House approves bill to bolster BCDA | Inquirer News

House approves bill to bolster BCDA

/ 09:40 PM August 22, 2023

House approves bill to bolster BCDA.

A bike event and fun run kick off the reopening of New Clark City (NCC) to the public on May 28. Located within the Clark Special Economic Zone in Bamban and Capas towns in Tarlac province, NCC welcomes tourists every weekend. (Photo courtesy of BCDA)

MANILA, Philippines — In a 231 to three vote with no abstentions, the House of Representatives passed on Tuesday a bill aimed at strengthening the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).

The move comes as part of efforts to enhance the management of former military bases and facilities, including those in Subic, Clark, Baguio City, and Metro Manila.


House Bill (HB) No. 8505 seeks to amend specific sections of Republic Act (RA) No. 7227, which established the BCDA in 1992.


According to Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, the 30-year-old law requires revision to empower the BCDA in its primary function: the conversion, management, or sale of old military bases which are strategically located and valuable.

“The conversion of these assets is intended primarily for the benefit of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the communities around them and the nation in general,” Romualdez said.

He also highlighted that a significant portion of the revenues from military reservation sales in Metro Manila was earmarked for the AFP’s modernization.

Further, Romualdez emphasized the potential benefits of converting former U.S. naval and air bases in Subic, Zambales, and Clark, Angeles City, Pampanga into special economic zones (SEZs).

“We have airports in Clark and Subic. Subic also has a deep water port. With the necessary infrastructure, these two SEZs can be transformed into regional manufacturing and logistics hubs and tourist destinations. We have to maximize their potential,” the House leader said.

Senior Deputy Speaker Aurelio Gonzales Jr. and Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo introduced HB No. 8505, which combined two related proposals. While Gonzales represents Pampanga’s third district, Arroyo stands for the second.


HB No. 8505 proposes a fourfold increase in BCDA’s authorized capital from P100 billion to P400 billion, with the national government fully subscribing and the BCDA funding it either in cash or assets. It suggests extending BCDA’s existing 50-year term by another 50 years, subject to further extensions by law.

Furthermore, the bill permits the conversion authority to transfer real properties to government entities for exclusive public use. It also designates specific lands within the BCDA’s master plan for economic zones as “alienable and disposable”, with the caveat that these areas should not exceed five percent of each economic zone’s total land area. Proceeds from the sale of these lands would go directly to the BCDA.

The BCDA must provide triennial updates to the Office of the President about the status of residential and mixed-use land transactions.


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This article was generated with the aid of artificial intelligence and reviewed by an editor.

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