A P500-million botanical garden and ecotourism park is set to rise in 9,450-hectare Clark Green City in line with the efforts of the state-run Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) to make it the first smart, green and disaster-resilient special economic zone in the country.
The BCDA signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Earth Day Network
Philippines Inc. (EDNPI) and the Fern and Nature Society of the Philippines Inc. (FNSPI) to build a botanical garden and ecotourism park in Clark Green City.
“We welcome this partnership as it will allow us to fulfill our vision of a green and ecologically healthy Clark Green City,” BCDA President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Arnel Paciano Casanova said.
The MOA signing was led by Casanova, EDNPI President and CEO Isagani R. Serrano, and FNSPI President Yok Lin Gaw, and was also witnessed by BCDA Chairperson Ma. Aurora Geotina-Garcia, EDNPI Board Trustee Carmelita E. Salvador and FNSPI Board Member Letica P. Ligon.
Under the MOA, EDNPI and FNSPI will budget P495.2-million as a minimum capital investment for the development of the botanical garden, restoration of 200 hectares of forest land, preparation of the project management plan, and the management and administration of the project.
For its part, the BCDA will assign the project area, to be designated as the Clark Green City Forest Reserve and the Clark Green City Green Infrastructure, to EDNPI and FNSPI. The BCDA will also provide and construct the support infrastructure facility within the project area.
The agreement will not only deal with the development of the botanical garden and ecotourism park, but also cover the improvement and management of all of the Clark Green City Green Forest Reserve and the Clark Green City Green Infrastructure, particularly the areas designated as botanic garden, ecotourism park, green spaces, and greenways.
EDNPI is the lead non-governmental organization (NGO) for the celebration of Earth Day in the Philippines, and is engaged in programs and activities that promote environmental citizenship which include reforestation and biodiversity conservation, solid waste management, and climate change adaptation and mitigation, among others.
FNSPI is also an NGO advocating the establishment of botanic gardens in the Philippines to promote the conservation and ethnobotany of Philippine native trees and plants and educating the public about their importance and uses.
Clark Green City is a 9,450-hectare Clark Special Economic Zone property in Tarlac, expected to be fully developed in 30 to 40 years time. The city is currently being built by BCDA with various partners, which plan to develop the first 288 hectares of the city in the next five years. It is envisioned as the country’s first smart, green and disaster-resilient city that will showcase the country’s capability to build a sustainable and modern city.
The city will adopt smart and green features like compact walkable communities with generous open spaces, bike lanes, mass transportation, smart utilities, high-bandwidth connectivity, protected biodiversity, energy efficiency, and urban farming making it one of the country’s most livable cities of the future.