Tarlac Governor Susan Yap recently expressed full support for New Clark City (NCC) amidst fears that the project will result in the displacement of Aeta communities.
“The NCC is fully consistent with the pillars of my administration in Tarlac Province: jobs, food security, environment, and health,” the governor said.
“I am excited for the development that comes with the construction of NCC, a modern metropolis envisioned to be next growth driver in Luzon. It will be the country’s first smart, green, and resilient metropolis in the country,” Yap said.
Only 3,500 hectares out of the 9,450 hectare – project are buildable, leaving 6,000 hectares or 60% of green and open spaces for upland farming and forest reserves. Less than 40% will be developed.
One of the components of New Clark City, which is located in Capas, a municipality in Tarlac province, is the National Government Administrative Center (NGAC). It involves the construction of back-up offices of various agencies to ensure continuous business operations and services in case of disasters or natural calamities. The development will provide a domino effect locally and will be a big boost on the livelihood of many, especially Tarlaquenos.
“Not only will the project address the congestion problems in Metro Manila, but will also make our province an ideal investment destination in the country.
And this will mean jobs for Tarlaquenos,” she quipped.
Phase 1A of NGAC also features the construction of the state-of-the-art Athletics Stadium and Aquatics Center to be used for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games.
The governor allayed fears that the much-lauded project will result in the displacement of Aeta families.“We should not be myopic now that development is already right at our doorsteps,” Yap said.
There are no declared ancestral domains or Certificates of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADT) in the 40-hectare area covered by the NGAC. Thus, Aeta families are not displaced. In fact, New Clark City is creating opportunities for them because they are prioritized in hiring which have made them productive members of the community.
Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) reported that 300 Aetas are now working at NCC as part of the 6,000 workers. This represents 10 percent of the total workforce of Capas.
Governor Yap backed the statement of Capas Mayor Reynaldo Catacutan that “There is no truth in the news that there are tens of thousands of farmers and tribes people living in the 9,450 hectares’ development area.”
BCDA is building access roads to and from New Clark City that will provide access and connectivity to everyone, especially indigenous peoples (IPs), residents, and farmers for their livelihood.
“The development of roads and other infrastructure will benefit all stakeholders. They will be the first and biggest beneficiaries of these developments,” Governor Yap said.
The establishment of NCC went through planning, research, and consultation. Credible institutions such as the University of the Philippines and the Asian Development Bank worked with BCDA to study and to master-plan to ensure sustainability and inclusivity of New Clark City.
Regular dialogues among BCDA, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), and the communities were held to assure that they are part of the development.
“Our local government ensured that the stakeholders were involved in the consultation process held for the project. The residents, farmers and indigenous peoples (IPs) were consulted,” she said.