STATE-OWNED Clark Development Corp. (CDC) and private firm Global Zoo and Theme Park Alliance Inc. (GZTPAI) are set to build a P135-million zoo park within the Clark Freeport, as the two firms agreed on last September.
A groundbreaking rite was made Friday to kick off the construction of the tourism project that will rise on a 20-hectare land that CDC would lease to GZTPAI.
The zoo project is located near the Freeport’s Gate 14 and is expandable to 40 hectares.
The soft opening of the zoo is expected by end-2018, when GZTPAI secures an occupancy permit from the CDC and other regulatory permits from other concerned government agencies.
CDC’s marketing department said GZTPAI would be the one to develop the project.
The zoo developer, in turn, will include a theme park with rides, adventure facilities, and other recreational and commercial activities within the zoo.
CDC said the project would employ about 140 workers in the next five years.
CDC President Arthur P. Tugade said the zoo project would not only serve as an attraction for tourists in the Freeport, but would also provide a habitat conducive to animals.
This is part of CDC’s thrust to make the Clark Freeport a business and tourism destination, Tugade said.
GZTPAI General Manager Ric B. Siccion said he decided to invest in the Freeport because of its sound business climate and the fast-growing tourism industry not only in Clark, but in the whole country in general.
Siccion is currently president of Zoo World Inc., a member of the Philippine Zoos Association (PhilZoos) and Southeast Asian Zoos and Aquariums (SEAZA).
He has a private collection of tigers since 2007, including some imported species of birds, reptiles, and other small animals, which are now housed in a mini zoo he had put up in San Fernando, Pampanga.
The GZTPAI official said the company would also like to educate Filipinos, particularly tourists, about wildlife conservation and protection.
Tugade and Siccion led the ground breaking rites, realizing the partnership forged between CDC and GZTPAI in September last year.