(At the heart of Putrajaya lies the pink mosque.)
(Tarlac Gov. Susan Yap, Capas Mayor Rey Catacutan and BCDA SVP Joshua Bingcang are taken on a lake cruise by MTDCB officials led by group financial officer Tee Kim Shaw.)
(Ministry of Finance building.)
(The iconic Putra Mosque and the green-domed Perdana Putra viewed from across the lake. Photos by Bong Lacson)
PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia – What scale of this awesomeness will we get to see at the New Clark City (NCC)?
Malaysia’s administrative center, officially named Federal Territory of Putrajaya, awes, grandly – in scope and scale, in aesthetics too – from its broad boulevards to the government buildings and residential high-rises fusing the modern and traditional; to its seven bridges, each of a distinct design and form; to the pink Putra Mosque, and the green-domed Perdana Putra housing the Office of the Prime Minister.
A brainchild of Mahathir Muhamad in his early foray into the country’s premiership, Putrajaya was primarily established to decongest the capital Kuala Lumpur and centralize government administrative services. By 1999, government agencies have located to Putrajaya.
By the same token, the NCC has been planned, and is now in frenzied development undertaken via a joint venture between the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) and MTD Capital Berhad (MTDCB) of Malaysia.
So, how much of the template that is Putrajaya be actualized at the NCC?
Tee Kim Shaw, MTDCB group financial officer, while implying the economics of scale in referencing to the US$8.2 billion the Putrajaya Holdings invested in the whole complex, nonetheless assured of an NCC that “will live up to its promise” of being the Philippines’ “first smart, green, disaster-resilient” city.
On a cruise at the man-made Putra Lake, Tarlac Gov. Susan Yap enthused: “It’s exciting now that we are also going to have facilities like these. It shows that the Philippines is also capable of putting up a back-up government center like our Asean neighbor.”
“I’m very grateful to President Duterte for believing in investing in Tarlac in this undertaking by BCDA,” she added. With the BCDA, MTDCB is building the initial development stages of the 9,450-hectare NCC in Capas town.
Mayor Reynaldo Catacutan’s excitement could not be contained: “I’m happy that the Philippines’ first smart city will be built here in Capas. Soon, huge investments will be pouring in our municipality, and locators will see the great economic potential in Capas.”
On-track for completion in October is the Athletes’ Village, among the other sports facilities in time for the Southeast Asian Games 2019 before the end of this year.
Said Yap: “I’m excited about everything and our hosting of SEA Games. But apart from that, we are glad about the possibilities of creating a new metropolis in Central Luzon which is going to be housed in Tarlac.”
From Putrajaya, Yap and Catacutan, along with the local media, were also given a tour of the Kuala Lumpur Sports City (formerly known as Bukit Jalil National Sports Complex) comprising of an 85,000-seater stadium, the Axiata Arena that hosted the Paquiao-Mathysse fight last year, and the National Aquatic Center.
“Pwede naman nating i-compare kung ano ginagawa natin sa NCC sa mga ginagawa nila dito. Tinitingnan natin ang kanilang ginawang paghahanda para maseguro nating hindi naman tayo mapahiya sa ating mga bisita,” Catacutan remarked as he surveyed the expansive stadium.
No, what is being built at the NCC is not as “gargantuan” as KLSC’s stadium. It will be some-20,000-seater, MTDCB clarified.
MTD Philippines, a subsidiary of MTDCB, is building the 200-hectare Phase 1 of the National Government Administrative Center (NGAC) in NCC that will house world-class facilities to be used for the 2019 SEA Games.
Also included in the Phase 1 are back-up offices of various government agencies to ensure continues business operations in cases of disasters or calamities in Metro Manila.
MTD is investing about US$245 in the Phase 1 of NCC. Its parent company is widely known for projects in toll roads, property and port developments, manufacturing, energy and waste development in Malaysia. Currently, it has ventures abroad such as the One Crown Place in London and the upgrading of portions of South Luzon Expressway and many others.
For its part, BCDA executives have recognized the support host local government units, particularly the Provincial Government of Tarlac and the Municipality of Capas while ensuring more robust economic developments in the area.
“Apart from the strong support from the leaders of the province of Tarlac, we make sure that we give priorities to local communities thru jobs generated so that they can have sense of ownership in the project,” said Engr. Joshua Bingcang, BCDA senior vice president for business development and operations.
“There’s a big certainty that Clark can become the next business, investment and tourism center (in the Philippines). The areas around it already serve as magnet for big developers. The investors have already started to include Clark in their next investment plans. We foresee a big upside in real estate development which will in turn create bigger incomes thru real estate taxes,” he added.
– With BCDA reports