Arroyo sees Pampanga Megalopolis as new economic center

Pampanga province is on its way to become a megalopolis and next economic corridor on the back of government’s infrastructure projects and private sector investments, according to former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

“The private sector and the government cooperation will play a significant role in transforming Pampanga into the country’s next major economic corridor,” Arroyo said in a statement.

Arroyo, a former speaker of the House of Representatives, said there is already a development plan, designed by urban planner Felino A. Palafox Jr. upon my request to transform 218,100 hectares across 19 municipalities and three cities in Pampanga into a megalopolis, or a cluster of metropolitan areas, that will unlock the vast economic potential of the province and decongest Metro Manila.

The megalopolis will span various cities and towns led by the Pampanga Golden Triangle which is composed of the cities of Angeles, San Fernando and Mabalacat and the high-density and fast-growing municipalities of Porac, Floridablanca, Lubao, Guagua, Santa Rita and Bacoor.  From the Pampanga Golden Triangle, the development will spread to a larger part of the province, according to Arroyo.

Arroyo, who has been appointed by President Duterte as the presidential adviser for Clark flagship projects, said property and real estate companies already started investing in major projects in Pampanga, after we started the footprint for the massive development of the province in 2016. 

Arroyo together with former Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda, tapped the private space planners to undertake the study focusing on Pampanga province as the epicenter of progress and development in Central Luzon.

In the study for the Pampanga Megalopolis 2017-2040, Arroyo said she personally believes that Pampanga will truly become the gateway of Asia to the Philippines and the business and financial center of Northern Luzon.

“The mega project also aims to make Pampanga as a major investment hub in the region. It will be supported by existing and future infrastructure projects such as the Clark International Airport, North Luzon Expressway, Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway and Manila-Clark Railway, according to the study made by the space planners.

When completed, it will become a jewel in Southeast Asia and the gateway of Asia,” said Arroyo.

Pampanga is already the gateway to Central and Northern Luzon.  The development of the SCAD corridor, interconnecting Subic, Clark, and Tarlac and the rise of Clark International Airport as well as the construction of Manila-Clark Railway will further boost the status of the province as the “Gateway of Asia” to the Philippines, Arroyo said.

She said that more than a substitute to the Manila International Airport, Clark International Airport is a major development in itself and can accommodate the logistics and airport industry of both Central and Northern Luzon.

Arroyo said the “Build, Build, Build” projects of the government will also support the development of the Pampanga Megalopolis. She said the construction of the Manila-Clark Railway is now in full serving, while the Clark-Subic Railway will start soon.

Under the masterplan, Pampanga will also have integrated mass-transport systems including Bus Rapid Transit, an LRT, wide roads with special lanes that promote walkability and bikeability, and a feeder system using medium-capacity vehicles.

Arroyo said Pampanga is already one of the largest consumer markets in the Philippines, with five SM shopping malls, three Robinsons Malls, a Vista Mall, a Nepo Mall and 50 Jollibee outlets which speak of the residents’ growing purchasing power.