Salceda to refile, ‘cure all defects’ in vetoed Bulacan airport ecozone bill
MANILA, Philippines — Albay Rep. Joey Salceda on Monday plans to revive a House measure creating the Bulacan airport ecozone, with an aim at “curing all the defects” raised by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. when the latter vetoed the measure.
Speaking in an interview with ANC, Salceda said there were actually two bills that pertained to the measure, and that he planned to refile the one that did not make the cut as a law.
In his first veto, Marcos nixed House Bill No. 7575, which seeks to establish the Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport. Its twin bill— now Republic Act 11506 — lapsed into law in January 2021.
“There are two bills — one bill which is now a law, which is the legislative franchise for the airport, and the other one is the bill that was vetoed, and which I intend to refile but curing all the defects cited by the President,” he said.
Salceda said that in refiling the bill, he would make sure the letter of the legislative measure would be much clearer.
“I think essentially they want it to be clearer, especially with the other laws that we passed,” he said.
Salceda said that under the revised bill, the ecozone will be subjected to the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act.
“Ang proposal din, the power of the ecozone authority to grant incentive, kailangan manggaling po sa [should come from the] FIRB,” he added.
(Another proposal is that the power of the ecozone authority to grant incentive should come from the FIRB [Fiscal Incentives Review Board].)
The House lawmaker also cited the need to provide “conventional checks and balances” under the refiled measure.
Under the vetoed bill, the ecozone authority is given an “excessive” power to “amend its own IRR (implementing rules and regulations),” according to Salceda.
“We need to put some limits and checks and balances to it,” he said.
Further, the vetoed bill has no “provision for audit with the Commission on Audit,” he added.
“So we will put all these conventional checks and balances,” he added.
In his veto message, Marcos said that the bill “will significantly narrow our tax base with its mandated incentives applicable to registered entities.”
But Salceda said that potential revenue losses are “notional.”
“Kung wala naman mag-invest doon then wala namang [If there will be no investments, then there will be no] incentives that will be lost. So in fact, it is the incentives that will create the investment, we will just need to assure that these are not redundant that is why making the powers of the authority by creating that authority over the ecozone making it compliant with the FIRB or compliant with CREATE, we essentially try to balance yung [the] loss of tax revenues,” he said.
“By way of incentive, it is a way of incentivizing public-private partnership…ang importante lang po is yung checks and balances at saka po yung limitations [the important things is that checks and balances and limitations] are also there just to ensure na walang excesses and to ensure that the project promotes public welfare,” he added.
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