BCDA: A staunch partner for progress
A year after the Mt. Pinatubo eruption and the pullout of the American military in the country in 1991, the government regained control of the military base lands and undertook the base conversion program through the creation of the Bases and Conversion Development Authority (BCDA.)
The projects in the former military bases have become some of the major drivers of growth in the country and have been a contributor to the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
In May 1992, then President Corazon Aquino signed Republic Act No. 7227, or the “Bases Conversion and Development Act,” that formed BCDA, which was mandated to transform the lands previously used as United States military reservations into economic centers of growth.
BCDA was primarily created to address the economic consequences of four major disasters: Baguio earthquake (1990), Mt. Pinatubo eruption (1991), pullout of the American military bases (1991) that dislocated thousands of workers, and the series of attempted coups (1987 to 1992), which pushed the national economy to the brink of collapse.
Under the law, proceeds from the sale of portions of military camps in Metro Manila shall be used for the following:
transfer and construction of new camps, AFP modernization program and housing loan as well as livelihood assistance for uniformed personnel and their families (32.5 percent); conversion and commercial use of Clark and Subic military reservations (50 percent); and long-term housing loan assistance for the affected settlers near the military bases in Metro Manila and cities of Olongapo and Angeles (5 percent).
The remaining amount is remitted to the National Treasury.
Housing projects built by the BCDA for those displaced by its projects include Diego Silang Village, Philippine Centennial Village and Dreamland Subdivision in Taguig City, as well as the 50-ha Philippine Army Village in Capas, Tarlac province.
In 1993, BCDA made its first sale of land when the Philippine National Oil Co. and the Department of Energy acquired a Fort Bonifacio land for P307 million. In the same year, the Wallace Air Station became the Poro Point Special Economic and Freeport Zone in San Fernando City, La Union. It is now home to the 65-ha Mediterranean-inspired Thunderbird Resorts.
In 1994, BCDA started the Heritage Park project, an exclusive memorial park in Fort Bonifacio. Three years later, the town of Morong in Bataan, including the 365-ha Philippine Refugee Processing Center (PRPC), became the Morong Special Economic Zone. PRPC was converted into Bataan Technology Park, also a tourist destination because of its museums, shrines and temples.
In 1999, BCDA turned over 63 ha of land in Villamor Air Base for the construction of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 in Pasay City. By the turn of the century, BCDA sealed landmark deals with property giants Ayala Land Inc. and Megaworld Corp.
A 25-year lease agreement for the 9.8-ha lot in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) was given to Ayala for the construction of Market! Market! mall. The deal generates a fixed lease of P117 million a year. Another 11.7-ha lot was awarded to Ayala for its residential development Serendra.
BCDA partnered with Megaworld for the conversion of the 24.5-ha Villamor Gateway Center into Newport City. Right across Naia Terminal 3, Newport City projects include Resorts World Manila, the entertainment capital of the township; the Newport Performing Arts Theater; hotels such as the all-suite Maxims Hotel, Marriott Hotel, Sheraton, Hilton, Savoy, and Belmont; and a number of luxury residences.
One of BCDA’s infrastructure projects is the 94-km Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx), which was opened in April 2008 after a three-year construction. It cuts travel time to economic hubs in Central Luzon such as the Clark International Airport, Subic seaport, Subic Bay Freeport Zone and Clark Freeport Zone.
Included in the current administration’s “Build, Build, Build” initiative is the new passenger terminal at the Clark International Airport. As of April, this expansion project is 53 percent complete, according to BCDA. The new terminal is seen to increase passenger capacity to 12 million from the current 4.2 million passengers.
A second runway that will double the capacity of the airport is also in the works, according to a BCDA report.
Meanwhile, the upcoming metropolis north of Clark is called the New Clark City and spans more than 9,000 ha. It is envisioned to be a modern metropolis, where nature, lifestyle, business, education and industries converge. Previously known as Clark Green City during the Aquino administration, the project was expected to help attract investments, generate more jobs, boost the economy and sustain inclusive growth.
Sources: bcda.gov.ph, BCDA 2017 Annual Report, bataan.gov.ph,
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