Friday, August 2, 2013

PWDs, IPs leave Clark job fair with inspiration, encouragement

Former Isabela governor and Comelec Commissioner Grace Padaca (center) leads the ribbon-cutting ceremony formalizing the opening of the Clark Development Corporation’s (CDC) first-ever job fair for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) and Indigenous Peoples (IPs) held on July 29 at the Mimosa Convention Center inside the Clark Freeport. Joining Padaca are (from left) CDC Director Manolo Feliciano (partly hidden), CDC President Arthur P. Tugade, CDC Chairman of the Board Eliseo Santiago, Clark Investors and Locators Association (CILA) President Rene Banzon, and Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President Arnel Paciano Casanova. – Photo by CDC Public Relation Department

CLARK FREEPORT – The more than 400 applicants that participated in the Clark Development Corporation’s (CDC) first ever “Jobs Fair for PWDs and IPs” did not only leave the Mimosa Convention Center yesterday with newfound jobs but also with encouragement and inspiration.

 “Whenever a negative thought would strike me, I would immediately get a book, a magazine, or even a newspaper and read it to convert those negative thoughts into something positive,” said Commissioner Grace Padaca of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) as she addressed PWD and IP applicants during her keynote speech here.

Padaca, a former governor of Isabela province, also encouraged the applicants to utilize their time in a productive way: “While waiting for the opportune time, prepare yourselves by doing something productive until the right opportunity knocks on your doorsteps.”

“My message to all of you is that wherever you are make yourselves strong by being a productive person, try to equip yourselves [with skills]. If your strengths lean towards painting or to any skill that you possess, make the most of that talent. Without you knowing it, these little things will prepare you for bigger opportunities in the future,” Padaca emphasized.

In yesterday’s job fair, the CDC Customer Service Department’s (CDC-CSD) initial list revealed that at least 482 registered applicants, composed of 321 IPs and 161 PWDs, participated in the state-owned corporation’s first ever jobs fair for the handicap and indigenous peoples.

The CDC-CSD also reported that 38 applicants (IP, 31; PWD, 7) were hired on the spot. Reports submitted by the 37 participating Clark-based locators showed that of the 1,045 applications they received, 350 job seekers are set for “trade tests” while 230 of them are expected to return for “further interview.”

“The total number of applications reached 1,045 because some applicants have submitted their bio-data sheets to two or more locators,” the CDC-CSD report clarified.

Padaca also said: “I am with you in thanking the 37 Clark locators that have participated in this job fair and for opening their doors to consider employing PWDs like us and likewise, indigenous peoples, who are also our brothers and sisters.”

“To all of you locators, thank you for considering us; thank you for giving us the chance. We guarantee you that if you give us the chance we will prove to you our worth as a human being and our perseverance as an employee,” Padaca added.

CDC President Arthur P. Tugade had, likewise, thanked participating Clark locators for their “contributions and support to the CDC’s corporate social responsibility projects”: “Thank you for reaching out to the helpless, the needy, and the deprived. I assure you that you have not made the wrong move but in fact, you are making the right move.”

 Tugade further said: “Many times you will find that the most efficient and the most hardworking [employees come] from the people who have been forgotten and forsaken, if you give them the chance.”

“Today, I hope that you will find the most diligent and the most hardworking employees that you will ever have because this breed of people have lived and had survived the arena of hardship,” he continued.

“To you all, our brothers – the PWDs, the physically-challenged, and the katutubos, our heart goes with you. Allow me to say one thing, perhaps not all of you will be employed today hence, do not be afraid. Do not falter. And do not lose hope. For the CDC will still provide you opportunities such as this. Come back and look for a job that will suit you well,” Tugade added.

Tugade also announced that the CDC Board of Directors had already approved the proposal to institutionalize the PWD, IP job fair, which will be an annual event here.

 For his part, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President Arnel Paciano Casanova said the job fair sends strong message that ethnicity and physical disabilities are not obstacles or barriers for PWDs and IPs from seeking employment and other financial opportunities in the Clark Freeport.

“Believe that dreams do come true. Believe in yourself and in your capabilities despite your respective handicaps. Development and employment opportunities are for everybody,” Casanova said.

Clark Investors and Locators Association (CILA) President Rene Banzon also announced that his goal is to reach out to different investor/locator associations in Freeport zones nationwide “and spread what CDC has started and to share this concept for other Freeport zones to emulate.”

He added that the messages of Padaca, Tugade, and Casanova during the job fair did not only inspire PWDs and IPs but Clark investors, as well.

Peping eyes Air Force City for sports

Not only for business, investments

CLARK FREEPORT – The chief of the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) said he is eyeing select areas of the 300-hectare Air Force City where he is planning put up various sports facilities for Philippine athletes.

In a dialogue with veteran journalists from the Capampangan in Media, Inc. (Cami) at the Bale Balita here, POC President Joe “Peping” Cojuangco said the Air Force City, a 300-hectare prime lot area here occupied by the Philippine Air Force (PAF), will be a good location to establish training facilities for national athletes.

Cojuangco’s announcement came in the wake of an earlier statement from Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) President Arnel Paciano Casanova, who said the government is planning to transfer the 300-hectare Air Force City here to Cubi Point in Subic to allow the CDC to lease more lands to future investors.

Originally, Cojuangco was eyeing the upland areas of Clark’s 29,000-hectare sub-zone in the Sacobia Valley after the CDC, in 2011, presented the Clark STAR project to the POC and the Philippine Sports Commission.

The Clark STAR project was supposed to be built on a 200-hectare land at the Northeast tip of Clark, between Mabalacat and the Sacobia River. Aside from having a sports academy and dormitories for athletes, it will have various stadia for indoor games, field events, and aquatic sports.

It will also feature a commercial complex, exhibit halls, convention center, promenade, central park, public transport terminal and a monorail link system around the facility.

Also, Cojuangco cited Sacobia’s geographical location saying its mountainous area forms a natural barrier that would prevent athletes from leaving their quarters prompting them focus more on sports. He added that the Sacobia’s climate and fresh air is ideal for athletes unlike the smoggy environment of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

But Cojuangco emphasized that once the plan to transfer the Air Force City to Subic pushes through, only select areas in the PAF area would be used for various sports facilities.

“I plan to put some of the sports [facilities] here since we have all the space in Clark,” Cojuangco said. “Part of the plan is to refurbish existing sports facilities at the Air Force City like its tennis courts, basketball courts, swimming pool, and Challenger football field.”

Cojuangco also announced that the Philippines will be hosting the general assembly for the Centennial celebration of Asian sports to be held in Boracay this coming November.

“The Olympic Council of Asia is composed of 45 countries and some of the member-countries will be landing in Clark. Also, the Executive Council of the Association of National Olympic Committees or ANOC Executive Council will also attend the general assembly,” Cojuangco revealed.

He said the event is a good opportunity to market the Philippines, particularly the Clark Freeport to potential investors.

“Most of the participants are members of royal families, ministers, multi-millionaires and what they would usually ask me is ‘What is the best place to invest in the Philippines?’ So I want these officials to see Clark to entice them to invest here,” Cojuangco said.
“For me, this will probably be the biggest aggrupation of big people of the world,” Cojuangco said.

He added that “The Association of National Olympic Committees is composed of 205 countries and is bigger than the United Nations.”