New Clark City project hires more than 300 Aeta workers

The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) and its partner, infrastructure developer MTD Philippines, hired more than 300 Aeta workers in New Clark City project.

“There are more than 300 Aetas working at our project site. And we will still employ them for maintenance after the project completion. They are accorded the same salary rate and are provided protective gears for personal safety,” said Engr. Patrick Nicholas David, president of MTD Philippines.

Jaymar Tiglao of Sitio Kalangitan is only one of the more than 300 Aetas employed in the construction of New Clark City Phase 1A or the National Government Administrative Center (NGAC).

According to Tiglao, since the start of the development project, many of them in the Aeta communities no longer need to continue planting camote crops in the upland. Their debts in “sari-sari” stores had already been paid off with the salaries they got from their more stable jobs as laborers in New Clark City. Some of them were even able to purchase motorcycles.

Those without jobs no longer hang around doing nothing and have become more productive, Tiglao said. “Maaga na natutulog ang mga tao dahil maaga na sila nagigising para pumasok. Nawala na ang mga tambay sa aming lugar.”

Phase 1A of the New Clark City project is already close to 90 percent complete.

Engr. Joshua Bingcang, BCDA senior vice president for business development and operations, said residents, farmers and indigenous peoples (IPs) were consulted in the development of the project, even as there is no declared ancestral domains or Certificates of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADT) in the area.

“Since 2014, kinakausap na namin ang mga tao. Hindi kami basta basta pumasok diyan hangga’t walang pagsang-ayon ang mga tao,” Bingcang asserted.

Financial assistance packages amounting to Php300,000 per hectare (or Php30.00/sq.m.) were made available, the highest compensation package provided by government, to project-affected people. Relocation sites within New Clark City were also provided for those whose residential structures were affected.

BCDA also worked with credible institutions, such as the University of the Philippines and the Asian Development Bank, to master plan, and ensure the sustainability and inclusivity of New Clark City.