By Chino Leyco
CAPAS, Tarlac – The first phase of the New Clark City will be completed within the next three months, which is way ahead of the Duterte administration’s October deadline, the infrastructure developer MTD Philippines, Inc. said on Wednesday.
The 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, which the Philippines will host in November, will be played in the New Clark City sports complex.
Patrick P. Nicholas David, MTD Philippines president, said phase one of the massive 9,450-hectare government-led development project is already 80-percent complete and will be fully finished within the next 73 days, or on August 31.
“We are on track of meeting the actual deadline set by the government of finishing it by October 15. And we are actually eyeing to meet our self-imposed deadline of August 31, or within the next 73 days,” David told reporters.
The local unit of Malaysian developer MTD Capital Bhd., along with its government partner Bases Conversion and Development Authority, want to finish the initial phase of the New Clark City before the end of third-quarter and prepare the facility for 2019 SEA Games.
The New Clark City’s sport complex will also house the athletics stadium, aquatics centre, athlete’s village, and government residences.
The actual construction of the first phase started on March 15 last year, and David said, “we just want to be ahead of the curve” of the government’s 18-month development program.
To meet their self-imposed deadline, David said MTD Philippines hired 8,000 workers, and the construction site is currently operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
He said most of the materials used were sourced locally but the design of the facility was benchmarked internationally.
David said after the SEA Games, the facility could also be used by athletes preparing to compete in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
“Not only that. We were also approached by some countries to train their athletes here before heading to Tokyo for the Olympics,” David said, but refused to mention the countries that expressed their interest to use the facility.
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III had earlier said the construction of New Clark City “makes sense” and would transform it into the country’s next big metropolis and decongest Metro Manila’s highly populated urban centers.
He said the New Clark City was envisioned to be a hub of agro-industrial activities, home to cutting-edge technology and logistics companies and host to well-equipped backup government centers and world-class sports facilities.
He said the development of New Clark City would be supported by the construction of railways going to Subic and to Manila and the expansion of the Clark International Airport, which would get a new world-class terminal building to accommodate a projected eight million passengers a year to help relieve the congestion at Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Parañaque City.