President Rodrigo Duterte has signed an executive order (EO) establishing a “back-up” seat of national government in New Clark City, Tarlac in case of an emergency or disaster in Metro Manila.
Under EO No. 119 signed by Duterte on November 17, a national government administrative center (NGAC) will be established in New Clark City “to serve as an integrated government center outside the NCR, and in case of disaster, a recovery center, and back-up administrative hub.”
The order directs all departments, bureaus, offices, and agencies under the Executive Branch, to establish satellite or field offices at the NGAC in New Clark City, which is envisioned to be the country’s first smart, green, and resilient metropolis located in Central Luzon.
Departments and agencies must also formulate and adopt appropriate business continuity and financial plans, including the operationalization of their respective back-up offices at the NGAC, in case of a calamity capable of paralyzing government operations in the National Capital Region (NCR).
Government-owned or -controlled corporations (GOCCs) are encouraged to locate satellite or field offices at the NGAC in New Clark City.
The Legislative and Judicial branches of government, and independent constitutional bodies are also encouraged to establish appropriate offices.
Under the EO, the Bases Conversation and Development Authority will assist concerned government agencies in securing advantageous, cost-efficient, and flexible logistical and financial arrangements relative to the establishment of their respective satellite or field offices at the NGAC.
Budgetary requirements for the implementation of the order will be sourced from available funds of the concerned agencies and offices and when appropriate and necessary, such other funding sources as the Department of Budget and Management may identify, the EO said.
In signing the EO, Duterte said the establishment of a back-up government center outside NCR supports the policy of addressing long-standing issues on the lack of sustainable employment opportunities in the countryside, unbalanced regional development, and unequal distribution of wealth.
He also recognizes that the establishment of integrated government centers fosters ease of doing business, provides equal access to efficient and effective delivery of public services, and serves as a catalyst for the creation of new economic opportunities outside NCR through the development of new townships and commercial business districts.
EO 119 will take effect immediately after its publication in the Official Gazette or a newspaper of general circulation.
On Tuesday night, Duterte said he signed a proclamation placing the entire Luzon under a state of calamity following successive typhoons that ravaged the country’s largest island. (PNA)