Fontana spruces up ahead of APEC

CLARK FREEPORT ZONE -- In preparation for Clark's hosting of the 2015 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit ministerial meet, Fontana Leisure Parks and Casino, the largest tourism estate inside the Freeport, instituted nine expansion projects, including a makeover of its convention center costing P200-million.

Manuel Sequeira, Fontana chief executive officer, said the projects also include the upgrading of its Clubhouse and Golf Course, acquisition of state-of-the-art facilities and construction of villas and rooms at the Fontana complex.

"The new convention center will provide additional 500 seats from its current 500-seating capacity. This also means additional 500 to 1,000 new jobs," he said during the opening of Fontana Coffee, Tea and Juice Bar by the Piano Lounge where American singer-songwriter Stephen Bishop held a press conference prior to his recent concert.

"All nine projects will be completed by December in time for the APEC meeting in January," said Sequeira.

Fontana, which sits in a 300-hectare property within the Freeport, is one of the many hotels inside Clark that is expected to provide accommodation to thousands of APEC leaders from countries like United States, Japan and China, among others.

Malacañang, in its July 22 memorandum, approved Clark and Bagac in Bataan as areas in Central Luzon to host one of the APEC meetings from January 6 to February 10. The memorandum also listed Metro Manila; Boracay and Iloilo in the Western Visayas; Tagaytay City in Southern Tagalog; and Metro Cebu in Central Visayas as approved venues for the APEC meet.

Sequeira said that Fontana management is working closely with the state-run Clark Development Corporation (CDC), particularly on APEC, stressing that all activities set for the summit will entirely benefit Clark.

He said that details for the APEC meet have yet to be finalized with the CDC and the organizing team. "We have not talked about the details yet but we are partners in this endeavor."

Earlier, CDC president and chief executive officer Arthur Tugade led APEC diplomats and other state officials who visited Clark for a familiarization tour inside the Freeport, where some 1,800 senior ministers of finance and tourism from 21 countries are expected to stay for two weeks.

Tugade and local government officials of Angeles City had also met last March to discuss plans for the Clark-Angeles greening and beautification, traffic situation and the hastening of the ongoing infrastructure projects in Angeles City prior to the summit. The meeting was participated in by private contractors, legal consultants, environment officials, local police, public transport representatives and other officials from the city government and the CDC.

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