BATAAN -- Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) head Arnel Casanova said the Philippines needs to build a new city outside Metro Manila.
Casanova stressed this during his speech at the teambuilding activity of members of the Anvil Business Club, an association young Filipino-Chinese entrepreneurs, at the Anvaya Cove Beach and Nature Club in Morong, Bataan Friday night.
The BCDA president and chief executive officer introduced the Clark Green City (CGC) to the business group as an alternative to decongest Metro Manila and spur economic development in the entire Luzon island.
"We really need a new city and this is an opportunity for us to really build it properly," Casanova told the Anvil members.
The Clark Green City is a 9,450-hectare master planned property within the Clark Special Economic Zone, approximately half the size of Metro Manila, eyed to be the country's first smart, green, and disaster-resilient metropolis, according to Casanova.
He said the CGC is expected to break ground in 2016 and is another flagship project of BCDA.
"Clark Green City will certainly be one of the top in the list of alternative urban centers that will lead to an enhanced equitable distribution of development across the country," Casanova said.
At full development, the green city will have some 1.12 million residents, 800,000 workers and contribute a gross output of approximately P1.57 trillion per year to the national economy or roughly four percent share in the county’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The DPWH (Department of Public Works and Highways) will implement the construction of two access roads leading to the CGC, with an initial funding of P200-million, and is expected to be completed within the year.
The road projects will include an initial two-way lane and will provide better accessibility that will subsequently increase the property’s value, economic potential and attractiveness to investors.
One of the city's access roads will stretch 2.5 kilometers from MacArthur highway in Tarlac.
The other project will extend 15 kilometers to link the Clark Freeport Zone and the Clark International Airport to the CGC. It will also connect to the existing Tarlac-Zambales road that leads to the Capas-Botolan road.
Lone bidder Filinvest Land, Incorporated submitted a valid bid with P160-million on September 8 and bagged the right as the joint venture for the development of an initial 288-hectare property inside the Green City.
The National Economic and Development Authority said the P200-billion estimated cost of building CGC will be developed over a 50-year period through the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) scheme.
National leaders, as well as local businessmen based in Pampanga, have sought the conduct of a serious and comprehensive study on the proposal to decongest Metro Manila not only to ensure growth in other regions but also as a disaster mitigating strategy.
The future development of CGC, which 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 -- may well be the focal point in plans to decongest the metropolis leading to an enhanced equitable distribution of development across the country.
The promotion of CGC is both timely and imperative if seriously included as a new metropolis that will also serve as a crucial disaster mitigating strategy, said Casanova.
A decongested Metro Manila will decisively prevent a catastrophic aftermath of a major calamity that may incur tens of thousands of casualties and trillions of pesos in economic losses.
"If plans to decongest the metropolis will push through, the Clark Green City will certainly be one of the top in the list of alternative urban centers that will lead to an enhanced equitable distribution of development across the country," the official added.