PCOO: Bulacan Airport City ecozone bill veto ‘meant to cure defects in measure ’
MANILA, Philippines — The decision of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to veto the bill on the creation of the Bulacan Airport City Special Ecozone was meant to “cure defects in the measure,” clarified Presidential Communications Operations Office of the Philippines (PCOO) Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles.
“Presidential veto is fastest way to cure the defects of HB 7575 especially the provision which exempts the Commission on Audit to look into the financial transactions on the special economic zone and freeport,” Angeles said in a statement.
“Had the President not vetoed HB 7575, it would have lapsed into law on July 4 or 30 days after the bill was sent by the legislature to Malacañang,” she added.
According to Angeles, the proposed bill failed to comply with existing laws and regulations after failing to provide audit provisions for the COA, procedures for the expropriation of lands awarded to agrarian reform beneficiaries and a master plan for the specific metes and bounds of the economic zone.
“Without those necessary amendments indicated in the veto explanation, the law may be vulnerable to constitutional challenge. The delegation of rule-making power on environmental laws which is unique to the special economic zone is of particular concern,” Angeles said.
Construction not affected by the veto
Angeles also pointed out that the airport itself is not affected by the veto, as the construction of the P740-billion international airport in Bulacan operated by the San Miguel Corporation was approved by both the Senate and House in October 2022.
“The construction of the Bulacan international airport and aero city is not affected by the veto. The presidential veto was meant to include the necessary corrections and include the missing processes that might render HB 7575 entirely unconstitutional,” she explained.
Angeles explained that the bill did not provide procedures for expropriation of land and granted “blanket powers” to the economic zone authority to handle technical airport operations — which violates aeronautical laws.
Apart from this, the proposed ecozone will also be located near the Clark Special Economic Zone in Pampanga province that borders Bulacan “which runs against government policy on creating special economic zones in strategic locations.”
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