Rodrigo Duterte

Duterte creates ‘backup’ national government center in New Clark City

Pia Ranada
Duterte creates ‘backup’ national government center in New Clark City

Here's a sketch of what New Clark City is envisioned to look like after construction of key buildings and facilities.

File image from BCDA

Executives of the Malaysian firm tapped to build the national government center and BCDA face a graft complaint for the sports hub inside the complex

President Rodrigo Duterte formalized the establishment of a “National Government Administrative Center” (NGAC) in New Clark City, Tarlac, to serve as “backup” offices of government agencies should a calamity befall the capital region of Metro Manila.

Under Executive Order No. 119 signed by Duterte on Tuesday, November 17, the NGAC will be a “recovery center” and will also pave the way for the decongestion of Metro Manila, where most national government offices are located.

It orders all departments, bureaus, and offices under the executive branch to “establish satellite or field offices at the NGAC” and formulate plans for the operationaliation of their NGAC offices “in case of calamity capable of paralyzing government operations” in Metro Manila.

The establishment of these satellite offices will be done in phases and clusters, which will be supervised by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

Role of embattled BCDA

Duterte gave the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) the job of helping government agencies in “securing advantageous, cost-efficient, and flexible logistical and financial arrangements” in putting up their counterpart NGAC offices.

The BCDA is already embroiled in controversy in deals it entered into involving the NGAC.

Its chief, Presidential Adviser for Flagship Programs and Projects Vince Dizon, faces a graft complaint for supposedly entering into a deal disadvantageous to the government for the construction of the sports hub inside the NGAC that was used for the Southeast Asian Games last year.

The P11-billion deal was made with Malaysian firm MTD Capital Berhad, which won the larger contract to construct the NGAC.

The Commission on Audit had itself flagged the contract as anomalous, saying the BCDA gave undue advantage to MTD Capital Berhad.

State auditors said the lack of public bidding violated the Government Procurement Reform Act. They also said that the execution of the project despite the absence of prior appropriation of funds goes against the Government Auditing Code.

MTD Capital Berhad had sent the government an unsolicited proposal for the construction of the NGAC as far back as 2015.

Read Rappler’s 3-part investigation on this project:

– Rappler.com

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.