House OKs bill granting SMC firm franchise to construct Bulacan airport
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives approved on final reading the bill granting San Miguel Aerocity Inc. a franchise to construct, develop, establish, operate, and maintain a domestic and international airport in Bulacan.
With 218 affirmative votes, six negative, and two abstentions, the lower chamber approved on final reading House Bill No. 7507 proposed by a number of lawmakers.
Aside from the construction of the airport, the franchise also allows San Miguel Aerocity to construct, develop, establish, operate, and maintain an adjacent airport city.
San Miguel Corporation (SMC) will invest P735 billion for the construction of the proposed “New Manila International Airport,” which will be built in the coastal areas of Bulakan town in Bulacan, or around 30 kilometers north of Metro Manila.
The airport is expected to decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and support growth and development in Central Luzon.
Among those who voted against the measure is Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas who raised the effects of the construction of the airport to hundreds of families in the area.
“Tinatayang nasa 700 pamilya sa Barangay Taliptip, Bulakan, Bulacan ang apektado — mga pamilya at mangingisda na sa matagal na panahon ay pangingisda na ang kabuhayang kinagisnan, ay mawawalan ng tirahan at hanapbuhay sa gitna ng kinakaharap nating pandemya,” Brosas said.
(About 700 families in Barangay Taliptip, Bulakan, Bulacan are affected–families and fishermen who, for the longest time, are relying on fishing as their livelihood, will be losing their homes and source of income in the midst of the present pandemic we are facing.)
“Sinabi sa deliberasyon na pinag-aralang mabuti ang proyektong ito ngunit walang sapat na konsultasyon sa mamamayan ng Taliptip at hanggang ngayon ay walang feasibility study at environmental compliance certificate ang New Manila International Airport ng San Miguel Corporation at balak pang i-exempt sa napakaraming taxes ang pagpapatayo ng paliparang ito,” she added.
(It was said during the deliberations that this project had been studied well but there had been no sufficient consultation with the local people of Taliptip and until now the New Manila International Airport of San Miguel Corporation has no feasibility study and environmental compliance certificate, and the company may also be exempted from the taxes for the construction of this airport.)
Brosas likewise, pointed out that the tax benefits to be given to San Miguel is beyond the usual tax benefits being given.
“Aanhin ng ordinaryong mamamayan ang bagong airport sa panahon ng pandemya kung sila mismo ay tatanggalan ng kabuhayan, komunidad at tahanan?” Brosas asked.
(What will a new airport can do to an ordinary citizen during the time of pandemic if they are stripped of their own livelihood, community and home?)
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