NO COMPARISON -- An economic professor will always tell his students that you should not compare an apple to an orange. There were several reactions on my recent column regarding the controversy surrounding the approval of the board of directors of the Clark Development Corporation (CDC) on the Capilion project on the main entrance of Clark Freeport.
One such reaction why there is the SM mall also near the main entrance. And why not allow Capilion on the area diametrically opposite to SM? That's a P7billion investment, a huge amount not to sneeze at.
First reason, the location of the present SM mall was a leaseable area, whereas the Capilion space was freed from development by various and revised master plans since the time the former Clark Air Force Base was declared as an economic zone till its declaration as a freeport.
Second reason, the Capilion area was precisely freed by the various comprehensive land use plan as a buffer zone, from the time that it was a used as an American air force base, and was maintained as such by previous administrations of the Clark Development Corporation.
Third reason, aside from it is reserved for expansion and widening of both roads, the Manuel Roxas road and Don Juico Avenue, it will immediately result to traffic gridlock in the area since the envisioned commercial , BPO firms and retail enterprisess because the planned structures are facing both M.A Roxas and Don Juico Ave. Try passing the area on a weekday on a rush hour when workers from the freeport are off on their work. You would know what I mean.
Fourth reason, there are several trees planted in the area, and they will have to be cut to accommodate Capilion, aside from disturbing the aesthetic beauty of the main entrance of the freeport.
THE FIFTH REASON -- One big argument is the fact that in 2007, House Bill No. 5064 and the Senate Bill No. 2260 were filed and it became Republic Act 9400, which is 'An act amending Republic Act 7227 as amended, otherwise known as the Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992', and this law exempted twenty two hectares.
For clarity, it is specifically expressed under section 15 of R.A. 9400 and it reads, ' The Clark Air Base proper with an area of not more than four thousand hectares (4,400 has) WITH THE EXCEPTION OF TWENTY TWO HECTARE COMMERCIAL AREA SITUATED NEAR THE MAIN GATE AND THE BAYANIHAN PARK CONSISTING OF SEVEN AND HALF HECTARES LOCATED OUTSIDE THE MAIN GATE OF THE CLARK SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONE, IS HEREBY DECLARED FREEPORT ZONE.'
As it is provided by that law, it is clear as the morning sun on a summer day that 29.5 hectares were exempted as part of Clark Freeport, hence they are now part of the territorial jurisdiction of Angeles City. And what business, a lawyer may ask on what legal ground CDC is banking when it negotiated with Capilion, without the knowledge and imprimatur of the Angeles City government.
THE CITY COUNCIL -- The members of the Angeles City Council did what they are suppose to do, and that is to protect the interests of its constituency. When the measure vehemently objecting the Capilion project was deliberated, the reasons cited above were raised. Mayor Ed Pamintuan also stepped into the picture, and issued a statement to media that he will discuss the issue with CDC officials.
We are keeping our finger crossed that Capilion management after all these objections will be more sensitive and find the exit door. And give it up.