FOREIGN Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano recently spearheaded groundbreaking ceremonies for a new track and field and swimming center, as well as National Government Administrative Center (NGAC), in Capas, Tarlac.
Cayetano, who is chairman of the 2019 Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee, said: “we were assured that these facilities will be built months ahead of the SEA Games in November 2019,” Cayetano said of the P13.16 billion project.
‘Smart, green city’
The NGAC, which will serve as back-up offices for government institutions and agencies in Manila should the metropolis be struck by a natural disaster, will be part of a 9,450ha “smart, green city” being developed 208 km north of Manila by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) in Capas City.
The BCDA is developing it into the Philippines’ first “smart, green, disaster-resilient city”, in partnership with the Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation.
New Clark City will reportedly be bigger than Manhattan in New York by the time it is fully developed in 30 to 40 years with a population of about two million. It is expected to contribute about 1.57 trillion pesos a year to the national economy.
It sits between two former United States military compounds: Clark air base, now a thriving free port; and Subic naval base, now a trading hub and economic zone north of Manila.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration has been backing private efforts to develop new urban centres across the Philippines to better disperse economic opportunities and de-clog Manila, an already overcrowded city with an overstretched infrastructure that causes massive traffic jams and experiences frequent breakdowns of public services.
Manila is the densest city in the world, with 18,000 people per sq km, twice New York’s level.
Rizal memorial sports complex up for rehab
With Cayetano at last week’s event were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade, Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar Sen. Joel Villanueva, BCDA president Vince Dizon, Philippine Sports Commission chairman Butch Ramirez and Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose Cojuangco Jr.
Also present were Makati Congressman and taekwondo secretary general Monsour del Rosario, the national team chief of mission for the 2019 SEA Games; and former PSC chairman Richie Garcia, a special assistant to the POC president.
As part of the environment-friendly project, the BCDA plans to build a 20,000-capacity track and field stadium and a 2,000-capacity aquatic center as the main venues for the centerpiece events of athletics and swimming.
“Both facilities must be ready months ahead of the Games because it will have to be tested if they are performance-ready,” said Cayetano, “although the PSC is looking at alternative venues just in case.”
He said that together with the POC and the PSC “we are still determining where the SEA Games opening ceremonies will be held: in Clark, Subic or Bulacan. It will be held outside of Metro Manila.”
Ramirez echoed Cayetano’s sentiments, saying: “I am also confident that these two venues will be built on time even as we rehabilitate our other government-owned venues such as those inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.”
World-class sports facilities
The BCDA has conferred with officials of the Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association and the Philippine Swimming Inc. so that both sports facilities meet international standards.
PSI secretary general Lani Cayetano said the Asian Aquatic Sports Federation had sent its Jordanian technical director, Ibrahim Daddeh, to talk with BCDA officials so the aquatics venue would comply with the International Swimming Federation, known by its French acronym FINA, regulations.
Philippine Athletics Track and Field Association secretary general Renato Unso said PATAFA sent a technical official from the International Association of Athletic Federations regarding the track and field stadium.
Center of the future
Malaysia’s MTD Capital submitted last year an unsolicited 122 billion peso proposal to build a 207ha national government administrative centre at New Clark City, similar to Putrajaya in Malaysia.
The cost for the 9,450 ha New Clark City being developed north of Manila is $40B. The project is expected to contribute a year to the Philippine economy, when it it is fully develiped in 30 to 40 years.
Like Putrajaya, it will house satellite offices and major administrative offices of various departments and agencies. There will also be an extension office for the Philippine president and executive buildings, as well as sites for embassies and international schools.
The Philippine government has earmarked about 8 trillion pesos for the infrastructure needed to support efforts like New Clark City.
The Singapore consulting firm Surbana Jurong is helping the Philippine government prepare detailed design standards and guidelines for New Clark City.
Surbana Jurong is one of the largest Asia-based urban, industrial and infrastructure consulting firms in the world, with 120 offices in more than 40 countries.
Its flagship project is the Suzhou Singapore Industrial Township, a 7,000ha industrial park with an integrated “work-live-learn-play concept”. It also provided services for the Bakun hydroelectric project on the Balui tributary of the Rejang River in Sarawak, Malaysia.
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