By virtue of its being a port city, GenSan is firmly established as a trade hub for its agricultural and fishing industries to the rest of the Philippines, especially due to its extensive travel links by land, sea and air. Still, stronger economic ties for the city are never a bad thing to have, and what better partner in this arrangement that one of the country’s major Freeport and special economic zones? That is precisely what the new partnership signed between GenSan and the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) which oversees the Clark Freeport and Special Economic Zone is all about.

Manila Bulletin reports that a collaboration agreement was recently inked between the local government unit of GenSan and the Clark Development Corporation. This partnership aims for Clark to expand its business and economic links to other Philippine LGUs, while for GenSan it is a first step towards a stronger economic connection to the northern Freeport and SEZ. All in all, both entities hope to achieve mutual benefits from this agreement, which was jointly signed by GSC Mayor Ronnel C. Rivera and the visiting CDC president and CEO Noel F. Manankil.

The objectives underlined by the GenSan-Clark agreement include collaborative undertakings in the promotion of air connectivity, forging a regular travel route between Clark International Airport (CIA) and General Santos International Airport (GSIA), the latter of which is now in the middle of a large-scale renovation that would be perfect for its future partnership. Tourism and investment-focused trade and business missions also look to be better organized between the two entities. Clark hopes to gain best practices from GenSan’s agro-industrial developments just as the city looks forward to adopting the same in terms of environmental protection from the Freeport and SEZ.

CDC boss Noel F. Manankil is especially interested in providing Clark’s assistance to beef up the potential global image of GenSan as a tourist destination easily accessible from CIA. “We will be very happy if we have a direct air connectivity from Clark to GenSan,” he said. “Kasi kilala ang GenSan sa kanilang mga tuna and sa mga magagandang beaches na pwede ring puntahan ng mga turista.” About 20 delegates from GenSan and part of Manankil’s CDC delegation bore witness to the official signing ceremony.

The Clark Freeport and Special Economic Zone was formerly Clark Air Base, a US Air Force installation active from 1903 to 1991, when it was turned over to the Philippine Government following the Mount Pinatubo eruption. General Santos is a first-class highly-urbanized city and the regional center for commerce and industry in Region XII – SOCCSKSARGEN.

Image from The Manila Times

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