Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Despite possible delay, investors back ‘gateway’ project

SUBIC FREEPORT—Despite the delay facing President Arroyo’s “global gateway” project, foreign investors and local businessman here praised the project’s inclusion in her socioeconomic agenda for Central Luzon.

Ichiro Tsuji, Subic Techno Park (STEP) president, said the Japanese business community was elated to hear Mrs. Arroyo endorse the project, components of which will be funded by the Japanese government through an economic loan package with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC).

“President Arroyo is right in saying the project would spur economic progress in Central Luzon. This pronouncement would attract more foreign investors particularly from Japan,” Tsuji said.

“It will also create much-needed jobs in the region,” said Tsuji, whose company developed an industrial park for Japanese companies at the Subic Freeport.

Jose Saddul, the Subic Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (SBCCI) president, also welcomed President Arroyo’s announcement and said, “it is a step forward in achieving increased business activity in the Subic Freeport.”

“We have been supporting efforts to build a toll road linking Subic and Clark and the planned modernization of the Subic port and news of the President committing her support to the plan to integrate the airport in Clark, the toll road and the Subic port is a most welcome development,” Saddul said.

In her speech at the Central Luzon Development Summit on Global Gateways held at the Holiday Inn Resort in Clark Economic Zone on Wednesday, Mrs. Arroyo said she was part of a team of government officials who began the Central Luzon Development Plan through the “Growth Corridor” concept in the region during her stint as trade and industry undersecretary.

“I initiated it ten years ago. That’s how long we have been on this dream,” the President said.

The global gateway project envision linking the airport in Clark, seaport in Subic and the proposed highway from Subic through Clark to Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac.

The President said the global gateway project integrating the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport, the Subic Container Port and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Toll Road “can be done.”

Admitting the planned March 22 groundbreaking of the toll road may not push through since there are still problems to be resolved, the President said she hopes the concerned officials can thresh out the problem and move forward on this project.

The Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) also praised Mrs. Arroyo for pushing the gateway project, saying it bolsters his group’s commitment to promote a global village in Central Luzon with its rich cultural heritage that will mark a distinctive and competitive advantage of products made from the region.

“Global gateway would increase the demand for basic commodities and other economic essentials as well as become a catalyst for human resource development,” said Renato “Abong” Tayag, PCCI president.

Chairman Felicito Payumo of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority said the SBMA and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), headed by its president Rufo Colayco, initiated the global gateway project through the Subic-Clark Alliance for Development (SCAD).

“Global gateway will synchronize the two government agencies’ efforts to develop Central Luzon as an air-sea-and-land logistics hub in the Asia Pacific region,” Payumo said.

Payumo added the project is envisioned to create unprecedented employment and potential growth center upon completion and its benefits will go beyond the increased income from by heightened individual, business, government and foreign consumption.

“We see the economic promise of the global gateway for our families, our communities, our province, the whole region and the country as a whole,” the SBMA chief said.

Colayco said the biggest problem of business is that it is being hampered by poor infrastructure, which has become the main reason why more than eight million Filipinos seek jobs abroad.

“Our people opt to look for work abroad due to lack of infrastructure development and business continue to decline because of its inability to compete in the global market,” Colayco said

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Shines In Beauty Tilt Abroad

2003 Best Model winner Melissa Frye finished first runner-up at the 2003 Best Model of the World contest in Turkey last March 6. Here’s the report of Gerry Diaz, chief correspondent of the Mabuhay Beauties Board at www.voy.com/61263/

Melissa Frye, 2003 Best Model Philippines winner was proclaimed first runner-up in the 2003 Best Model of the World contest held at the Maslak Princess Hotel in Istanbul, Turkey last March 6. This 20-year old model hails from Olongapo and was studying Computer Engineering before she won the local modeling contest. Melissa, who is 5' 11" tall and measures 34-25-36, is the only daughter of Narcisa Andales and Kevin Frye who is based in Japan. She has three brothers.

At the presscon held before she left for Turkey, I encouraged her to join the Bb. Pilipinas search because she has the makings of a future international beauty titlist. Aside from her height, beautiful face, nice figure and long shapely legs, she has a good command of English and is quite smart. That combination is hard to come by nowadays. Depending on the angle from which you are looking at her, Melissa looks like Melanie Marquez, Sarah Jane Paez and per some SAGA staff, Jaclyn Jose.

Melissa isn't sure yet about her plans. Since she has family members in the United States, she might decide to set up base there. She has a brother in Seattle and her grandmother is in Montana. One of her aunts, Teresa Frye, was a model in the US and was one of those who encouraged her to pursue a modeling career.