FOLLOWING the cancellation of the public hearing of House Bill 1319, which seeks to create the Cebu Economic Development Zone (CEDZ), the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) believes there is no longer enough time to push for the passage of the bill under the present administration.
“We’ll have to start all over again with some amendments,” said CCCI president Samuel Chioson after admitting that the remaining time available until the 14th Congress goes on recess on Feb. 5, is “no longer workable,” especially when HB 1319 is not among the priority bills that the Senate wants to push.
Legislators will resume sessions as the 15th Congress in June under a new administration following the May elections.
The House Bill is now pending before the Senate Committee of Economic Affairs chaired by Sen. Pia Cayetano after it was passed in the House on Feb. 24, 2009 and transmitted to the Senate on Feb. 26, 2009.
Should the CEDZ bill fail to make it through the Senate, Chioson said it will be the second time that the bill will be re-filed.
The CEDZ bill was born out of researches made by the CCCI economic zone study group formed in April 2006 under the leadership of then CCCI president Francis Monera.
CCCI said the creation of an economic zone out of the whole Cebu Province would make the province a self-sustaining industrial, commercial and investment center.
A year later, in July 2007, eight Cebuano congressmen collectively filed House Bill 1319.
At the same time, Rep. Eduardo Gullas (Cebu, 1st district) also filed House Bill 14, which creates the Cebu Economic Development Zone Authority (Cedza).
Chioson also said that considering this development, the chamber is now again studying what particular amendments to the bill will be made.
Former chamber president Anastacio Muntuerto Jr. now sits as the chairman of the CCCI core group that will be studying the potential changes that can be included once the CEDZ bill is re-filed.