CDC offers DFA alternative sites in Clark – Ricafort

January 28, 2010 10:47 pm 

CLARK FREEPORT, Pampanga, Jan. 28 — The Clark Development Corporation (CDC) has 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.

CDC President Benigno N. Ricafort said that the state-owned CDC has been in close coordination with DFA officials since August 2007 when the agency first announced its plans to relocate its passport and consular 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 said.

He also said that the CDC had provided the DFA with a retention plan offering as alternative sites, several areas in Clark that included a portion of the Clark Expo’s Global City, a vacant lot behind Puregold Duty-Free, and three vacant buildings formerly occupied by duty-free mall operators.

The lease rates for these alternative sites were pegged at very reasonable prices for the government agency, he said.

In 2009, the DFA head office brought to the attention of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo the need to relocate their regional office to San Fernando in view of the department’s regionalization program which aims to put DFA regional offices in government centers in regions across the country.

But despite the planned relocation, the DFA gave its assurance that a satellite office shall be maintained in Clark.

In response to the instruction of President Arroyo for a DFA Satellite Office in Clark, CDC offered a space in one of its buildings for the DFA satellite office but its head office has yet to make a decision on the offer.

Clark locator Berthaphil has submitted a quotation to the DFA for a proposed site for their satellite office inside the Berthaphil III Business Park which is adjacent to the district office of the Bureau of Immigration last Oct. 29

Ricafort said newly-appointed DFA Regional Director Asuncion Florentin submitted Berthaphil’s proposal to the agency’s main office in Manila.

However, the DFA main office has yet to announce its decision on Berthaphil’s proposal.

Ricafort has assured the public and some government officials that the DFA regional consular office will still operate a satellite office here in its effort to help the agency make its services available to Clark stakeholders and constituents in adjacent towns.

He gave the assurance in the wake of concerns raised by some government officials and the private sectors who claimed that the move was disadvantageous to Clark and residents of nearby communities of the Freeport.

“It is regretful that CDC was accused of not doing anything to convince DFA to retain its regional consular office here in Clark,” he added. (PNA)



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