15 July 2013

PAF’s transfer to Subic eyed

Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) president Arnel Casanova bared this yesterday during a meeting with members of the Capampangans in Media, Inc.

An estimated 146 hectares of the free-port are currently under lease to investors.

The PAF facility is home to the 600th Air Base Wing under an annually renewable agreement between the BCDA and the Department of National Defense (DND).

Six other PAF units that comprise two thirds of the country’s entire air force are also based in Clark.

Some 2,400 hectares of land here are being managed by the BCDA’s implementing arm Clark Development Corp. (CDC).

Another 2,200 hectares comprise the aviation complex under the Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC).

The air base is occupying an area being administered by the CDC and the CIAC.

Clark Field was a former United States air force base until 1991 when the Philippines-US bases agreement was revoked and the Americans left.

The US withdrawal paved the way for the government to declare the area as an economic zone, although 360 hectares were reserved for the PAF base.

The PAF area has features all left behind by the Americans, including spacious housing units, a hotel, a small golf course, an Olympic sized swimming pool, an officers club building, among other facilities that could otherwise be ideal for tourism projects.

“The BCDA is eyeing the transfer of the Philippine Air Force from Clark to enable us to have more land for leasing. We plan to implement this during the term of President Aquino,” Casanova said.

At the same time, Casanova said the BCDA has remained open to bidders for the development of a master plan for a Clark Green City covering some 36,000 hectares of lands in the so-called Sacobia area north of the free-port. The site used to be military reservation for the US military base.

When completed, it will make Clark a beautiful, highly integrated, high-tech, green community just like Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City that could be compared to Silicon Valley in California, Casanova said.

Casanova also noted that the BCDA has already invested P33.8 billion in Central Luzon to create opportunities for investment and employment in the region.

Of the P33.8 billion, P30.68 billion was used in the construction of the 94-kilometer Subic Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) that was dubbed the most modern tollway connecting the Subic Bay Freeport Zone and the Clark Freeport.

“BCDA, together with its subsidiaries, CDC and CIAC, is committed to actively pursue the development of Central Luzon. The development of Central Luzon is not merely a local or regional concern, it is a matter of national interest,” Casanova stressed. (Ding Cervantes, Philippine Star)