The Philippines is situated in the western Pacific Ocean, consisting over 7000 islands. There are 3 main geographical regions that are categorized broadly under from north to south: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. The capital city of the Philippines is Manila and the most populous city is Quezon City, both part ofMetro Manila on Luzon island.
Metro Manila is the 10th most populous metropolitan area in Asia and the 1st in South East Asia, ahead of Jakarta, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Ho Chi Minh. According to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), it is estimated that Metro Manila’s traffic jams alone are costing the economy USD 51 million a day in potential income, a figure that JICA warns could balloon to USD 128 million a day by 2030.
JICA highlighted that the government had to be more mindful of environmental impact and disaster management in large cities as the population increases and suggested that economic activity should be spread to other potential growth areas in the country.
Bases Conversion & Development Authority
To mitigate further migration into Metro Manila, Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) came up with a brilliant plan to build a new city, Clark Green City, in central Luzon, right in Clarkfield area, under its subsidiary Clark Development Corp.
The BCDA is a government instrumentality vested with corporate powers signed into law by former President Corazon C. Aquino in 1992. BCDA is mandated to transform former US military bases into force in creating economic opportunities in the country into alternative productive civilian use. BCDA engages in public-private partnerships to push forward vital public infrastructure such as tollways, airports, seaports, and also major real estate developments. It has successfully developed economic centers such as the Bonifacio Global City and the Newport City and Since its creation in 1992 until March 2015, the BCDA has generated Php65.348 billion from the disposition of former Metro Manila camps.
Clark Green City
Clark Green City, a 9,450-hectare area located inside the Clark Special Economic Zone in Tarlac, is located 75 kilometers from the West Valley Fault Line, where Metro Manila sits on, is an ideal site for long-term development. Its favorable geological conditions includes neighboring mountain ranges the Zambales Mountain Range and the Sierra Madre Mountain Range which serves as natural barriers against super typhoons. Flooding will be remote due to its high elevation. Clark is connected to all major cities in Central Luzon through the country’s expressways and it will have a direct link to the Clark International Airport and is just a breeze away from the Subic Freeport Zone.
The construction of the P607-billion Clark Green City formally kicked off on 11th of April 2016. Development will be done in phases with the first phase, comprising of 288 hectares, by BCDA and its joint-venture partner, Filinvest Land, Inc. which will construct an industrial zone and a mixed-used development.
At full development, Clark Green City will be home to companies, retail outlets, offices, residential parks, accommodating 1.12 million residents and 800,000 workers and contribute a gross output of approximately P1.57 trillion per year to the national economy or roughly 4 % in the county’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Similar to the strategy under taken at the development of Bonifacio Global City, BCDA is looking to attract educational institutions to kick start economic activity and this can be seen through the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the Technological University of the Philippines and the Philippine Science High School to establish a center to specialize in industrial and technology skills development and large-scale fabrication laboratories. In addition to local institutions, a 3 million euro donation from the German government, will enable Clark Green City to host a regional climate change knowledge and training center, serving the 20 most climate-vulnerable (mostly island) nations called the South-South Center of Excellence for Climate Information and Services.
To supplement its strategy with educational institutions, Clark leverages on its ideal geographic conditions and offers free land for government agencies to occupy within the city as part of the government’s disaster recovery mechanism should a big earthquake or a super typhoon hit Metro Manila.
Opportunities for Cooperation in Smart City Development
Clark Green City will be characterized by a cutting-edge ICT infrastructure that will integrate city-wide services for infrastructure, transport, utilities, security and public safety. An advanced communications and digital infrastructure will serve as the backbone of the entire metropolis to facilitate data processing and transfer through high-speed Internet connectivity.
Clark Green City will follow green standards such as green building codes, low carbon footprint and renewable energy will take center stage in powering the city. Last December, a lease agreement with Sunray Power, Inc. (SPI) for the lease of a 260-hectare area in Clark Green City to build a 100-megawatt solar power facility.
BCDA President and CEO Arnel Paciano D. Casanova has emphasized that this new development should be well-planned to make it sustainable, disaster resilient, environment-friendly, and to answer for the need of a modern metropolis. To support the planning and development of the city, a 100-man BCDA delegation funded by Singapore-based Temasek Foundation, an organization which supports training and capability-training programs in public administration and disaster-response, health care, and education across communities in Asia, attended an executive training program in Singapore to ensure a world-class output for the project.
In addition to building internal capabilities, BCDA has been actively looking for partners and foreign investors to realize its vision to build a Smart, Green City. A cooperation agreement with the government of Japan through the Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport and Urban Development (JOIN) was forged. The agreement included the blueprint for a rail system from Bulacan to Tarlac and is expected to lead to multiple joint venture partnerships that will serve as a vehicle for the formation of Japanese consortium and investments in the field of power, transportation, tollways, industrial zones and economic centers.
In addition to the Japanese, the European community has also expressed keen interest in Clark Green City. BCDA signed separate Memorandum of Understandings (MOU) with France and Sweden to foster technical cooperation and identify future collaborative opportunities in the development of Clark Green City.
Perhaps one of the possible reasons for active foreign participation could be due to Clark Green City being insulated from politics . BCDA chief mentioned that, with BCDA sitting directly under the Office of the President, no president would want his office to fail in anything, especially on a project this important. However as Philippines is weeks away from choosing its next president, he also said that the signing of new agreements might take a while.
What are some of the experiences and challenges that BCDA and Clark Development Corp face in the Clark Green City Project?
Meet and network with members of BCDA and Clark Development Corporation at the 7th edition of the Asia IoT Business Platform which will take place this 23-24 May in Manila.