Green City master plan for gets House support

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Monday, August 25, 2014


CLARK FREEPORT -- The Clark Green City Master Development Plan prepared by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) has gained a head-ground at the House of Representatives as congressmen adopted a resolution expressing support for the plan.

CIBAC Party-list Representative Cinchona Cruz-Gonzales, chairperson of the House Special Committee on Bases Conversion said that the proposed Clark Green City, a 9,450-hectar metropolis, as announced by the state-owned BCDA is the country's newest and most modern city half the size of Metro Manila, set to rise within the 36,000-hectare property north of the Clark Freeport and Special Economic Zone (CFSEZ) main zone.

A statement from the House of Representatives said that House Resolution 116 urges the Executive Department to agree to and support the general framework and broad features and objectives of the proposed Clark Green City Master Development Plan.

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The National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) has approved on August 6, 2013 the master plan for the development of 9,400 hectares of idle land within the CFSEZ as a green city. The NEDA Infrastructure Committee (INFRACOM) has endorsed the master plan for the Clark green city to President Benigno Aquino III for final approval.

The House is equally cognizant that it is essential that the BCDA coordinate with other government agencies to the different local government units for the formulation of appropriate strategies, plans and timetable to attain the targets set forth in the plan and to respond to unforeseen future conditions which may require timely and appropriate action beyond the contemplation of the Plan.

The special panel has created a steering committee that will address the various issues and concerns raised by the LGUs pertaining to the Clark Green City Project composed of the BCDA, Department of National Defense or Armed Forces of the Philippines, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Local Government Units of the Province of Tarlac and Pampanga, and their district representatives in the House of Representatives.

"The BCDA envisions the City more modern than the Bonifacio Global in Taguig, one of the major success projects implemented by the BCDA, hosting businesses, domestic and international trade, conferences, research development entities, regional tourism centers, national government offices and international headquarters," Cruz-Gonzales said.

Cruz-Gonzales said the proposed City will play a major role in easing the pressure of development on Metro Manila and will showcase what the country can offer in terms of urban planning and sustainable development at par with the trend in building sustainable and modern cities in major countries around the world.

"Compared to Metro Manila, the CFSEZ where the Clark Green City is located has low susceptibility to flooding, landslides and earthquakes," Cruz-Gonzales said.

Cruz-Gonzales also quoted BCDA president and CEO Arnel Paciano Casanova who stressed that the project would attract billions of investments, generate thousands of jobs, boost the economy and sustain inclusive growth.

According to the resolution, the Clark Green City project is expected to generate as much as P1.57 trillion in revenues every year, at least four percent share in the National Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and as many as 925,000 new jobs, upon full completion of the planned development.

A 50-year development program, the Clark Green City will approximately cost P607 billion, P59 billion of which will be used for the first five years, coming mostly from the private sector through the Public-Private Partnership Program.

The green metropolis would be a mix of industrial, institutional and commercial areas, which would apply green technologies, using renewable energy from sustainable sources by all facilities and buildings in the proposed city, a place where one’s home, place of work, and places of recreation are within walking or biking distances from each other.

"It will be a place where everyone is connected by both culture and technology with sustainability as number one priority in building the city. It is truly designed with future generations in mind," the resolution said.

The resolution cited the BCDA, which stated that the urbanization trend in the Philippines has been faster in the last 50 years. In 1960, only eight million Filipinos lived in urban areas and the remaining 19 million lived in rural locations.

In 2000, the BCDA said the trend has reversed with 39 million Filipinos living in cities and 37.5 million living in rural areas, and 46 million people in urban areas, a decade after.

"This means that roughly one out of two Filipinos live in a city, hence, urbanization in the Philippines is bound to continue," the BCDA said.

The resolution also cited the BCDA stating that by 2030, some three out of four Filipinos will be living in cities. Hence BCDA believes that there is a need to build another metropolis and chose to pattern the Clark Green City to South Korea's Songdo.

The urbanization in the Philippines, the BCDA said, has been concentrated in the NCR, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna and Bulacan, and that there is now a need to create a new metropolitan area like Smart Cities Worldwide, according to the resolution.

The BCDA is mandated under Republic Act 7227 to transform former US military bases and local Metro Manila camps into alternative productive civilian uses and premier centers of economic growth in partnership with the private sector with integrity, excellence and stewardship of government resources.

House Resolution 116 is a substitution of House Resolution 1275, which substituted the original House Resolution 944 authored by Cruz-Gonzales.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 26, 2014.

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