CLARK FREEPORT -- With billions of pesos on infrastructure developments and additional tourism estates being constructed here, Clark is a symbol of future Philippines, an official said.

Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President and CEO Vivencio Dizon stated this on the sidelines of the Association of South East Asian Nation (Asean) 11th Defence Ministers’ Meeting and 4th Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus recently.

The press briefing was held at the International Media Center in Hotel Stotstenberg here.

Dizon was joined by Clark Development Corporation (CDC) President Noel Manankil and Vice President for Commercial Development of Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) Darwin Cunanan.

Dizon cited that Clark Freeport, Clark International Airport and New Clark City (NCC) hallmarks the future of the country.

Dizon also said the infrastructure projects are vital not only to the ASEAN but also to future developments in Central Luzon region.

Manankil cited several international brands being constructed here. These are the Marriott Hotel, Sunvalley Hilton, and Aqua Planet, among others.

Slated for completion in November 2018, the Marriott Hotel Clark, which is being constructed next to the Widus Hotel and Casino here, is said to be the first five-star hotel in Clark. A topping off ceremony was held on Thursday (October 26) marked a milestone on the construction of the 16-story $60-million hotel.

The Aqua Planet, the newest and most modern water theme park will be opened to the public next month, Manankil announced. With over 25 attractions suitable for guests of all ages, the said theme park is also Persons With Disability-friendly according to Aqua Planet website.

An addition to the growing tourism facilities here, the Hilton Clark Sun Valley Resort is a 268-key new build hotel that will be part of a mixed-use development that also includes a casino, a 304-hectare private country club. The said hotel is scheduled to open in the fourth quarter of 2017, the Hilton global media center reported.

Based on latest data from CDC, a P269 million, 11.8-kilometer road was completed in time for the Asean. Moreover, the ongoing widening of 3.4 km-Gil Puyat road leading to Mabalacat gate amounting to P122 million is set for completion this November.

Expanded roads enable ease of travel and boosts mobility while enhancing tourism and logistics within the Freeport.

The BCDA exec said they are now implementing and developing Phase I of the New Clark City, one of the big ticket projects under the “Build, Build, Build” Infrastructure Program. The NCC is poised to become the country’s first smart, green and disaster-resilient city.

Dizon said they have already finished the master plan for the 9,450-hectare development of the New Clark City that will be presented soon to the business community to attract investments.

Cunanan, meanwhile, said the airport will be undergoing infrastructure upgrades next year.

From January to October 23 this year, Clark airport handled 1.162,778 million passengers. The airport has 120 domestic and 140 international flights per week according to CIAC. (Astrud Q. Aguinaldo)