Angeles all set for PH’s ‘most liveable’ city tilt

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Thursday, July 17, 2014


ANGELES CITY -- The city is now set to compete in the first-ever urban planning competition in the country, dubbed as the Liveable Cities Design Challenge 2014 (LCDC), with Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan at the helm.

The mayor, together with the city’s competition team, has decided to compete under the “APEC Meeting Venue” category and carry out the rehabilitation and modernization of the iconic Abacan River as the city’s entry.

This came about after the two-day mentoring session facilitated by LCDC Architects Lui-Daya Garcia and Raymond Sih at the Angeles City Hall.

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“The Abacan River tells Angeles’ story of downfall and success. It is remembered that during the Mt. Pinatubo’s eruption, the devastation was evident in the river where homes along its safe boundary were reached and destroyed by the raging lahars,” said Pamintuan, who heads the city’s committee for the competition.

“On the other hand, Abacan is also the Angeleños’ symbol of unity to rise above this catastrophe. Roughly around 20,000 citizens volunteered for sandbagging operations to prevent the lahar flow from further destructing the city,” Pamintuan added.

The upgrading of the Abacan River (Phase I) which will be known as The Venue for International Summit-Angeles (VIS-A), will include the construction of a convention center, a hotel promenade and recreational facilities such linear green riverbank parks, bicycle lanes, jogger lanes and al fresco establishments.

“With this vision, we will also be able to hit most of the major problems in the city,” Pamintuan emphasized.

The VIS-A or the Abacan Growth Corridor will ease traffic congestion since it will link the eastern and western parts of the city. It will also traverse through eight villages (barangays) here.

Lateral erosions along the riverbank and illegal waste disposal in the river as well as the displacement of informal settlers to safer grounds and drainage systems will also be properly managed through the river corridor’s development.

The project will also complement the planned Angeles Watershed which will be located at the mountainous western part of the city in Barangay Sapangbato in preparation for a possible water shortage expected 25 years from now.

The competition team sees Abacan’s appreciation of land value being a new frontier for development, and the possibility of utilizing hyrdo-electricity mechanism for the city’s alternative power supply.

The entire development plan is estimated to cost P6.7 billion (Pulung Maragul to Sapangbato Abacan belt) and will be divided into three phases.

LCDC Pre-mentoring

Prior to the mentoring, the local government already held initial meetings with its several department and agency heads in collaboration with private individuals and professionals specializing in engineering, architecture and urban planning and design.

“We are happy to hear that the city had preliminary debates. It goes to show that Angeles City is really serious and aiming to push through this competition,” said Architect Daya-Garcia, one of the LCDC mentors.

Angeles City Planning and Development Officer David David presented the city’s possible entries for both City Evacuation Center and APEC Meeting Venue categories.

After a focused-group deliberation, the committee opted to pursue the rehabilitation of the Abacan Bridge which falls under the APEC Meeting Category.

“This competition will trigger creative and innovative inputs to enhance our existing development plans for Angeles City,” said David.

David further added that the entry design is lifted up from the Angeles’ Comprehensive Land Use Plan from 2010 to 2020 which is originally a rehabilitation initiative of Mayor Pamintuan during his stint as local chief executive in 1994.

“Angeles’ story of resilience is not mythical. It really happened. Seeing the city now and its people living safe and sound after all the adversities, is I think what makes Angeles a liveable city,” Pamintuan said.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on July 18, 2014.

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