COVID-19 has changed everything! The niceties that helped take the sting out of the monotony of life, such as going on weekend trips to distant resorts, eating out at restaurants or dancing the night away at clubs have been stripped from our lives. We have spread our wings and opening gradually, but then find ourselves closing-up society again when the infection starts to overload our medical system. Tragically, an insidious and dangerous contagion continues to destroy our way of life.
We find ourselves in the midst of the worst pandemic since the Spanish flu of a hundred years ago. With the inability to move freely and conduct commerce, we are paralyzed. Not only is the health of our people in jeopardy but our delicate economy we all depend on is threatened.
Even after the Coronavirus has eventually subsided, whether by way of an effective vaccine or other means, the possibility of new (novel) viruses like COVID-19, which we have no group immunity to, is a very real and continuing threat to our worldwide societies. Rapidly growing world populations and climate change are just a couple of the contributing factors to new contagions spreading and reaping the same if not worse scenario on our country and world.
Given what is at stake, the Philippines government has recently and proactively stepped in to plan for the inevitable outbreak of future contagions. Our government has designated New Clark City as the location for the new Philippines Virology Center of the Philippines. What better place to locate a state-of-the-art infectious disease control center than in the modern, disaster-resilient zone of Clark New City.
The administration has approved the establishment of this virology center as part of its growth in infrastructure program known as Build, Build, Build. The project is the joint work of the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) and the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA). Vivencio Dizon, Presidential Advisor for Flagship Programs and Projects for the DBCC and president and chief executive officer of BCDA stated on Thursday, August 5, 2020, that the new Virology institute will indeed be located in the New Clark City zone.
This is good news for the nation and more specifically for our local region as it continues the move forward in building-out this major new hub of commerce and government administrative offices in the area, bringing additional jobs and growth of this new national capital region of Central Luzon.
New Clark City is a fast-growing track of land designated at 9,450 hectares (23,400 acres). Of this enormous chunk of land, only 3,500 hectares of this parcel are to be developed. The remaining land will be green, open spaces for a cleaner, greener, and more ecologically desirable city environment to live and work. This area was formerly part of the U.S. military base Camp O’Donnell. The sparkling new city is located within the municipalities of Capas and Bamban of the Tarlac Province. Administration offices for New Clark City are in Angeles, Pampanga as part of the Clark Special Economic Zone.
The government?s actions are indeed commendable. During this exceedingly difficult life lesson we are all living through, we must learn from it, stay focused, work collaboratively and intelligently and with a set purpose of defeating this pathogen and future ones that will be lurking around the next corner. We must do everything we can to find our way back with a new proactive perspective. We must look to the successful mitigation strategies of other countries around world and consult with and imitate their measures. After all, our entire way of life is at stake.