CLARK FREEPORT -- The Clark Green City (CGC) is perfectly suited to become a back-up government center to Metro Manila should a devastating earthquake happen, according to Arnel Paciano Casanova, president and CEO of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.
“Earthquakes are impossible to predict but this proactive approach to have a back-up government center will ensure the continued operations and delivery of vital services following the Big One,” Casanova said.
Identified as a disaster-resilient area, the 9,450-hectare Clark Green City is almost a hundred kilometers away from the West Valley Fault Line and is surrounded by the typhoon-mitigating Zambales and Sierra Madre mountain ranges.
"Solutions to flooding and the paralyzing traffic are clearly manageable. But government must be prepared when, God forbid, the Big One strikes," Casanova added.
The BCDA has earlier offered free lots inside the Green City for government agencies to use in establishing back-up offices to ensure uninterrupted delivery of services even in the event of a major calamity.
Apart from a government district, CGC will also have residential, institutional and industrial areas plus a central business district.
Earlier news reports said Renato Solidum, Jr., Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) director, warned that a possible 7.2 earthquake looms if the West Valley Fault along the eastern side of Metro Manila cracks.
The West Valley Fault crosses the eastern side of Quezon City, western side of Marikina, western part of Pasig, eastern part of Makati, parts of Taguig, and Muntinlupa.
In its initial planning stages, the BCDA chief said greater attention was made to the disaster-resiliency feature of the Green City where geohazard and flood maps were used to determine that vital buildings and infrastructures are to be situated in the least-vulnerable areas.
“When the Big One strikes, delivery of government services and operations of businesses suffer the longest because you will have to face issues of health or personnel shortage, supply chain problems, public order, and a host of other challenges,” Casanova added.
Flooding in urban centers also results to a chain of disruptive events, foremost of which is traffic gridlock, Casanova said, noting that BCDA looks forward to a flood-free CGC with the giant cistern used in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, one of BCDA’s flagship projects, which will be replicated in the Green City.
Beneath the BGC’s Burgos Circle is a five-story structure where floodwater is impounded and later released into Manila Bay.
“The Green City will be a showcase to the world as a model for uninterrupted commerce, trade and services in spite of our country being a calamity-prone area in the region,” Casanova said.
On July 16, 1990, a 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit the northern part of Luzon, leaving 2,412 people dead and around US$369.6 million worth of damage to property.
The strongest recorded earthquake to hit the Philippines was on September 20, 1897 which registered a magnitude of 8.6 on the Richter scale.
Close to the Clark international airport and the Subic seaport, Clark Green City is located inside the Clark Special Economic Zone where a projected 1.1 million residents and some 800,000 workers will eventually reside.
Last week, property developer giant Filinvest Land Inc. tendered its bid to become BCDA’s joint venture partner in the first phase development of CGC’s 288 hectares.
Also last month, the BCDA formalized its multiple joint venture partnerships with the Japanese government in the fields of energy, transportation, tollways, and industrial zones to help transform CGC into a major economic center of the ASEAN economic bloc. (PR)