Pres. Marcos Jr. vetoes bill creating Bulacan Airport City special ecozone to cure “defects,” says Palace



But construction of P740-billion Bulacan int’l airport to still push through, says PBBM press secretary Angeles

One of the design studies released by San Miguel Corporation in August 2019 for its proposed New Manila International Airport (NMIA) which it is planning to build in Bulakan, Bulacan just north of Metro Manila. The company is investing P734 billion to build a new, world-class international gateway that it envisions will be the best in the region – at no cost to the government. (Photo courtesy San Miguel Corporation)

 

(Eagle News) – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., has vetoed the bill creating the Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport to “cure defects” in the measure, according to his Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles.

At the same time, Angeles stressed that President Marcos still supports the creation of the Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport and that the onstruction of the P740 billion international airport in Bulacan would stlll push through.

But she said that President Marcos had to veto House Bill 7575 as it was the “fastest way” to cure the defects found in the measure, particularly the provision that exempted financial transactions in the freeport from government audit.

“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.

“Had the President not vetoed the HB 7575, it would have lapsed into law on July 4 or 30 days after the bill was sent by the legislature to Malacanang,” she said.

In a news release by the Palace, Angeles claimed that the proposed measure “lacks coherence with existing laws, rules and regulations by 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.”

She said that the financial transactions on the Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport are not exempted from COA audit.

“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 of Bulacan airport, not affected by veto-

She, however, explained that the construction of the P740-billion international airport in Bulacan will push through since the San Miguel franchise to operate the airport was approved by both the Senate and House on October 11, 2020.

“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,” Angeles said.

She stressed that HB 7575 did not provide procedures for expropriation of lands awarded to agrarian reform beneficiaries and granted “blanket powers” to the economic zone authority to handle technical airport operations, which would violate aeronautical laws.

-PBBM “veto message” sent to Senate, House-

Malacanang said that Executive Secretary Victor Rodriguez immediately sent letters to the Senate President and the House Speaker relaying the “Veto Message” of the President on HB 7575 entitled “An Act Establishing the Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport, Province of Bulacan And Appropriating the Funds Therefor.”

-Sen. Villanueva to carefully study refiling bill-

On Sunday, Senator Joel Villanueva, who is the author of the Senate counterpart of the measure, said he would carefully study refiling the bill.

He said he respects President Marcos’ decision to veto the bill.  He explained the measure was important as it was meant to attract more investments.

“We fully supported the passage of the Bulacan freeport bill as it aims to provide jobs and livelihoods for our kababayan (countrymen), as well as develop the country’s economy with investments and infrastructure,” Villanueva said in a statement.

“We will carefully study on refiling this bill, and even consider other possible proposals such as strengthening the PEZA (Philippine Economic Zone Authority) law,” he said.

(Eagle News Service)



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