Gov’t eyes ‘cybercity’ in Clark to decongest Metro Manila

By Paolo Julian

The national government is laying the blueprint for an entirely new “cybercity” that is expected to rise in Angeles, Pampanga.

Clark Green City

Called the “Clark Green City”, the 9,450-hectare metropolis will rise within the 31,400-ha. Clark Freeport and Special Economic Zone, which is about half the size of Singapore.

“It will be very much IT-related and will require the most updated technology,” said Aileen R. Zosa, executive vice president of the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA). “The policy is to develop a new metropolis in Clark that will be logistics-based.”

It will be the country’s fifth largest metropolis after Metro Manila, Cebu, Davao, and Cagayan de Oro, Zosa told the recent Hitachi Social Innovation Forum.

A city government center will address the space requirements of government agencies in Metro Manila. The idea is to emphasize rural and regional development and decongest Metro Manila, according to NEDA director-general Ernesto Pernia.

Still, a lot of hurdles have to be passed, not the least the slow Internet speed, Zosa said, pointing to just one example. She said the 3.6 Mbps Internet speed in the Philippines is the slowest in the region, slower than that of Laos (4 Mbps) and way behind Singapore’s 61 Mbps.

Under the plan, buildings and infrastructure will only occupy 3,000 hectares so there will be more open spaces. Spacious 48-meter-wide avenues will accommodate cars, buses, trains, bikes, pedestrians and trees.

The new city will be master-planned and relatively-disaster proof since there are no earthquake faults within its perimeter. It is 100 meters above sea level, making it less prone to floods.

It will also contain the following campuses: 70-ha for University of the Philippines, 20-ha. for the Technological University of the Philippines, 15-ha. for a Research and Development Center, and 10-ha. for the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority or Tesda. There will also be a 50-ha sports city complex.

A Japanese company, meanwhile, will develop a 700-ha. Innovation and Industrial Corridor.

A “stock exchange” for fresh and processed agricultural produce will also rise. The food processing terminal and international food market “will unlock” the agricultural potentials of Central Luzon.

Renewables will be a part of the energy mix: a 100-Megawatt solar power farm will be put up by Sunray Power Inc. and a 25-MW solar farm will be set up by SSR C-Solar.

The Clark International Airport (CIA) will be expanded at a cost of P12.55 billion and will include a 82,600-square-meter terminal building to accommodate 80 million passengers annually by 2020. The first phase will accomodate 8 million passengers a year.

A Malolos-Clark rail link will guarantee a one-hour travel time instead of the two hours it now takes to cover the two points. The next phase will be an express service from the CIA to Clark Green City. During the first year, it will carry 350,000 passengers daily.

A North-South Commuter Railway System that is planned from the Tutuban Station in Manila to Malolos will be extended up to the new city. It will be part of a Philippine National Railway long-haul track that will run all the way to Cagayan Valley up north.

The planned rail system makes the Clark Green City an ideal logistics hub, straddling as it does four expressways: Central Luzon Expressway now under construction and the North Luzon, Tarlac-Pampanga-La Union and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressways.

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