Soon-to-rise ₱735-billion Bulacan airport project not a tax burden, says think tank

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 2) - A think tank group believes that the soon-to-rise ₱735-billion international airport in Bulacan will not be a “tax burden”, but it would create jobs instead to revitalize the economy amid the pandemic.

“The millions of jobs the project will create in the short, medium to long-term is a much-needed shot at our economy pushed to its knees by the Covid 19 pandemic,” said Pinoy Aksyon in a statement on Friday.

The group made the statement following criticisms on the proposed tax exemption by the Congress to be granted to the project proponent San Miguel Corporation.

The House of Representatives recently approved on third and final reading House Bill No. 7575, which seeks to exempt SMC from all direct and indirect taxes, as well as fees to build, develop, and operate the 2,500-hectare New Manila International Airport.

A similar bill was also filed at the Senate.

“The incentives Congress had afforded through a franchise is not only a reciprocation of the timely, appropriate and patriotic investment, it is the least we can do for a Filipino company willing to invest this much and help government pump-prime the economy,” said the group in a statement.

Pinoy Aksyon noted that the government has nothing to lose if ever the airport will not push through.

“Fears of losing potential tax revenues have no basis to start with, because if the project does not push through, there will be no collectibles to be accounted,” it said.

The government said early this year that it may forfeit the ₱11-billion performance bond of SMC if it fails to fulfill its agreement to construct the airport.

The group also said that Filipino investments like this must be supported. It added that the airport’s possible economic contributions must be studied as well.

“What may need to be studied is the economic contribution this project could create. Downstream and upstream businesses will eventually create taxes aside from the jobs and other economic assets the project will create,” said Pinoy Aksyon.