Confusion over photos allegedly showing destroyed mountain for New Clark City

July 15, 2019 - 12:43 PM
Facade of Clark International Airport
The Clark International Airport derived its name from the former American Clark Air Force Base which served as the United States' largest overseas base for its Air Forces until 1991. (The STAR/File photo)

(Updated Nov. 11, 2020/ 7:12 p.m.) Some posts making rounds on social media claim that a so-called Mount Susong Dalaga was bulldozed for the proposed New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.

In the posts, the New Clark City and the Clark International Airport were also mentioned interchangeably even if they are two separate places.

A Facebook page called Kamandag, short for Kaisahan ng Artista at Manunulat Na ayaw sa Development Aggression, shared a post juxtaposing a photo of a mountain with another to supposedly show how it evolved over time.

Kamandag denounced the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, the agency in charge of developing the new urban center, for allegedly destroying natural resources and livelihood of the people who live there.

May halong pagmamalaki ang tono ng pananalita ng BCDA sa mga huli nitong paskil sa social media. Ilang porsyento na nga…

Posted by Kamandag on Monday, July 8, 2019


“May halong pagmamalaki ang tono ng pananalita ng BCDA sa mga huli nitong paskil sa social media. Ilang porsyento na nga lang daw at matatapos na ang Phase 1a ng New Clark City,” the post read.

“Ang hindi nabanggit sa pagmamalaking ito ay ang mga magsasaka na inagawan ng lupang sakahan para maibigay daw diumano sa Pilipinas ang tsansang makapag-host ng world class sports events,” it added.

Some Filipinos argued that the location and the name of the mountain being referred to in the post are wrong.

One user shared a screenshot of the land mass supposedly showing it still exists.

Screenshot by Interaksyon

Facebook user Mark Anthony Salvador said in the comments that the phrase “susong dalaga” is a common description for mountains that are of average height. Therefore, there are other hills or ridges likened to maiden’s breasts.

Screenshot by Interaksyon

Popular websites on mountaineering mostly point to Mount Tagapo, which is often referred to as “Susong Dalaga.” Tagapo is in the province of Rizal.

However, searching the name online also directs you to mountains found in other provinces in the country.

More confusion

A Twitter user, meanwhile, mentioned the same mountain being leveled but mistakenly cited it was for the establishment of Clark Airport.

Popular tweet on New Clark Airport
A popular tweet with a false claim on the New Clark Airport.

The user attached a screenshot of an article and captioned it with: “Pinatag ang bundok ng Susong Dalaga upang gumawa ng gusaling hugis bundok? Kabastusan para sa mga aetang ninakawan ng ancestral lands.”

The article mentioned in the popular tweet talked features the design of the international gateway for its new terminal.

What is not mentioned by the Twitter user is that the airport located within the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga is already being constructed.

The error was pointed out in the responses under the tweet.

“Ang bagong airport terminal ay nasa Clark at iba ang New Clark City. Nasa bandang Capas ang [New Clark City]. Kung narinig mo rin ang Clark Global City, iba rin ‘yun,” a Twitter user responded.

Upcoming infrastructures

The New Clark City is envisioned as a 450-hectare luxury mountain resort with a championship golf course supposed to bring income to the local government.

The proposal of such a project is being opposed by groups who fear it will lead to the displacement of communities of indigenous groups from their ancestral homes.

In 2017, the first phase of the project was launched and a group of farmers there were convinced to sell their land to private investors.

In July, the BCDA and the Supreme Court entered a memorandum of agreement for another 5.8-hectare area to be used as judiciary offices for the National Government Administrative Center in the township.

In comparison, there are no reported environmental concerns in the construction of the new terminal of the Clark International Airport.

The BCDA aims for the newly rehabilitated airport to become the second main gateway to the Philippines after the congested Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila.

While the construction was awarded to GMR-Megawide consortium, the design and planning of the Clark airport terminal, which was shown to be inspired by modern Filipino characteristics and the Sierra Madre mountain range, was awarded to architecture firm Budji-Royal in 2018.

Its maintenance and operations, meanwhile, was awarded to Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp., owned by Dennis Uy, a close ally of President Rodrigo Duterte.