So reiterated Councilor Amos Rivera of his stand against the Clark Green Frontier mixedused commercial complex of Singapore-based Capilion Corp. Limited.
“I hope I am wrong, but I see a total traffic gridlock within its vicinity,” said Rivera during the Talk Widus forum of the Pampanga Press Club at Widus Hotel and Casino here Wednesday.
Clark Green Frontier is located right at the very entrance to this Freeport, which, Rivera and daily commuters said, is already prone to “morning rush and after-work traffic jams” affecting Barangays Balibago and Malabanias.
Rivera, the chair of city council transportation and traffic committee, does not see much promise in the traffic impact assessment (TIA) undertaken by the University of the Philippines’s national Center for Transportation Studies (UP-nCTS) which the Clark Development Corp. would prove that the Capilion project is well-suited on its controversial location.
Rivera bewailed the study as being “after the fact, a reverse of the usual process in building and construction.”
“You make the traffic impact study before designating the site, to really gauge the effect on time and motion around the area,” said Rivera who himself had taken up traffic studies at UP.
“As it is now, it would look like the study is being customized to fit rationalize the Capilion plans and show mere compliance, not to really assess the impact,” he said.
This, even as admitted having been “disturbed” by the “refusal” of the CDC to make the UP study public despite demands from the city council, some business leaders and the advocacy group Pinoy Gumising Ka Movement.
As early as August last year, the CDC has pleaded for patience and promised to present the UP study.
A month after, the CDC Communications Department said the UP study still needed “corrections and recommendations” from the CDC and Capilion which prompted the PGKM to accuse them of “doctoring” the study.
1,200 parking slots
In a meeting late last year with CDC President-CEO Arthur Tugade, along with Pampanga Congressmen Joseller Guiao and Oscar Rodriguez on the Capilion project, Rivera precisely took the traffic issue.
“I asked (Tugade) how many parking slots are contained in the Capilion site. He answered 1,200,” recalled Rivera. “Then I asked how many will work there. He answered 25,000.”
“Only ten percent of those workers owning vehicles will be more than twice the capacity of Capilion’s parking slots,” said Rivera. “Workers pa lang yan, e yun pang mallgoers [with Capilion also engaging in commercial retail]?"
Tugade did respond to the statement, said Rivera.
He likewise lamented the lack of coordination between CDC and the city government: “With due respect, it’s just like they are an independent republic, indifferent to whatever they may adversly cause the city.
Aside from traffic problem, Rivera also expressed apprehension over the resulting social costs over the Capilion commercial complex, seeing that the city will suffer in the long run.
“We should consider its social cost. We may earn P1 but eventually lose P2, so what benefit can we get there?” Rivera said.
Local businesses will be adversely affected if the facility is erected in its present location considering its proximity in the city’s commercial district, said Rivera even as he a seeming “uneven playing field” owing to projected tax- and duty-free privileges of Capilion as freeport locator vis-à-vis the VAT, business and other taxes levied on city businesses.
He likewise cited the migration of workers, garbage and sanitation management, as other social costs to be considered.