San Carlos City Master Development Plan
Economic and social developments are seriously pursued in San Carlos City following a framework provided by a master development plan.
The master plan is carefully and expertly prepared by a group of reliable planning consultants led by Urbis Philippines, Inc. whose expertise ranges from industrial design and development, marketing, infrastructure development, environmental planning, social development, land use, institutional development and tourism. The plan puts into proper perspective development priorities and serves as the city's road map of development that shall guide both public and private sectors in pursuing development programs in the next 20 years beginning year 2000 that are in tune with the city's vision.
While other development plans focus development in the urban areas, San Carlos City's Master Development Plan (MDP) includes the economic and social development of mountain barangays into rural growth centers or secondary urban growth centers considering their rich agricultural and forestry resources.
The San Carlos Development Board, Inc. (SCDBI), an independent non-profit foundation composed of reputable leaders from local government, the private sector, local non-government organizations and the community, will coordinate and promote all aspects of the master plan to ensure its effective and efficient implementation.
The San Carlos City Master Development Plan was made possible through the financial assistance of Ford Foundation, Consuelo Zobel Alger Foundation, JF Ledesma Foundation, Inc. and San Julio Realty, Inc. who trusted
The San Carlos City Circuit
San Carlos City tries to set itself at the center of the Visayas Julio Ledesma IV sounded very convincing as he presented early this year among a group of Filipino and Singaporean businessmen exciting developments in San Carlos City in the province of Negros Occidental. Why shouldn't he be? The representative from the first congressional district of Negros Occidental is talking about the San Carlos Corridor Development Plan.
The objective of the plan is very ambitious. The government wants to promote a new growth center and develop a 45,000 hectare agro-industrial zone with an integrated satellite micro-city to serve as a gateway linking the capital cities of the Visayas. This certainly is achievable in San Carlos City which is situated in the northeastern coastal plain of Negros Island. The city is also located at the crossroads between the cities of Cebu, Bacolod, and Dumaguete. It is just a two-hour ride from Bacolod City, less than three- hour ride from Dumaguete City, and 2-1/2 hour boat ride from Cebu City.
With a total land area of 42,418 hectares, San Carlos City is the ideal migration center for those who want to get out of the overcrowded and urbanized centers of Manila and Cebu.
Power supply is not a problem in the city as this is currently being sourced from the Palimpinon Geothermal Field in Dumaguete and is distributed by VMC Rural Electric Service Cooperative, Inc. The city itself has a power substation providing 10 megawatts. The city sources its water from 17 rivers and 28 springs while private water pumps in the city proper number 108. The city waterworks now provide 1,000 gallons per minute (gpm) which cover 90 percent of the city's present needs. Plans are also underway to tap some 7,000 gpm from the water-rich mountains. A water reservoir will also be constructed to ensure sufficient water supply.
Telecommunication facilities are provided by SACATEL, the local franchisee of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company. It provides the city with 800 existing telephone lines that provide national and international direct dialing services. Islacom, Inc., on the other hand, has installed new lines, including fiber-optic cables, to make available about 5,000 new lines this year. Cellular phone capability is currently being provided by Smart, Inc. Not to be left behind in the latest information technology trends, Mosaic Communications provides Internet connections for local residents and businesses.
For businesses that need port services, the city has a commercial port for ferries plying the Toledo-San Carlos route and for inter-island vessels carrying both cargo and passengers. The Philippine Ports Authority has allocated P240 million for the expansion of the city piers and the construction of a one-hectare container yard. Additionally, the San Carlos Milling Company has a deep-water wharf which can accommodate ships of more than 10,000 tons for both domestic and international transport.
The city has also one of the best road-networks in the country. It is linked to Bacolod and Dumaguete through the national highway system. This will be enhanced with the construction of a new highway, the Negros Trans-link Highway, which will cut to half the road distance to Bacolod, or by 80 kilometers. These roads have also opened up thousands of hectares of previously inaccessible agricultural lands at an elevation of 3,000 feet above sea level.
The private sector is in the process of creating a new central business district in the 100-hectare master-planned San Carlos City Center. This district will have a business park, a residential subdivision, a commercial center, and a cultural and sports complex. The Gaisano Group recently purchased a 12-hectare property in the district with the aim of constructing a shopping mall complex. The first phase of the residential subdivision has been completed and has already been sold out.
The city will soon be the site of a state-of-the-art industrial and warehouse park for agro-based and light industries. This industrial estate will be located on a 350-hectare property just three kilometers north of San Carlos. The estate will have three modules - a warehouse park to be located beside the feeder airport; a light industry subdivision; and an integrated managed business park which shall include all ecozone components.
Tourism, Agri, and More
With plans to come up with a tourism estate, local residents can expect more opportunities for them to come up with small businesses. The tourism estate will have world class resorts, a health spa, a golf and country club, and retirement villages. All this will be centered around an existing nature-enhanced, manmade lake located on a 1,000-hectare property some 14 kilometers south of the city.
The government will also exploit the city's large span of agricultural lands, particularly those in Prosperidad. The highlands offer 25,000 hectares of agricultural land with rich volcanic soil made accessible by the Negros Trans-Link Highway. Located at 3,000 feet above sea level, the highlands present opportunities to venture into high-value crop plantations and flower, fruit, and vegetable farms. The area is ideal for the development of macro-agricultural projects that can serve as the base for agro-processing industries.
Plans are also afoot for the development of a feeder airport that can handle cargo and passenger aircraft. The proposed airport site is located beside a warehouse park and along a circumferential road just three kilometers from the city. The site could be expanded in the future by reclaiming land from the sea to lengthen the runway in order to accommodate jet aircraft.