Clark Green City: Next PH metropolis-A A +A
Saturday, September 14, 2013
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- A top official of the Bases Conservation and Development Authority (BCDA) on Friday described the Clark Green City as "Smart, Green and Global," and projected it to be the next Philippine Metropolis after Bonifacio Global City.
This was gleaned during the 42nd General Membership Meeting of the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry held at the Widus Convention Center, Clark Freeport, where BCDA president and CEO Arnel Paciano D. Casanova, presented to PamCham the Master Development Plan of the Clark Green City.
The more than 150 members and guests present were delighted to hear from the BCDA president that the seven provinces of Central Luzon – Pampanga, Bataan, Zambales, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan and Aurora - are vital economic drivers in the development of Central Luzon.
The presence and availability of seaports, airports and excellent road infrastructure have been the major reasons for the region's economic viability as cited by Casanova.
The central theme of the Clark Green City, according to Casanova, is the layered integration of all the essential components of a metropolis -- with commercial and business multiplexes proximate with government offices and research and development centers; and residential areas just walking distances from industrial complexes, Wellness & Eco-Tourism centers, and Centers of Excellence.
He indicated that the Green City will be a well-planned cluster development project that will include a Government Center with a land area of 514 hectares, a 2,690-hectare Central Business District, a Center of Excellence of 598 hectares, an Agri-Forestry Research and Development Center with a land area of 3,135 hectares and a Wellness & Eco-Tourism Center of 2,513 hectares that will be built in phases.
He disclosed that Phase 1, with a five year timeline from 2014 to 2019, will have a total development cost of $1.3 billion, covering an area of 1,300 hectares to be implemented under the government’s Public-Private Partnership mode of development.
He also underscored the importance of the Clark International Airport (CIA) as an essential gateway for Central Luzon and as a critical infrastructure that will sustain the economic gains realized by the country in the last three years.
He affirmed that CIA is more than capable to accommodate huge international passenger airlines on account of its two runways with more area to spare for a possible third one. He further mentioned that Clark is the practicable solution to NAIA’s congestion and expansion dilemma.
He said there is a need to decongest Metro Manila and distribute economic opportunities to the emerging urban centers in Central Luzon that has sufficient land areas for development, existing road infrastructures for easy access and exceptional human resource capabilities to accommodate the manpower demands of investors.
In a JICA study commissioned by the Neda, traffic congestion in Metro Manila was attributed to be the cause of nearly P2.4 billion in potential income loss which could have been channeled, captured and optimized in the comparably developed urban hubs in the countryside like Pampanga.
Addressing the arguments of some airline industry doyens on Clark’s distance from Metro Manila, he noted that several international airports of first world countries located considerably farther from their metro centers have continued to thrive and successfully triggered development in their contiguous areas, effectively expanding economic wealth and opportunities.
He also mentioned in jest that with the Clark Green City, the BCDA is moving the metropolis closer to the airport rather than the other way around.
Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on September 15, 2013.