House OKs Bulacan airport, economic zone bill on second reading
MANILA, Philippines — The proposed Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport Act (BACSEZFA) — the substitute to the bill previously vetoed by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. — has been approved on second reading.
House Bill No. 8841 was approved during Wednesday’s session through viva voce or voice voting, after days of debates on the viability of an airport in Bulakan town, Bulacan.
According to the bill, the proposed Bulacan Ecozone will cover the following areas:
- the Airport Project and the Airport City Project, as defined under, and to be developed pursuant to Sections 1 and 6 of Republic Act No. 11506
- the remaining land territories of the cities of Malolos and Meycauayan, and of the municipalities of Bulakan, Paombong, Guiguinto, Balagtas, Bocaue, Marilao, Obando, and Sta. Maria, in the Province of Bulacan, that are not yet included as component parts of the Airport Project and the Airport City Project
- all other expansion areas or municipalities within the Province of Bulacan and surrounding areas which may be declared as part of the Bulacan Ecozone in compliance with Section 7(e) of this Act, including all municipal waters within the Bulacan Ecozone
During the session on Tuesday, House committee on ways and means chairperson and Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda assured that the new bill will address concerns raised by the President.
“Well number one, the veto concern (is) consistency with the CREATE law incentives, under this bill, it is now, the incentives are consistent with the CREATE law,” Salceda said after being quizzed by Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas.
“The second concern is consistency with existing audit law, there was, in the previous bill, there was no provision for COA (Commission on Audit). Now, BACSEZFA is fully subject to COA. Number three, provisions for expropriations of land awarded to agrarian reform beneficiaries, there was no specific provision, now under this bill, there would be no more powers of eminent domain,” he added.
Marcos last July 2 — just days after he assumed the presidency — vetoed a bill proposing the creation of a special economic zone and freeport within San Miguel Corp.’s $15 billion airport city in Bulacan due to “substantial fiscal risks to the country”.
Marcos explained that the tax system stated in the bill contradicts the government’s “objective of developing a tax system with low rates and a broad tax base”.
It was Salceda who assured the administration that a correct version of the bill will be filed and deliberated by his panel.