Lawmakers to refile Bulacan airport ecozone bill after Marcos veto

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 4) — Lawmakers from the Senate and House of Representatives have committed to refiling a measure seeking the creation of a special economic zone adjacent to the upcoming Bulacan Airport previously vetoed by President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

"The administration’s concerns will definitely be considered in crafting a revised bill, which we will refile after we have coordinated these concerns," Senator Joel Villanueva said on Monday.

He also assured that lawmakers are willing to work with Malacañang in ironing out a better version of the proposed Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport Act or House Bill 7575.

In his veto message, Marcos cited fiscal prudence, the bill’s supposed lack of coherence with laws, and the need for a thorough review to make sure its benefits outweigh the costs. He also said the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act (CREATE) already provides tax incentives to registered businesses without the need to create new special economic zones.

READ: Bongbong Marcos vetoes Bulacan airport ecozone bill

Ilocos Norte 1st District Representative and presidential son Sandro Marcos said his father “fully supports” the creation of an ecozone in the area.

"I believe there is already an alternative bill that will be filed in this coming Congress that will hopefully address the shortcomings that resulted in the bill being vetoed in the first place," he added.

Senators earlier said they respect the vetoing of the measure, which was passed unanimously by the Senate in late May, but not without raising their concerns.

“It is my hope that the veto does not have a chilling effect on the potential local and foreign investors, whom we need now more than ever, as our economy struggles to recover from the pandemic,” said presidential sister Sen. Imee Marcos, among the bill's proponents, on Sunday.

She also called for the immediate convening of the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council to provide guidance on the matter.

Meanwhile, Senate President Pro Tempore Migz Zubiri said the CREATE does not ban the establishment of new ecozoes as long as it confirms with its new fiscal and non-fiscal incentives, along with the "strict" regulatory powers of the Fiscal Incentives Review Board.

Bulacan Airport works not affected by veto

Press Secretary Trixie Angeles on Sunday afternoon confirmed that the veto will not affect the construction of the airport, which is seen to help decongest the country's main gateway Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City.

“The presidential veto was meant to include the necessary corrections and include the missing processes that might render HB 7575 entirely unconstitutional,” she explained.

Angeles also noted that Marcos fully supports the creation of the special economic zone and freeport in Bulacan.

CNN Philippines correspondent Xianne Arcangel contributed to this report.