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The struggle for land in the New Clark City project, Luzon, The Philippines

In the shadow of the New Clark City mega-project is the struggle for indigenous land rights and recognition of the Aeta people.


 The Aeta people have been in a struggle for recognition and legal ownership rights to their ancestral lands in the Tarlac province of the Philippines. Aeta people live off of subsistence culture from the surrounding forests, rivers, and mountains. Their territories are ancestrally owned and managed. According to geographers at the University of Philippines and the University of Glasgow, documents show the Aeta peoples have inhabited the lands of the Central Luzon (approximately 18,000 hectares) for generations [1].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:The struggle for land in the New Clark City project, Luzon, The Philippines
State or province:Tarlac province in the Central Luzon Region
Location of conflict:Bamban, Tarlac city, Mabalacat, Pampanga, and Capas
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Urban development conflicts
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Ecosystem Services
Project Details and Actors
Project details

To be built on 9,450 hectares in the Tarlac province of Central Luzon, with a capacity to hold 1.2 million people [5]. The project is projected to cost 14 billion USD while generating P1.57 trillion annually, representing 4% of the nation's total gross domestic production (GDP) [19][20].

Project area:9,450
Level of Investment for the conflictive project14,000,000,000 [20]
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:65,000 to 100,000 [1] [3]
Start of the conflict:2013
Company names or state enterprises:Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) - Main entity managing the NCC
Filinvest Development Corporation from Philippines
Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corp - railroad construction
Al Ahli Holding Group - tourism development
Vivapolis from France - managing resource development
Relevant government actors:Clark Development Corporation (CDC)
Department of Public Works and Highways
Department of Transportation
International and Finance InstitutionsAsian Development Bank (ADB) - Support for the NCC through loans and a biodiversity impact assessment
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Counter Mapping Philippines (Website:")
Central Luzon Aetas Association (CLAA)
Alyansa NG MGA MAGBUBUKID SA GITANG LUSON (AMGL) -farmers' alliance in central Luzon Philippines
Kaisahan ng mga Artista at Manunulat Na Ayaw sa Development Aggession (KAMANDAG)
TFIP ( Philippine Task Force for Indigenous Peoples' Rights)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Aeta people
Forms of mobilization:Artistic and creative actions (eg guerilla theatre, murals)
Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Referendum other local consultations
Refusal of compensation
Cultural events against development aggresion by Kamandag like the Ang Langgad Natin exhibit[21]
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation
Potential: Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Soil erosion, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Violations of human rights
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Proposal and development of alternatives:Current proposals being brought forward is the recognition of land ownership by the Aeta people of approximately 18,000 hectares in the Central Luzon [1].
The Aeta are an indigenous people who live in mountainous parts of the Philippines. Aetas are considered as the earliest inhabitants of the Philippines, preceding the Austronesian migrations.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:At this point in time in 2022, the Aeta people have not received the recognition of landownership and are continuing to be displaced by the NCC project. Their livelihoods are being upended by the development of the NCC project. At the same time, many alliances and group actions have emerged from this conflict protesting and documenting this socio-environmental injustice.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

[2] Republic of the Philippines. Republic Act No. 8371. "The Indigenous Peoples' Rights Act of 1997". (10.10.1997). Retrieved from:
[click to view]

[3]National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. Administrative Order No. 1, Series of 1998. Rules and Regulations Implementing Republic Act NO. 8371, Otherwise Known as "The Indigenous Peoples' Rights Act of 1997".
[click to view]

[5] Bases Conversion and Development Authority. 2017. Clark, the vision of a modern Philippines.
[click to view]

[6] Republic of the Philippines, House of Representatives, Press and Public Affairs Bureau. 25.08.2014. House adopts resolution supporting the Clark Green City Master Development Plan of BCDA.
[click to view]

[9] Republic of the Philippines, Official Gazette. Message of President Roxas to the Senate on the agreement concerning American military bases in the Philippines. (17.03.1947).
[click to view]

[11] Build Build Build (n.d.). New Clark City - Mixed Use Industrial Real Estate Developments. Build

Build Build Website.
[click to view]

[19] Republic of the Philippines, Public-Private Partnership Center. BCDA to bid out first phase of Clark Green City project by mid-year. (14.04.2014).
[click to view]

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[1] Lopez, P., Ortega, A.A., Saguin, K.K., Martinez, S., Angeles, F.J.C., Dayrit, C., dela Cruz Jr, B., Miguel, L., Garcia, Y.P.L., Montalban, P. and Martinez, M.S., 2021. New Clark City Situationer.
[click to view]

[7] Atty. Joanna Elieen M. Capones. (23.08.2019). New Clark City. Presentation given at the 8th ERDT congress, 'The Rise of Smart Cities and Communities'.
[click to view]


Khalil Verzosa
[click to view]

[4] Rappler. Aetas and New Clark City: Trampling on human rights of our first peoples. (10.12.2019.)
[click to view]

[8] Orejas, T. (2015). Farmers, residents left out in Clark Green City project?. Inquirer Website.
[click to view]

[10] Ateneo Economics Association (AEA). New Clark City: Development for Everyone? (07.08.2019).
[click to view]

[12] Ambay III, M. (2016 October 16). Unjust: Why indigenous peoples are marching in the Philippines.

Bulatlat Website
[click to view]

[13] Beltran, B. (2020, January 8). Philippines' 'Smart City' Threatens Tribal Displacement
[click to view]

[14] Manalansan, Carlo. (01.03.2022). 'Green City' drives violence on environmental defenders. Bulatat, journalism for the people
[click to view]

[15] Salamat, M. (2018, March 20). Aytas defend ancestral domain vs. quarrying. Bulatlat Website.
[click to view]

[16] Salamat, M. (2014, June 27). Military base expansion to dislocate Aetas, farmers. Bulatlat Website.
[click to view]

[17] The One who never gave up. October 6, 2015. Clark Green City: Sustainable Development and its Irresolvable Contradictions. International Festival for Peoples Rights and Struggles.
[click to view]

[20] AIBP. Philippines' Future Smart and Green Metropolis-Clark Green City. (26.04.2016)
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[18] Counter-mapping New Clark City. (19.12.2019). Counter-mapping PH, mapping with and for the people
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Haley Parzonko
Last update06/08/2022
Conflict ID:6037
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