Sangil: Clark’s growth intimidating two cities

ONE of the Christmas parties I attended and enjoyed it really was the party hosted by Vince Dizon, Alex Caugiran and Noel Manankil, presidents of Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), Clark International Airport Corporation (CIAC) and Clark Development Corporation (CDC) respectively. It was held at the renovated Fontana Convention Center and attended by more than fifty members of local media.

I was seated beside SunStar General Manager Jun Sula and DWRW’s famous anchor man Perry Pangan and the conversations became animated when we were joined by the three presidents of the three state agencies. Small talks first till it drifted to the many grand plans of the agencies. Manankil told us that upgrading of the Freeport is not yet over. He declared better things are on the drawing board. In case you don’t know, there were many infrastructure improvements constructed this year particularly the expanded roads.

Dizon and Caugiran jointly detailed the bidding process of the Clark International Airport’s terminal building. (The bidding was already conducted and civil works already started. The winning bid was P9.3 billion). Dizon also gave us an overview of what’s on-going with the Clark Green City project, an ambitious program that when finished will help in the decongestion of Metro Manila.

In the midst of all the discussions, my thoughts traveled how all these developments will impact on Angeles City and Mabalacat. The developments are both intimidating to both Mayors Ed Pamintuan and Cris Garbo. I suppose their plans are geared towards integrating their respective plans and programs with the current development of the Freeport and the airport. You know what, whatever what is wrong in a town or a city, cursing is always directed towards to those in charge of governance, and in many cases the mayor gets most of the flak. However, Angeles residents should give a grade-A to Mayor Pamintuan for his effort to make really the city a liveable place. I sincerely believe he wants to leave a legacy when he leaves office.

The trouble comes in leadership when everybody including sycophants tend to agree that their communities are the best in the world. But sometimes what is being claimed suffers a flawed assessment of the real situation on the ground. I maybe raising a higher bar for both the cities of Angeles and Mabalacat since I am used to presentation of what a place should become. When I was a member of the board of the Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation I had the privilege to participate in the discussions with the likes of Tony Aquino, president of Ayala Land Inc. and his successor Bobby Dy. Seated in a room with them and joined by Fernando Zobel, Butch Campos, Arnel Casanova, Narciso Abaya, Rene Valencia and others is a total education for me on how to build a liveable place.

However, in a way Mayor Ed Pamintuan has the bragging rights whenever he claims in his public speeches that under his watch the city achieved a remarkable growth in terms of number of business establishments which located in the city and the increased in the expenditure budget of almost P2 billion for 2018. But much is still desired. Traffic is one headache of urban cities like Angeles and Mabalacat. How to put in place Public Private Partnerships on the pipeline for more connector roads and multi-level parking spaces are issues to be addressed. By now principal and secondary roads have been installed with CCTV monitors. What we want to see if all public buildings including schools, libraries and extension offices should now have been wired with free internet connections. More can be done.
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