sites. However, Belardo did not respond the offer nor sent a letter of intent.

Then CDC Executive Vice President Victor Jose Luciano, who is now president of the Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC), made a follow-up on the CDC’s offer by personally conveying the letter’s contents to DFA Secretary Alberto Romulo.

Several meetings likewise took place in 2008 through the initiatives of then CDC President Levi P. Laus and CDC Executive Vice President Philip JB Panlilio to discuss CDC’s offer of possible relocation sites and to address issues affecting the DFA operations in Clark like the lack of passport processing machines and maintenance of the DFA leased premises.