MABALACAT CITY -- The World Bank has expressed support to the Clark Green City project of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).
In a statement, BCDA president and chief executive officer Arnel Casanova said the World Bank supports the agency's plan to make the green city disaster-resilient.
Casanova said he recently met with World Bank Group Vice President and Special Envoy for Climate Change Rachel Kyte who expressed support to the BCDA in developing the Clark Green City “to cope with the effects of climate change.”
Kyte was in Manila for the World Economic Forum.
The meeting was also attended by World Bank Country Director Motoo Konishi and senior World Bank executives.
"We are very happy and excited to work with the World Bank to build the country’s first smart, green and disaster-resilient metropolis," Casanova said.
According to him, World Bank will assist the BCDA in the area of innovation and sustainable green development.
"World Bank will help the BCDA link with centers of excellence and institutions to learn the best practices in making Clark Green City disaster resilient," Casanova said.
He added that the World Bank will also link the BCDA with the best managed cities of the world to learn from its best practices.
Casanova said the meeting also highlighted the need to plan for the Clark Green City-Metro Manila corridor or the area between Clark and Metro Manila as it will play a vital role in the country’s development.
The funding of green initiatives in the BCDA project through the World Bank’s Climate Change Fund was also discussed during the meeting, according to Casanova.
Casanova said the conditions are ripe for the creation of a new metropolis in Central Luzon citing that the region contributes almost 10 percent to the national economy.
Central Luzon is home to more than 11 million people. It has the second biggest overseas Filipino residents and is in the crossroads of vital land, sea and air infrastructures, he added.
The BCDA official noted that Metro Manila contributes 36 percent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) but it is losing P2.4 billion every day because of congestion.
"To sustain the country’s growth, we cannot afford Metro Manila to lose P2.4 billion daily," Casanova said.
He said that a new metropolis should be developed to create value and drive for investments.
Clark is an area suitable for a new metropolis with an ideal distance from Metro Manila, he said.
"The Clark Green City vision is an idea whose time has come," Casanova said.
Based on the Clark Green City District Plan, the new city will have five districts --- the government district; central business district; academic district, agri-forestry research and development district; and the wellness and eco-tourism district.
BCDA will start by developing 1,321 hectares for the first phase of Clark Green City.
At full development, Clark Green City would contribute approximately P1.57 trillion per year to the economy of the country and will generate 925,000 jobs.
The BCDA has extensive experience in building a city. It is coming from the success of developing the Bonifacio Global City, the country’s most beautifully planned and developed city using the best practices around the world, Casanova said.