TARLAC — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas will be transferring its currency production facility to New Clark City (NCC) as part of efforts to boost production of notes and in line with its continuity plan for operations in case of natural disasters.

Under the central bank’s Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), the new BSP Security Plant Complex (SPC) will be erected on a 29.22-hectare land area within the NCC—National Government Administrative Center (NGAC).

The said facility will be located near the access road that links NCC to the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx). Currently, the BSP SPC is in East Avenue, Quezon City. The BSP said operations of the SPC will be transferred to the new facility once fully completed, with the Quezon City property to be closed or sold afterwards.

“The BSP follows a stringent set of criteria in selecting locations for its facilities. These standards — which encompass everything from lot configuration, site conditions, to infrastructural support — are intended to ensure that the BSP’s operation are optimally located,” BSP Governor Benjamin E. Diokno said during the MoU signing on Friday.

As per the MoU, offices of the BSP and its attached agencies to be built in NCC-NGAC will be consistent with the Phase 1 development of the NCC within the four-year timeframe from 2019 to 2022.

“I think all the paperworks should be done before the end of the year. So pwede na kami mag-umpisa ng construction first week of 2020. (So we can start the construction by the first week of 2020),” Mr. Diokno told reporters during the event. However, the BSP chief refused to disclose the budget for the facility as it is still in the works.

The BSP governor said that the new facility will boost the central bank’s ability to produce bank notes and to refrain from outsourcing.

“Right now ang capacity ‘nung plant sa Quezon City (the capacity of the plant in Quezon City) is P3 billion [bank notes] but the requirement is something like P5 billion. So ‘pag natapos itong bagong facility (so when this new facility is built), we won’t need to outsource requirements,” he explained.

In total, the NGAC will house 60 hectares of government infrastructure. Meanwhile, 100 hectares will be for Filinvest. Some portions will also be developed into leisure facilities, according to BCDA President and CEO Vivencio B. Dizon.

He added that the master plan of the NCC includes the “necessary facilities needed not just to work here [there], but also to live,” with Mr. Dizon saying the most important of which are transportation and connectivity.

“These new roads are built to make this area more accessible. It’s important to know that distance-wise, we are only 15 kilometers away from Clark International Airport and the Clark Freeport Zone and we are only 10 kilometers away from the Subic Clark Expressway,” he said.

He addedthat the upcoming Manila-to-Clark railway will be beneficial to BSP employees who will be assigned in the new facility.

“Yung pinapagawa po ni [Transportation] Secretary [Arthur P.] Tugade…na Manila-to-Clark railway, magkakaroon po ng istasyon (The Manila to Clark railway will have a nearby station)…. It’s only about 300 meters from where the BSP facility will be,” Mr. Dizon continued.

Phase 1A also includes the sports complex which will be used for the Southeast Asian Games, a residence for government employees and a river park.

NCC’s first phase is the development of a 200-hectare NGAC which will house backup offices of government agencies including the BSP, among others, as a continuity plan in cases of disasters or natural calamities.

The development is one of the flagship initiatives of the Duterte administration’s “Build Build Build” program. — Luz Wendy T. Noble