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Bulacan Airport to Rise Despite Veto of Ecozone Bill, Says Palace

Veto was only meant to 'cure defects' of the bill.
by Erwin Colcol
Just now
Photo/s: San Miguel Corp/Handout

The construction of the P740-billion international airport in Bulacan will push through as planned, Malacañang said Sunday, noting that the veto of the bill which sought to establish a special economic zone in the area was only meant to "cure the defects" of the measure.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. fully supports the creation of the Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport, although he had to veto the measure that provides for it so that its infirmities can be addressed, said Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles.

READ: Marcos Vetoes Bill for Bulacan Airport City Ecozone

“Presidential veto is the fastest way to cure the defects of House Bill 7575 especially the provision which exempts the Commission on Audit to look into the financial transactions on the special economic zone and freeport," she said.

“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 House Bill 7575 entirely unconstitutional,” she added.

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In October 2020, San Miguel Corp secured a 50-year franchise from Congress to operate the Bulacan Airport, which is envisioned as an alternative to the congested NAIA in Manila.

Under the franchise terms, San Miguel unit San Miguel Aero City will be exempt from taxes for the first 10 years.

The proposed law creating the special economic zone in the area, however, lacks coherence with existing rules as it failed to provide audit provisions for the COA, procedures for the expropriation of lands awarded to agrarian reform beneficiaries, and a master plan for zone's specific bounds, according to Marcos' veto message.

The planned ecozone will also be built near the Clark Special Economic Zone in Pampanga that borders Bulacan, which violates the government policy on creating special economic zones in strategic locations.

“Without those necessary amendments indicated in the veto explanation, the law may be vulnerable to constitutional challenge,” Cruz-Angeles said.

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The proposed airport will be built on a 2,500-hectare land in Bulacan that would feature a world-class gateway capable of serving 100 million passengers every year, as well as an adjacent urban and industrial hub.


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