WHAT'S happening inside the Clark Freeport? Why one by one the hardworking and professional people are resigning? Last week, many were shocked why suddenly Clark Development Corporation (CDC) President Noel Manankil resigned. He is still young and effective. He is in his prime. There must be some inside stories to the events that led to his resignation.
Manankil succeeded Arthur Tugade, now Department of Transportation secretary, as CDC president. When I was appointed as a member of the CDC board, he was the chief financial officer (CFO). I was appointed January 2001 and remained a member until 2019. I was moved to Bases Conversion Development Authority and the agency has some kind of oversight function on CDC.
During Tugade’s term, key officers like Ernesto "Teng" Gorospe, Bernie Angeles and Frank Madlambayan resigned. All were vice presidents. It was followed recently by the resignation of Executive Vice President Eva Tejada, vice president for legal affairs lawyer Pearl M. Sagmit and vice president for engineering Alveen Tabag. All the above mentioned person assembled together will surely be a champion team.
> I used to say that success depends upon the reliability and responsiveness of the people who were given the task. Consistency and meaningful response to presented challenges will lead to success. I am talking here about the success of Clark Development Corporation, an agency of government created by law as an answer to the destruction brought about by the eruption of the nearby Mt. Pinatubo. Retro. Double whammy. The former US military installation was balnketed in ash and was in disarray when the American troops who were settled in the area since 1900 hurriedly left.
> In the last several years since 1993, Antonio "Tito" Henson the first president of CDC and who did the cleaning of the 4,400 hectares installation revved up to its highest glory. And the success can't be attributed to one person. Clark Freeport now earns billions annually and employs more than 100,000 workers. But that's going ahead of a story. How it achieved such status is by no means simple.
> It was an herculean task on the shoulders of retired Air Force General Romeo David when then President Fidel Ramos gave him the marching order to transform the former air base into a vibrant economic zone. The area was a buyers'market, so locators were only paying ten cents per square meter. It was deliberately done just to attract investors. David stayed as president for three years. Then he was succeeded by honchos who didn't stay long like Serg Naguiat for four months and replaced by Rufo Colayco who made good in allowing more duty free stores.
> It was in 2001 when things started to look bright. Manny Angeles was appointed president and chief operating officer by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. More success came with the late Levi Laus at the helm. The industries started pouring in. Development was at its peak. From a mere 22 thousand workers employed in several business activities inside the economic zone, it steadily grew to more than 100 thousand. Hotels and casinos, restaurants and theme parks, golf courses and other recreational activites were established, thus making the economic zone a tourist destination.
In all these developments, I remember the young Noel Manankil who every now and then made presentations to the members of the board of directors. He was impressive. Very diligent. Very precise on his figures. Very graphic on his presentations.
So many are speculating what is happening behind closed doors at CDC.