Mabalacat mayor holds talks on city’s name

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

MABALACAT – This premier town in the northern part of Pampanga may just end up with a new name as its cityhood status breezes through the final stages of deliberation in Congress.
Mayor Marino Morales has begun his consultative meetings with various sectors and stakeholders of the town to append the name to “Mabalacat Clark” when it finally becomes a city.
“The proposal to have ‘Clark’ … appended … when the town gets approval to become a city would create for the town a global impact and name recall as Clark is popularly known in other parts of the world,” Morales said.
He added that the move would also keep the town responsive to challenges to be globally competitive in terms of trade, skills enhancement, investments and other vital economic factors.
“Mabalacat is home to the Clark Freeport, which, aside from being known as a former US military airbase, was also just recently acknowledged as one of the leading investment destinations in the globe,” Morales said.
Morales was referring to a citation given by the Foreign Direct Investments Magazine of the Financial Times Group of London where Clark was ranked as Top 19 among 700 Freeports in the world and the number 1 ranking in cost-effectiveness and number 7 in overall economic potential.
The 4,440-hectare Clark Freeport was formerly known as the Clark Air base proper. Some 95 percent of the total land area of the Freeport lies within the original territorial jurisdiction of the town.
Morales also cited the presence of the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport inside the Freeport, acknowledging Clark to be on the regional and global travel and tourism map.
“Clark is widely known not only by investors but also by key players in the travel industry like airline executives and crew, travelers. Add to this is the fact that the place is well known by both retired and active US service members and their dependents,” added Morales.
Mabalacat first became a town in 1712. It was named after the Balacat tree (Zizyphus Zonulata Balaco), a fourth-class timber. Then, after settlement of a Negrito tribe, the area became a virtual forest of balacat trees.
“Ma-balacat” in Kapampangan means “full of balacats.”
Pampanga first district Rep. Carmelo Lazatin has pushed for the town’s cityhood status in Congress. The town has met requirements in terms of population and revenues as well as land area. (Reynaldo G. Navales)


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