10 Jan 2018

The Straits Times

By RAUL DANCEL  PHILIPPINES CORRESPONDENT IN MANILA

Singapore consulting firm Surbana Jurong is helping the Philippine government prepare detailed design standards and guidelines for a 9,450ha "smart, green city" being developed north of Manila.

Surbana Jurong will refine the New Clark City's design, review agreements for providing water and power, and devise a framework for its long-term operation, according to the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

New Clark City, known as Clark Green City when it broke ground in April 2016, is in Capas town, 108km from Manila.

The BCDA is developing it into the Philippines' first "smart, green, disaster-resilient city", in partnership with the Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corporation.

New Clark City will be bigger than Manhattan in New York by the time it is fully developed in 30 to 40 years with a population of about two million. It is expected to contribute about 1.57 trillion pesos (S$40 billion) a year to the national economy.

It sits between two former United States military compounds: Clark air base, now a thriving free port; and Subic naval base, now a trading hub and economic zone north of Manila.

President Rodrigo Duterte's administration has been backing private efforts to develop new urban centres across the Philippines to better disperse economic opportunities and de-clog Manila, an already overcrowded city with an overstretched infrastructure that causes massive traffic jams and experiences frequent breakdowns of public services.

Manila is the densest city in the world, with 18,000 people per sq km, twice New York's level.

Malaysia's MTD Capital last October submitted an unsolicited 122 billion peso proposal to build a 207ha national government administrative centre at New Clark City, similar to Putrajaya in Malaysia.

Like Putrajaya, it will house satellite offices and major administrative offices of various departments and agencies. There will also be an extension office for the Philippine president and executive buildings, as well as sites for embassies and international schools.

The Philippine government has earmarked about 8 trillion pesos for the infrastructure needed to support efforts like New Clark City.

Surbana Jurong is one of the largest Asia-based urban, industrial and infrastructure consulting firms in the world, with 120 offices in more than 40 countries.

Its flagship project is the Suzhou Singapore Industrial Township, a 7,000ha industrial park with an integrated "work-live-learn-play concept". It also provided services for the Bakun hydroelectric project on the Balui tributary of the Rejang River in Sarawak, Malaysia.

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission