Bargaining chip

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    ABSENT A single entrant to the bidding last month, the Bases Conversion and Development Authority slashed the floor price for Phase 1 of its Clark Green City project from P500 million to P160 million.

    The basement price was further sweetened with the removal of the requisite P2.5 billion initial cash investment.

    At its inception, the BCDA bullishly projected Phase 1 at a total cost of P59 billion through the Public-Private Partnership scheme.

    Correspondingly, the BCDA has scaled down – in fact, did a diminution of – the CGC project from an initial 36,000 hectares to 9,450 hectares with its Phase 1 measuring only 288 hectares. Out of grand designs, trivial things aborning.

    From whopper to wimp. As we quote from our seminary Latin which ex-seminarian BCDA President-CEO Arnel Paciano Casanova may well understand: “Parturiunt montes, nascitur ridiculus mus ( The mountains are in labor, a ridiculous mouse is born).”

    Go awry the best laid schemes of mice and men. Indeed, Robert Burns, indeed.

    In effect the BCDA designed a megamall only to end up with a tiangge. And still no buyers. Aye, short shrift of Gulliver’s Travel from the Brobdingnagian to the Lilliputian there.

    Can’t help but wax classic here.

    At the turn of the scheme of things at the CGC at this point, prescient, if not prophetic, Pinoy Gumising Ka Movement Chair Perto Cruz emerged.

    Quotes from the Sept. 29, 2014 story here titled CIA as int’l gateway, rail system prerequisite to Clark Green City:

    To Cruz, the “full operation” of the Clark International Airport as international gateway “is prime essential to the very being” of the Clark Green City.

    “No foreign investor in his right mind will sink in millions of dollars in a place accessible only through the congested NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) and traffic-gridlocked Metro Manila. Simple as that,” Cruz said.

    A “necessary complement” to the Clark airport is a rail system between the metropolis and Clark “for ease and facility of travel,” according to Cruz.

    This, at the time apl.de.app, the Angeles City-born member of the Grammy Awardwinning Black Eyed Peas, signed with the BCDA a memorandum of understanding “to promote and market worldwide key areas of investment and development…including but not limited to the Clark Freeport Zone and the Clark Green City.”

    “No offense to apl.de.app. but it’s not him, even granting his global fame, that shall attract potential investments to the Clark Green City,” so was Cruz quoted, qualifying: “The Clark Green City project may generate publicity with apl.de.ap as its poster boy, but what will attract investments will be infrastructures in-place that shall ascertain its viability.”

    That was the first and – to date – last time apl.de.app figured in any BCDA press release.

    Which lent further credence to the public declaration of the PGKM, published here on Aug 20, 2014 that Clark Green City is ‘plain publicity stunt.’

    The PGKM was reacting to reports that the BCDA would not spend for the development of the envisioned CGC but instead start bidding out contracts covering its long-term lease and development without cost to the government This, after Casanova himself said at a forum of the Capampangan in Media Inc. at Bale Balita in Clark that the CGC had a funding of P7.2 billion.

    “First there was an announcement of P7.2 billion funding for the CGC. Now the government won’t even spend anything but would only auction it to investors.” So was Cruz quoted in the story.

    And queried: “What should we believe?… What results are we expecting here when Casanova has less than two years left in office?”

    “You have been in your positions in government for so long since the start of the Aquino administration, and yet you have nothing to show. Why is it only now that you are moving for the development of the sub-zone?”

    Noting then that the CGC, “even in the unlikelihood that it really does take shape,” is “destined to be a white elephant like the Expo Pilipino,” because the key to attracting investors is the airport.

    To the PGKM the premium bargaining chip for the CGC is the Clark International Airport.

    None other.

    As that story quoted Cruz: “Everything is now dependent on the (Clark) airport because without it, no one will come,” Build it – the CIA as premier international gateway – and they will come.

    The “Field of Dreams” all too clear there.

    Too bad Casanova is no Kevin Costner.

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