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PNOY leads groundbreaking rites of Clark Green City

 

CAPAS, TARLAC—President Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday (11 April 2016) led the groundbreaking ceremony of the country’s first smart, green and disaster-resilient metropolis called Clark Green City.

President Aquino was accompanied by members of his official family that included Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Rogelio L. Singson and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento.

On hand to welcome President Aquino were Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) Chairperson Ma. Aurora Geotina-Garcia, BCDA President and CEO Arnel Paciano D. Casanova and various officials of both the regional and local government units of Central Luzon. The state-owned BCDA is in charge of building Clark Green City.

DPWH Secretary Rogelio M. Singson, assisted President Aquino who led the groundbreaking ceremony through the time capsule laying of the 9,450 hectare metropolis.

In his speech, President Aquino underscored Clark Green City as a major expression of investor confidence as he cited the gains of his administration that included the country’s improved ranking in the World Economic Forum’s Competitiveness Index, from 85th in 2010 to 47th in 2015 and by being unanimously declared investment grade by the world’s most prominent credit ratings agencies in 2013.

“Today, we welcome yet another major expression of that confidence, as we are breaking ground on one of the biggest ever joint undertaking between the government and the private sector, namely, the Clark Green City. The details emphasize the scale and ambition of this project: This economic zone will cover 9,450 hectares and its development will cost around P607 billion, most of which will be covered by partners from the private sector,” Aquino said.

The President also thanked the partners of government in building Clark Green City. “We would like to thank all our partners both in the private sector in the person of Filinvest today, all the Japanese agencies JICA and JOIN for their very active participation to make this dream a reality.”

For his part, BCDA President Casanova said with the ground breaking ceremony, it’s now all systems go for the Clark Green City.

According to Casanova, the development of the 9,450-hectare Clark Green City will be in phases. The first phase that comprises 288 hectares will be developed by BCDA and its joint-venture partner, property developer giant Filinvest Land Inc. The Filinvest parcel will have two distinct components: an industrial zone and a mixed-used development with residential, office, commercial and institutional elements.

Casanova pointed out that Green City is perfectly suited to become a back-up government center because it will be built to be disaster-resilient, taking into consideration the ill effects of climate change and other natural disasters.

Clark Green City's favorable geological conditions make it less vulnerable to earthquakes. The absence of a fault line under or within its vicinity makes the site ideal for long term development. The city will also be spared from the damaging effects of super typhoons since its neighboring mountain ranges: the Zambales Mountain Range and the Sierra Madre Mountain Range will serve as natural barriers. Flooding will also be remote due to its high elevation.

Casanova also noted that Clark Green City will showcase the country’s capability to build a sustainable and modern city. “The city will adopt smart and green features like compact walkable communities with generous open spaces, bike lanes, mass transportation, smart utilities, high-bandwidth connectivity, protected biodiversity, energy efficiency and urban farming, among others, making it one of the country’s most livable cities of the future.”

He added that Clark Green City will be a community that allows people from all walks of life to realize their aspirations in the cusp of an inclusive community. “This is not merely a city for the rich. This is a city for the poor to be rich. Rich in knowledge as well as in wealth. Abundant in compassion, devoid of bigotry and inequality.”

BCDA Chairperson Ma. Aurora Geotina-Garcia said Clark Green City will be a master planned metropolis, to be built from ground up, incorporating the best practices in urban planning and development.

She said Clark Green City will incorporate a humanist approach to sustainable development as she noted that the heart of every city is its people. “The soul of every city is its people. We must enable every individual to reach their full potential by honing their talents and giving them more opportunities for growth.”

At full development, Clark 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).

Its strategic location and connectivity to major cities in Central Luzon through the country’s expressways that include the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX), Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX), Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) and soon the Central Luzon Expressway (CLEX) will allow the convergence from north, east, south, and west, and serve a catchment population of some 12 million people.

Clark Green City will also have a direct link to the Clark International Airport and is just an hour’s drive to the Subic Freeport Zone via the SCTEX.