Philippines, Japan sign $2-M deal to develop Clark Green City

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The plan to turn Clark Green City into a new urban hub is now underway, as the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and the Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport and Urban Development (JOIN) just signed a $2 million joint venture agreement on March 8 (Wednesday).

In the past, the government-owned BCDA worked with the private sector to build the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx), as well as Bonifacio Global City and Newport City, two of Manila’s prime economic centers.

The agreement signing, which took place at Taguig City on March 8 (Wednesday), is expected to result in a masterplan for the 9,450-hectare proposed business hub in Central Luzon.

Clark Green City is projected to become the Philippines’ first green, smart, and disaster-resilient city.

Located at the Clark Special Economic Zone, it is strategically positioned between the highly urbanizing cities of San Fernando, Angeles and Olongapo, as well as the cities of San Carlo, Dagupan, and Urdaneta in Northern Luzon. Clark Green City is also near the Clark International Airport and the Subic Seaport.

At full development, Clark Green City will have around 1.12 million residents, 800,000 workers, and contribute a gross output of approximately P1.57 trillion per year to the national economy, or roughly a four-percent share in the Philippines’ Gross Domestic Product.

The green city’s strategic location and connectivity to Central Luzon’s major cities through major expressways like SCTEx, NLEx (North Luzon Expressway ),TPLEx (Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway), and soon CLEx (Central Luzon Expressway) will allow convergence from north, east, south, and west, and serve a catchment population of about 12 million people.

Fifty-five percent of the $2 million-worth initial investment to develop Clark Green City will be provided by JOIN, according to its president and CEO Takuma Hatano.

Hatano added that 20 Japanese companies from the fields of healthcare, infrastructure, and communication and information technology have already expressed interest to establish businesses at Clark Green City.

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Arnel Casanova, BCDA president and CEO, said the deal is a win-win situation for both parties: 45 percent of the joint venture will be owned by BCDA, and 55 percent by JOIN.

He explained that while Japan is financially capable of providing jobs for Filipinos, the Philippines has the manpower to work in various industries.

Although some Korean and Singaporean companies have also expressed interest in Clark Green City, the BCDA chief said they are not rushing to sign new agreements since the Philippines will soon elect a new president.

Pampanga-based correspondent Justine Dizon contributed to this report.