Central Luzon is the Future

My bragging right. I was a member of the board of the Bases Conversion And Development Authority (BCDA) when the concept of a metropolis should be built as an answer to decongest Metro Manila. The result: Clark Green City. All board directors came with their inputs. I was most delighted because I was the only director living on the proposed plan which is Capas town of Tarlac province, few kilometers from Angeles City.

I resigned from BCDA in 2013,because I can’t turn down the request of former Congressman and Mayor Carmelo ‘Tarzan’ Lazatin to include me in his ticket who then attempted to retake city hall. I am comfortable enough to know now that the present leadership at BCDA led by President Vince Dizon is now with rolled sleeves and pursue the green city project with much passion.

It was in the papers recently that Central Luzon region economic growth last year was 9.5% much bigger than the 6.5% GDP of the country. With Clark Green City to be partly operational next year investors are now according to observers are betting big and wanted to be part of the action. Expansion of the Clark Airport and a fast commuter train from Metro Manila to Clark will further stimulate activities.

Next question is how the three corridor cities of Angeles, Mabalacat and San Fernando which are on the roll will react to these fast changing developments. And the province of Pampanga too. Never this province and so many other towns witnessed progress ever witnessed before. For example, the provincial capitol’s revenue is reaching an all time high, breaching the P2 billion and may break. The figure may increase even before the well loved Governor Lilia ‘Nanay Baby ‘ Pineda will leave the Capitol in 2019. In case you don’t know, she will be completing by then her third term in office.

And to point out also that the City of San Fernando never had it so good. The progress in the city came as a consequence of the three terms of ex-Mayor Oscar Rodriguez who introduced the concept of best practices in local governance when he was at the helm of city hall. Now there is a follow through by Mayor Edwin Santiago which is well received by the Fernandinos.

In fairness to former Mabalacat City Mayor Marino ‘Boking’ Morales, he can be credited why the once PX town morphed into a bustling city now. In the previous years, Mabalacat’s economy greatly depended on the former Clark Air Force Base. Maybe almost half of the then 22,000 Filipino workers came from Mabalacat town.

The post exchanges (PX) items coming out of the gates of the military installation and were sold openly drew buyers from all over perk up the local economy.

Morales proof that Mabalacat really progressed are the three functioning city hall buildings. The old one in the town proper, one in Xevera and another one in Clark Freeport. That’s some kind of a record, like his own record of being mayor for the past 21 years. And with bigger passion, now Mayor Cris Garbo is proving to all and sundry he can be as committed and passionate in scoring more progress for his city.

Angeles City Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan was voted several times both by local and international bodies as one of the best mayors in the country. There is now an ongoing re-development of the city, and credit should go to Pamintuan. In his written ‘covenant ‘ with his constituents, he vowed to finish all the projects he rolled out and those which are still in the drawing board.

Some 50 kilometers from the Clark Green City in Capas town, there is the thousand hectares along the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) in Porac town being developed by the Ayalas. It is called the Alviera. It’s designed to be a live-work community with tranquil surroundings. It’s also an alternative for the metropolitan Manila people who wanted to escape the hustle and bustle of the metropolis, its never ending traffic woes and congestion. I can see that in fifty years from today tall buildings will mushroom in these two areas of Porac and Capas.

Editor’s Note: Formerly newspaperman of Daily Inquirer and other major dailies; former TV and radio Broadcaster. Former Director of various corporations like Clark Development Co.; and a former City of Angeles Councillor. Now a regular columnist of Sun Star Pampanga