BCDA to build 10,000 housing units in Clark

BCDA to build 10,000 housing units in Clark

THE Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) said it is completing a deal for the construction of 10,000 housing units in Clark ahead of the amendments to its charter.

In a recent briefing, BCDA President and Chief Executive Officer Joshua M. Bingcang said the project will be pursued via a joint venture contract with the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD).

“We are about to finalize a deal with the DHSUD under Secretary Jose Rizalino L. Acuzar and a big local developer to build the first 10,000 units,” Mr. Bingcang said.

According to Mr. Bingcang, the three parties have signed a memorandum of understanding for the vertical housing project at an estimated initial cost of P10 billion.

“What we are waiting for are the details because we want to make sure that the housing… is not an eyesore or far from what we have envisioned for New Clark City,” he said.

“What the developer wants is to do it via a joint venture so that the risk is spread out to parties with the means and capability to handle the risk,” he added.

The DHSUD initially requested 100 hectares of land, but the BCDA has identified a 10-hectare site, for which the developer has submitted a design adapted to the new dimensions.

Set for groundbreaking this year, the residential project is expected to rise in New Clark City in Bamban, Tarlac.

“What will happen is should this housing project proceed ahead of the legislative arrangements we are pursuing, we’ll make sure that there will be a provision in the contract to make it convertible from leasehold into freehold,” Mr. Bingcang said.

The BCDA is currently seeking amendments to its charter which will allow the agency to convert 5% of its economic zones for disposal to freehold buyers, as against the current charter which only allows leasehold residential deals.

“The challenge of building housing inside is the leasehold limitations. Under the law, Clark and Subic and the rest of the economic zones are (allowed to pursue) leasehold arrangements,” he added.

He said that there is a need to address the housing needs of Clark as more than 138,000 people working in the economic zone, most of whom live outside it.

“One way to address the issues in leasehold is… working right now with the Congress to convert certain land into freehold but specifically targeting residential segments,” he said.

“It needs an amendment to our charter… Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez is one of the proponents of (a freehold bill) and now it’s in the Senate,” he added.

In August, the House approved on third reading House Bill 8505 which seeks to amend Republic Act No. 7227 or the Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992.

The Senate version of the bill is currently pending at committee and is set for approval on second reading by the end of the month.

The BCDA has said that the amendment will free up 1,856 hectares of land, which can potentially generate P451.26 billion-P1.45 trillion in revenue.

“If we are able to raise funds from the sale of some land, we will raise enough revenue for the government which can address the pension problem of the military,” Mr. Bingcang said.

“That is part of our proposal to earmark certain revenues of the BCDA to be sourced from sale of lands to address military pension issues, because that’s one of the biggest headaches of the government right now,” he added.

The amendment will give the BCDA 1,500 hectares of land in Clark to convert to freehold status, which can hold up to 750,000 housing units. — Justine Irish D. Tabile