By Roy C. Mabasa
Tokyo, Japan — The development of the Clark Green City (CGC) into a megazone will transform the sprawling area situated in Capas, Tarlac as a symbolic city not just for the Philippines but for ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) as well.
This was how enthusiastic Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation for Transport and Development (JOIN) President and CEO Takuma Hatano discussed the endless possibilities that the project will bring to the entire Southeast Asia when he sat down to be interviewed by Manila Bulletin recently at his company’s headquarters here.
JOIN is the first and only government-private-sponsored fund in Japan that specializes in overseas infrastructure investment. Its role is to support and facilitate Japanese corporations to participate in the global infrastructure market by providing equity to infrastructure projects overseas; negotiating and discussing with the government of the country in question to mitigate foreseeable investment risks for the Japanese corporates involved; and providing technical support through human resource secondment.
JOIN is currently working on a joint venture with the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) to conduct a master plan for the development of CGC.
Hatano said the plan to construct this new city is “really important” as it will serve as a new flagship modern city in the region.
Powering the future
The idea for the development of the area, he said, is spurred by the introduction of new levels of technology particularly in the areas of information and communications, energy, transportation, hospital and even education.
Hatano pointed out that as part of the infrastructure for urban development, all ICT networks to be installed in CGC will be through undersea cable such as those in Japan and the United States.
In terms of energy, he said liquefied natural gas (LNG) as an environmentally friendly energy source will also be introduced.
Hatano pointed out that LNG will be backed by renewable energy (RE). However, this is not stable when it comes to industrial zones. “They need stable power,” he explained. “As a matter of timing, the Philippines would need to introduce the importance of LNG.”
The plan is to construct a receiving terminal somewhere in Subic which Hatano said is a big port.
“So there’s a triangle – Subic-Clark Airport-Clark City. It’s a logistics network,” he said.
Another new technology to be introduced is in the hospitals where new graduates from medicine and nursing could be trained to upgrade their experience in technology, such as in simulators.
“Those are the kinds that would be installed in CGC hospitals,” said Hatano.
Furthermore, he noted that one of the issues they have observed in the Philippines is the gap between the rich and poor.
“Many poor Filipino have never accessed hospital services,” said Hatano. “Through this ICT, distant diagnosis will be possible. We will construct one-room building where doctors and nurse could be reached by patients. If necessary they would go and see the doctor and prescription could be prepared.”
He said these kinds of services would be made available only when communication networks have been laid down and connected to Manila.
According to Hatano, Japan has never conducted urban development in this scale “from the very starting stage, from the ground.”
He said they even formed development teams consisting of nearly 30 private companies from Japan such as Hitachi, NEC who provide ideas on what function should be included in the masterplan. “They may, at the end, if they’re commercially viable, they may have an interest in investing in CGC,” said Hatano.