MANILA (UPDATE) - President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said Manila will be a “dead city in 25 years” as he lamented the worsening traffic situation in the capital and moved for the development of other potential urban hubs outside Metro Manila.
In a speech in Pampanga, Duterte said it is important to develop other industrial areas in the country as Metro Manila would no longer be a viable destination for investment.
This is why it is important to develop places outside Manila, such as the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga, as an alternative destination for industries, the President said.
“Clark is a very important arterial place kasi ito ‘yung papalabas talaga ng Luzon upwards...and the development because it is very important that we disperse the industries,” Duterte said in his speech at the Kapampangan Food Festival in Clark.
“Manila, I think will be in about 25 years... be dead city. It will start to decay and there is no way that we can rehab the place.”
Duterte said Clark has a big potential as the country’s next industrial hub and help in easing congestion in Metro Manila, which he said should “close” in 10 years.
“You have to disperse the crowd, limit the factories at some time in the future but. But about 10 years from now, they should close Manila and start to develop... ito, ito ang pinakamaganda ngayon eh,” he said of Clark, a former American air base which is home to an international airport long eyed to replace the main airport in Manila.
“The most important was ibinigay sa iyo ang Clark for you to manage and make use of. Clark is a very important destination now,” he added.
The administration is embarking on an ambitious P8-trillion infrastructure program to improve mobility in the Philippine capital and build more road networks and other infrastructure around the country.
Among projects under Duterte’s “Build, Build, Build” program are the Mega Manila Subway, which is partly funded by Japan, the Mindanao Railway Project, Malolos-Clark Railway Project, the LRT-1 North Extension Project, and the expansion of the Clark International Airport.