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The 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games can only be hosted in a grand venue to match. The first phase of the New Clark City (NCC) in Capas, Tarlac, is more than up to this task.
World-Class Athletic Facilities
The NCC is an ongoing development situated in Capas, a municipality of Tarlac in Central Luzon. The first phase of this project has garnered much attention for its role in hosting the pre-qualifying competitions as well as the event proper of the 30th SEA Games. The facilities of Phase 1A currently include an Aquatics Center with a full-sized swimming pool and an Athletics Stadium with a 400-meter standard track.
According to the Philippine Information Agency, other preparations of the NCC’s phase 1A for the SEA Games include the construction of an Athletes’ Village to house the competitors, volunteers, and officials of this international event. The village has facilities for persons with disabilities, as well as provisions for cooking, conferences, and rest and recreation. This existing sports complex will soon be expanded to include facilities for other sports such as football, tennis and cycling. Other Phase 1 buildings also include government offices, parks and other leisure facilities.
In a press release by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) president Vince Dizon to local major news outlets such as ABS-CBN, it was announced that the NCC will be officially opened to the public on November 8, 2019, just in time for the SEA Games.
After the SEA Games
Even as the SEA Games will be conducted, construction on Phase 2 of the NCC will continue, according to Dizon. This second phase will house government buildings in addition to those already in Phase 1. The sports facilities will be privatized for mixed use. This is to ease the NCC into its new role as a major hub of development in Central Luzon.
The NCC has also been touted as a metropolis planned for sustainability. The BCDA, in a July 2019 press release, has stated that only 40% of the allotted 9,450 hectares of the NCC will be developed, leaving 60% as green and open space for upland farming and forest conservation. One sustainable development is the planned River Park Corridor along the Cutcut River, which will help ensure the sustainability of the NCC’s water supply while protecting the local ecosystem.
Beyond the fame and accolades, the NCC is poised to play a major role in the planned decongestion of Metro Manila. The BCDA, as reported in the Philippine Star, has expressed its support for the proposal to move more key government agencies to NCC as part of making the area the new seat of government by 2030. This initiative has been championed by Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, in keeping with similar developments in Southeast Asia. Under Senator Gatchalian’s proposal, the offices to be moved to NCC will include those of the executive branch such as the Office of the President and the Office of the Vice President, as well as the central offices of national government agencies and government-controlled corporations.
The massiveness of the NCC’s development will impact not only the Philippine political arena but also more immediately the local communities surrounding the area. As mentioned by Dizon, the construction of the athletics facilities has helped generate jobs and opportunities for the nearby neighborhoods. However, it has been expressed by leaders of the Aeta communities, in an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, that the scale of the NCC construction projects will affect their ancestral and agricultural lands. It is their hope that the BCDA will continue to work with their communities as well as the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples to ensure that the NCC will become a truly inclusive development for the region.
The NCC is set to become the focal point of changes for both the local communities and the national government. The grandeur of the upcoming 30th SEA Games is just the beginning of the future the NCC has in store.
Sources: PIA, ABS-CBN, the Philippine Star, BCDA
Main photo via Wikimedia Commons