November 18, 2020
President Rodrigo Duterte has issued an executive order establishing a National Government Administrative Center in New Clark City, Capas, Tarlac to serve as a "back-up" government center outside of the National Capital Region in case of disaster.
Under Executive Order No. 119, which was signed on Tuesday, November 17, Duterte said the NCR, where the seat of the national government is presently located, is exposed to the threat of a catastrophic earthquake that may be caused by the movements of the West and East Valley faults.
He also noted that the coastal communities in the Philippines, particularly those in Metro Manila, are most vulnerable to subsidence, rising sea levels, and increased risk of floods, resulting from climate change and contributory human activities.
"In view of the potential repercussions to the seat of the National Government from aforesaid threats...there is an urgent need to establish an integrated government center outside the NCR, which will serve as a back-up administrative hub and which may be utilized as disaster recovery center, to ensure continuity of government services, as well as facilitate collaboration and coordination between and among government agencies," Duterte said in the EO.
He also said the establishment of a back-up government center outside the NCR supports the policy of addressing longstanding issues on the lack of sustainable employment opportunities in the countryside, unbalanced regional development, and unequal distribution of wealth.
Under the EO, Duterte directed all departments, bureaus, offices, and agencies under the Executive Branch to put up satellite or field offices at the NGAC in New Clark City.
"For this purpose, all concerned offices shall 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 NCR," he said.
Duterte also encouraged the government-owned or -controlled corporations, as well as the legislative and judicial branches of government and other independent and constitutional bodies, to locate satellite or field offices at the NGAC in New Clark City.
He said the EO shall be without prejudice to national government departments, bureaus, offices and agencies, including GOCCs, transferring their respective central offices at the NGAC, especially if their functions do not require their main offices to be in the NCR.
Currently, the main office of the Department of Transportation is located in Clark.
Duterte said the manpower requirements for satellite offices in New Clark City shall not be a basis for the creation of unnecessary redundant positions, and shall be limited to those which are essential to the implementation of their respective disaster contingency plans, and when warranted, the delivery of public services at the NGAC.
Duterte directed the Bases Conversion and Development Authority to assist concerned government agencies in securing advantageous, co-efficient and flexible logistical and financial arrangements relative to the establishment of their respective satellite or field offices in New Clark City.
The budgetary requirements for the implementation of the EO shall be sourced from the 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 Order takes effect immediately after its publication in the Official Gazette or a newspaper of general circulation. Celerina Monte/DMS
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