Clark International Airport and Special Economic Zone, Republic of the Philippines: Advisory Services Panel

Philippines-Clark-Airforce-Jan-2013-1_LowRes-232x300Date: January 20-25, 2013
Location: Luzon Island, Philippines
Sponsors: The Base Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), LRP Foundation, Inc.
Chair: James M. DeFrancia
Subject Area: Metropolitan and regional strategies, infrastructure and transportation

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The Study Area and the Panel’s Assignment
The Clark Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) is a 633-square-kilometer area located 90 kilometers north of Metro Manila on Luzon Island in the Republic of the Philippines. Until 1991, a 37-square-kilometer portion of the CSEZ was a U.S. military facility known as Clark Air Force Base.

In 1995, following years of neglect, cleanup and removal of volcanic ash from the eruption of Mount Pinatubo allowed the former base to reemerge as Clark International Airport and the CSEZ. The airfield infrastructure was improved to make it one of the most modern in Asia, and a second, parallel runway was built. The former base is now home to a golf resort and a number of industrial buildings, hotels, casinos, landmarks, and retail businesses. It is also the site of the Balikatan military training exercises between the United States and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The Armed Forces of the Philippines continue to use aviation facilities. A number of budget airlines have begun to use the facilities and, notably, Singapore Airlines has its primary maintenance facility at Clark.

The Base Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) was created in 1992 under Republic Act 7227. Its primary purpose is to execute the declared government policy to accelerate the sound and balanced conversion of the Clark and Subic military reservations and their extensions into alternative productive civilian uses and to enhance the benefits to be derived from those properties in order to promote the economic and social development of Central Luzon in particular and the country in general.

Since the United States returned Clark to the Philippines in 1991, the airfield has continued to serve as both a military and private airport facility. The BCDA asked a ULI Advisory Services panel to address various issues affecting redevelopment of the CSEZ—including urban design, use of former air facilities, development incentives, strategic vision, and financing considerations. Specific guidance was requested regarding Clark Green City, the portion of the CSEZ located north of the air operations area.

Summary of Recommendations
The panel made the following recommendations:

  • Create a new, world-class airport facility—a new “gateway.”
  • Concurrently improve the ground transport system, both road and rail.
  • Coordinate all development—residential, commercial, industrial, educational, recreational, and tourism—under a comprehensive plan.
  • Manage all activity under a centralized organization.
  • Use diverse financing techniques—fees, concessions, rents, sales, public-private partnerships, bonds, and off-site “exchange” development.

The report elaborates on these recommendations.

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