New city rising in the Philippines

New Clark City

A new city is rising from agricultural lands in Tarlac province in the Philippines as the southeast Asian country attempts to decongest Metro Manila, its capital region, and spread the population to other parts of Luzon.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said New Clark City is expected to become the country’s next big metropolis. It is envisioned to be a hub of agro-industrial activities, home to cutting-edge technology and logistics companies, and host to well-equipped backup government centers and world-class sports facilities.

New Clark City (NCC) covers 9,450 hectares that are being managed by state-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), the same agency that has developed Fort Bonifacio into the country's new commercial and financial district.

NCC is designed to be the country’s first smart, green, disaster-resilient city, where nature, lifestyle, business, education and industries converge, and will be at par with other modern cities in the world.

It will feature mixed-use real estate developments for housing, a business continuity center that would also house national government agencies, an agro-industrial park and an international food market. The city will have wide pedestrian lanes, exclusive bicycle lanes and an integrated mass transit lane. Phase 1 of the project is expected to be completed by 2022.

“It captures what the ‘Build Build Build’ program aspires to achieve: a coherent national logistics circuit that will support our country’s rapid and inclusive development,” said Dominguez in his opening remarks at the Philippine Economic Briefing held at the ASEAN Convention Center in Clark.

Dominguez described the New Clark City as the “showcase of the Duterte administration’s economic strategy.”

He said alongside the development of New Clark City is the construction of railways going to Subic and to Manila and the expansion of the Clark International Airport, which will get a new world-class terminal building to accommodate a projected 8 million passengers per year to help relieve the congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.

“This, truly, is where the future begins. We envision this as the hub of agro-industrial activities as well as the home for cutting-edge technology companies. Clark, in the near future, will be the growth driver for Luzon,” Dominguez said.

“Clark is on its way to becoming Asia’s next aerotropolis with the development not only of the airport, but the Clark Freeport as well, and the construction of the first smart, green, and resilient New Clark City (NCC),” BCDA Vice President for Business Development and Operations Group Joshua Bingcang said.

Aerotropolis is the concept of developing a city with the airport at its center.

Clark International Airport (CRK) is envisioned to be a major gateway, with its capacity expected to increase to 80 million passengers yearly at full development.

In 2017, CRK accommodated a total of 1.5 million passengers. Of the total, 1.08 million passengers took international flights while 431,343 were domestic passengers. As of March 2018, domestic and international flights per week increased to 452 from 406 in January.

BCDA is also building the NCC, which is expected to attract investors to further propel economic growth in the region. Apart from modern transport hubs and a mixed-use business and industrial community, the NCC will also feature the National Government Administrative Center (NGAC).

NGAC involves the development of back-up offices of various government agencies to ensure continuous business operations in case of calamities and disasters. Phase 1A of the project also features the construction of world-class sports facilities to be used for the Southeast Asian Games in November 2019. It covers 40 hectares.

BCDA and Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport and Urban Development (JOIN) signed a memorandum of cooperation with Surbana Jurong of Singapore on February 12, 2018 in Mactan, Cebu.

The collaboration marks the full implementation of New Clark City anchored on the Comprehensive Master Development Plan developed by BCDA and JOIN, in partnership with urban planning and engineering firms AECOM, Nippon Koei and Philkoei International Incorporated.

In the agreement, Surbana Jurong will assist BCDA and JOIN in drafting the development management framework, design standard guidelines and environmental guidelines to complement the masterplan of New Clark City.

“Surbana Jurong is proud to support BCDA and JOIN in developing New Clark City into the next big metropolis and become a showcase to the world of a smart and green city. We will leverage our over 50 years of urban and infrastructure development expertise and our global capabilities to manage the development of the city, and help the Philippine Government bring this vision to reality,” Surbana Jurong’s Group CEO Wong Heang Fine said.

Surbana Jurong will also help in utilizing Public-Private Partnerships to entice investors to New Clark City. It will also advise in the implementation plan of pioneer developers in New Clark City such as Filinvest Land, Inc.’s mixed-use industrial real estate developments, and MTD Capital Berhad’s National Government Administrative Center. It will also establish the framework of a smart city concept that will have fully-integrated infrastructure and utilities for power, water, sewerage, information and communication technology (ICT), security, and traffic management.

“New Clark City has tremendous potential, and we are committed to be long-term partners in the city’s growth. The transformation of this area will bring about sustainable growth and create jobs locally, and ultimately bring about long-lasting economic and social benefits for the country. We look forward to working together with BCDA and JOIN, as well as international investors and local communities, in making this project a success,” Fine said.

JOIN President and CEO Takuma Hatano recognized the significance of the Manila-Clark Railway (PNR North Railway) project in developing New Clark City as one of Japan’s biggest projects in the Philippines. The 106-kilometer alignment will connect Tutuban, Manila to the Clark International Airport and New Clark City.

“The railway will immensely benefit commuters as it will cut down travel time from Manila to Clark in an hour, from the current 2-3 hours travel time,” Hatano said. He said the railway is designed to accommodate around 350,000 passengers per day and will provide an efficient and more comfortable travel experience to commuters.

The first phase of the project is expected to be completed in 2021. The Manila-Clark Railway is being implemented by the Department of Transportation in partnership with BCDA, and will be funded through Japan’s official development assistance. The feasibility study and the detailed engineering design for the railway will be funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency.

15 April 2018



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