The Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) is a step closer towards the completion of its Php 28 billion plan to relocate and modernize the headquarters of the Philippine Marine Corps to Morong Discovery Park in Bataan from Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City.
BCDA Chairman Delfin N. Lorenzana, BCDA President and CEO Engr. Joshua M. Bingcang and Philippine Marine Corps Commandant MGen Arturo M. Rojas recently led the groundbreaking of the roads, utilities and preparatory works at Morong Discovery Park as well as the installation of steel columns for the Philippine Marine Corps grandstand. “The start of construction works for Package 1 today will help us get closer to our goal of providing a new, modern and state-of-the-art headquarters for the Marines that will support the operational efficiency of our troops in responding to national threats; in delivering aid during calamities; and in fostering peace and order across the country,” said BCDA Chairman Lorenzana.
For BCDA President and CEO Engr. Bingcang: “We assure you that the projects we undertake for the military will be world class and will serve as a model of military camps. We don’t want to lose sight of our focus on helping strengthen the Armed Forces. We will continue to share revenues and support the AFP Modernization Program.”
As part of its relocation and replication program, BCDA is giving up 100 hectares of its land in Morong Discovery Park for the Philippine Marines Headquarters, which covers only about 12 hectares in Fort Bonifacio. This ceremony signals the start of the construction of roads, utilities and other preparatory works which is under Package 1 of the Morong Discovery Park Phase 1 Project.
Meanwhile, the installation of steel columns is part of the ongoing construction of the parade grounds and grandstand that is expected to be completed by November this year. Construction for Packages 2 and 3 commenced after BCDA and PMC broke ground in February 2022. BCDA aims to complete Phase 1 of the project by 2024.
For Philippine Marine Corps Commandant MGen Rojas, the new site is seen to enhance the operational effectiveness and responsiveness of the Marines as it will strengthen its Archipelagic Coastal Defense strategy. “We commend BCDA for facilitating the construction of roads, utilities, and preparatory works and the replication project as a whole for the Philippine Marine Corps. We would not be here without their dedication, hard work, and persistence in this endeavor. This project involves a great deal of very meticulous planning to get it done right. With their decisive leadership, the BCDA team has done a good job, and that is why we are here today. Thank you for helping provide us, your Marines, a standard and modern base that the AFP and the nation will be proud of,” said Philippine Marine Corps Commandant MGen Rojas.
The Marines’ future headquarters is located at the eastern half of the Morong Discovery Park, directly facing the West Philippines Sea. It will also be accessible to major and access roads including the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway. In addition, unlike its current headquarters in Metro Manila, where operations are hindered by traffic and congestion, the Bataan location was deemed strategic for the Marines as it would help expedite emergency response and ease deployment of troops. The new headquarters will also feature modern, state-of-the-art facilities to ensure more efficient operations.
With the transfer of the Marines to an upgraded and strategic location, income-generating opportunities will be opened up for the government in the soon-to-be vacated area in Fort Bonifacio. The Marines currently occupy 12.65 hectares in Bonifacio South Pointe. From May 1993 to December 2022, BCDA’s contribution to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) reached Php 59.71 billion. Of this amount, Php 48.59 billion is earmarked for the AFP Modernization Program and Php 11.12 billion for the replication of military facilities. This is pursuant to the state corporation’s mandate under Republic Act 7227 to generate funds for the AFP Modernization Program by transforming former US military bases and Metro Manila camps to economic growth areas.