Sunday, May 21, 2006

Mayor: $1T Saudi investment in Clark "pure hogwash, lies"

By Dante Fabian - Sun Star

ANGELES CITY -- Mayor Carmelo "Tarzan" Lazatin has branded as "the most impossible thing in the world" the recent news report that the Saudi Arabia government is set to invest some US$1 trillion at the Clark Special Economic Zone (CSEZ).

Lazatin, after reading the banner story of another local newspaper, said "those people who say that Saudi is to invest that much money are crazy and are out to fool the people."

The third-term mayor said the US$1 trillion is already the budget of the National Government for more than 50 years. He added that the news could be nothing but "pure hogwash because that huge amount could not be invested in Clark for the former US military base is too small."

Lazatin said the people are fast gaining the trust and confidence of the Arroyo administration and "the least we can do to help the President is to stop fooling the wise Pampanga folk."

He was referring to the content of the said story that promises 500,000 jobs at CSEZ.

Lazatin did not mention any particular person he was referring to.

But Clark Development Corp. (CDC) president and CEO Antonio Ng, who was with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during her state visit to Saudi Arabia last week, said in a press statement that the oil-rich country was interested in investing at CSEZ and at Subic Bay Freeport.

Ng added that the Saudi Arabia officials are set to invest US$1 trillion at the ecozones, which will generate some 500,000 jobs.

Ng said Arroyo frequently mentioned the potentials and advantages of investing at Clark and Subic in his meetings with Saudi officials that was why they were convinced to invest in the country.

Echoing Lazatin's sentiments, a barangay official lamented that that Ng "keeps giving false hopes and pure lies to his province mates just to keep his post."

"Worse, Ng treats us like little children who can believe in fiction and fantasies," said the Barangay Lourdes Sur East councilman.

"We need jobs and progress at Clark not people to feed us with a bunch of lies," said a mechanic in Barangay Lourdes Sur East who gave his name as Melo Reyes.

Another city official said Ng "should begin packing his bags for the benefit of the Clark investors and the people of Pampanga who deserve a much better CDC executive."

Ng could not be reached for his comment.

No comments: