Bongbong Marcos set to sign revised Bulacan ecozone bill into law — Salceda
MANILA -The bill creating the Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone — vetoed by President Marcos last year as the first official act of his administration — is set to be signed into law by next month, with the infirmities of the previous bill having already been corrected by Congress.
This is according to House Ways and Means Committee chair and Albay Second District Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda who touted the San Miguel Corp.-led project as the Philippines’ biggest ecozone that will be built around the country’s biggest public private partnership deal, referring to the P740-billion New Manila International Airport being built in Bulakan, Bulacan.
“Within 10 years, this project has the potential to generate P200 billion in export-oriented revenues,” he told fund managers attending Wednesday’s Philippine Stock Exchange forum on capital market reforms, co-hosted by UBS Philippines.
Salceda, who is the principal author of the improved and refiled bill, said that at its full potential, the Bulacan ecozone could add a full percentage point to the country’s gross domestic product growth.
“So if our economy is growing at 4.8 percent, for example, this (the project) can raise it to 5.8 percent,” he pointed out.
Salceda said the leadership of the House of Representatives, led by Speaker Martin Romualdez, made sure to redress the objectionable elements of the original bill, specifically a provision that would give the proposed ecozone its own regulator and rules covering environmental issues.
In his presentation to fund managers, the lawmaker said the Bulacan ecozone will add an estimated gross value of P130.9 billion to the domestic economy per year, equivalent to 0.6 percent of GDP.
It will also have the potential to generate investments worth $30 billion, P222.6 billion in land value appreciation, and a P10.4-billion increase in government revenues due to the widened tax base.
The project will also grant so-called “Einstein visas” to investors to attract talent in the technology fields which will, in turn, be done in partnership with the Bulacan State University.
The lawmaker said the Bulacan ecozone will be the first transport-oriented special economic zone in the country — by virtue of being build around the new four-runway international airport — which will also be master planned by the Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport Authority (BACSEZFA).
Salceda noted that he served as an adviser for the Incheon Free Economic Zone (IFEZ) for a decade and said that he saw parallels between the highly successful Korean undertaking and San Miguel’s project.
“Believe me, I know: this smells like another IFEZ,” he said.