TARLAC CITY–A P1.5-trillion mega city project that is envisioned to become the new urban core for innovation, commerce, trade and industry and population center will rise in Tarlac province and will be completed within the next 30 years.

Called Clark Green City, it will be built on 9,450 hectares of lands straddling the towns of Bamban and Capas and is designed as an alternative capital to ease congestion in Metro Manila.

It is a pet project of President Aquino, the biggest of its kind in the country to be undertaken as a final act by his administration, according to Lawyer Arnel Paciano D. Casanova, president and chief operating officer of the Bases Conversation and Development Authority.

“All resources will be poured into the new metropolis to show that President Aquino is not neglecting his home province contrary to what Tarlaquenos say,” Casanova said.

Casanova and his BCDA team were here to explain, through a power-point presentation, to the people and media persons about the components and rationale of the ambitious project that will be the “first, green and disaster-resilient master-planned community in the entire country.”

“It will be sustaining the momentum of the Philippines as the second fastest growing economy in Asia, after China,” he said.

When fully developed, Clark Green City will have a population of 1.2 million, 800,000 workers and contribute a gross output of US$34-Billion per year to the national economy or roughly 4 percent share of the gross domestic product.

It can also be a hub for international ports because of the proximity of Subic as seaport and Clark as an airport.

The future site of the mega city is located 120 kilometers north of Manila via the North Luzon Expressway and 90 kilometers from the Subic Bay Freeport via the Subic-Tarlac-Clark (SCTEX).

Next year, President Aquino who approved the development plans, will preside over the ground-breaking ceremony for the Clark Green City.

“We adopted the name of Clark because it will be easier for us to sell the project as Clark is known worldwide among a great number of investors,” Casanova explained.”It is like Subic which is more popularly known abroad than Olongapo City, where it is located.”

It was learned that last month, BCDA inked an agreement with the Swedish government and private firms to develop the Clark Green City. As a start, the Swedish Environment Institute (IVL), ElectricCity and Xeric AB plans to set up projects here.

Last December 1 in Paris, President Aquino witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between BCDA and the French government and private companies like Vivapolis.

Also, early this month, BCDA and Sunray Power, Inc. signed an agreement for the power company to lease 260 hectares within the proposed green city for the construction of a 100-megawatt solar power facility worth P11.75-Billion.

Photo: Lawyer Arnel Paciano D. Casanova, president and CEO of Bases Conversion and Development Authority explains the need to build the P1.5-Trillion Clark Green City in Tarlac as an alternative capital to ease congestion in Metro Manila. HOMER TEODORO/NorthboundPH