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Marcos Jr. vetoes bill creating SMC's ecozone in Bulacan Airport

July 02, 2022 - Saturday 6:07 PM by Patricia Francia Lachica

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On his first day as the newly-sworn President, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. vetoed on Saturday the bill proposing San Miguel Corporation's $15-billion Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport.

"At the foreground, fiscal prudence must be exercised particularly at times when resources are scarce and needs are abundant," said in the letter addressed to the Senate. 

Marcos Jr. explained that the bill posed "substantial fiscal risks" to the country. Moreover, RA 11534 or the CREATE Law already allows "eligible enterprises to apply for and avail of tax incentives outside economic zones by providing a favorable incentive package without the need for creating new special economic zones."

"The proposed measure lacks coherence with existing laws, rules, and regulations by failing to provide audit provisions for the Commission on Audit, procedures for expropriation of lands awarded to agrarian reform beneficiaries, and a master plan for the specific metes and bounds of the economic zone," it added. 

Highlighting the agrarian reform beneficiaries, fisherfolk families in Bulacan constantly opposed San Miguel Corporation's (SMC) 2,500-hectare aerotropolis project, as it also threatened the community's environment and may significantly affect thousands of livelihoods. 

"The enrolled bill grants the economic zone authority rule-making powers relative to environmental protection that is not found in the charter of other economic zones. 

In view of these considerations, I am constrained to veto the above-mentioned Enrolled Bill," President Marcos Jr. ended.