Cayetano: Make C. Luzon, Calabarzon next PH capitals
CLARK FREEPORT, Philippines—Metro Manila has been experiencing low economic growth despite huge infrastructure spending, so it is time for the national government to transform the Central Luzon and Calabarzon regions into the country’s next twin capitals, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano said here on Thursday.
Cayetano gave this insight at the 44th general membership meeting of the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry here.
Central Luzon, north of Metro Manila, consists of Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales provinces. Calabarzon is composed of the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon.
Cayetano said centralizing everything at the National Capital Region (NCR) had led to overcrowding. Citing government figures, he said Manila’s population density had reached 19,137 people for every square kilometer.
He said it was feasible for Central Luzon and Calabarzon to serve as twin capitals because the economies of these regions were growing higher than the NCR, and basic infrastructure facilities were present.
Clark and Subic, as former US military base lands, have large tracts of land and sea with a seaport and airports.
He said Malaysia and Japan moved their capitals out of Kuala Lumpur and Tokyo to Putrajaya and Kyoto.
“Metro Manila has nothing to lose but everything to gain. [The transfer of the capital] shall see the rebirth of Metro Manila,” he said.
While NCR received the lion share of infrastructure budget from 2001 to 2010, 2013 and 2014, it was not among the regions that posted good economic growth, he said.
For 2010-2011, Caraga posted 8.5-percent growth; Central Luzon, 7.1 percent; Central Visayas, 6.8 percent, and NCR 3.1 percent.
For 2011-2012, the economies of Zamboanga Peninsula grew by 12.4 percent; Caraga, 10.6 percent; Central Visayas, 9.3 percent, and NCR, 6.8 percent.
“The challenge is to make the reforms that were introduced by President Aquino to be felt by each and every Filipino family,” Cayetano said.
He cited the 2013 growth that showed a 7.2-percent growth in gross domestic product, an 18-percent investment growth and a 6.4-percent consumption growth.
What must be done, according to Cayetano, is to prepare 17 different regional strategies toward the national vision of a “progressive Philippines for all Filipinos.”
“‘One size fits all’ doesn’t work. There’s no cure-all,” he said, adding that consistent national policies, coordinated regional strategies, a clear road map and good governance could best move the country forward. Tonette Orejas, Inquirer Central Luzon
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