MABALACAT CITY -- Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who is now the representative of Pampanga's second congressional district, said that the province is envisioned to be the counter magnet of development to Metro Manila.

Arroyo disclosed this during the Induction of Officers and Trustees of the Capampangan in Media Incorporated at the Bale Balita inside the Clark Freeport yesterday.

The Pampanga lawmaker said that Pampanga sits in the country's new growth corridor of Central Luzon.

Arroyo stressed the vision of local officials to make Pampanga the next growth center of the country.

Governor Lilia Pineda recently tapped world-renowned urban planner Jun Palafox to create a master for Pampanga development centers, according to Arroyo.

The third richest area in the Philippines next to Metro Manila and Metro Cebu is the growth triangle of Clark, City of San Fernando and Subic.

Palafox saw seven growth center and created a master plan for what he called megalopolis, Arroyo said.

The megalopolis was divided into four parts – aerotropolis of Clark, agropolis at the eastern part of the province, aquapolis at the southern portion, and the ecopolis at the Mount Arayat side and Porac town, she added.

Palafox also included the road network that will connect these growth centers in Pampanga, according to Arroyo.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) will be tasked to implement the transportation plan of the megalopolis.

Important infrastructure projects included in the master plan are being rushed and will be submitted to Congress for approval and inclusion in the General Appropriations Act, she added.

Another important feature of the master plan is the consideration of natural hazards including the flooding in the fourth district.

“We are requiring the Palafox group and the local consultants to be able to come up with a master plan to address the flooding in the fourth district,” Arroyo said.

The solon said that a good master development plan will optimize the development of the province and prevent the downsides of urbanization including the traffic jams, urban blight and others.

“To be able to come with a vision to be the most progressive province in the counter magnet of Metro Manila, that is the vision that was thought of by none other than Governor Baby Pineda,” Arroyo said.

Part of the amenities of a good urban center is to have a good road network, minimal flooding, good water system, and others, she added.

The former president urged the CAMI members to work with local officials in realizing their vision for the province.