CLARK FREEPORT -- Capas Mayor Reynaldo Catacutan said that his municipality is aiming to become a component city in 2019.
Catacutan revealed this at the forum of the Capampangan in Media, Inc. on Friday, September 22, at the Bale-Balita here.
"We will kick off the campaign this December and hopefully the required bill will be filed in the House of Representatives early next year," he said.
Tarlac Third District Representative Noel Villanueva will sponsor the bill in the House, he added.
Catacutan said the new city will be called "The Green City of Capas."
Capas is a first-class municipality with an annual income of more than P400,000 and population of more than 157,000, 20 percent of whom are indigenous people or Aetas. It has a land area of around 43,000 hectares.
If the vision is achieved, Capas will be second city of Tarlac, after Tarlac City.
Catacutan said city hood will greatly improve the local government's finances, estimated to increase P800-million during the first year.
The mayor also said the city's economic growth and development will be furthered bolstered by the "Clark Green City" project of the Bases Conversion Development Authority.
"Much of the project area or about 90 percent is within Capas" he said, adding "the initial phase of the project involving some 3,500 hectares is exclusively within our territory."
The eventual transfer of some of the service and operational units of the Philippine Air Force and the Philippine Army will also add a big number to the current population, expected to rise to 200,000 in 2019.
Catacutan also foresees a boost in its local tourism industry with the establishment of several government offices and schools at Clark Green City such as the Philippine Olympics Committee, University of the Philippines, Philippine Science High School and Technological University of the Philippines, among others.
At present, local tourism is generating around P1 million in monthly revenues during the rainy season and P2 million and P3 million per month during the rest of year, mainly from the Pinatubo tourists.
Catacutan, a past Tarlac provincial board member and former vice president of the Clark International Airport Corporation, said the town has been adjudged by the Department of Health as having the country's model community hospital.
Capas is historically known for the Death March during World War II when Filipinos and American soldiers were made to walk from Bataan to the City of San Fernando and then loaded into trains on their way to Camp O'Donnel in the town.
It is also the hometown of Bernabe Buscayno, most popularly known as Kumander Dante, who is said to be the founder of the New People's Army.
Catacutan said they are now more focused on the town's destiny than on its history. (PR)