CITY OF SAN FERNANDO -- The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved on final reading House Bill No. 8505, seeking to amend certain provisions of Republic Act No. 7227, the law that created the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA).
Some 231 lawmakers voted in favor, while three said no of the bill.
House Bill No. 8505 also seeks to extend the term of BCDA for another 50 years.
This will allow the agency to effectively manage former military bases and facilities in the country.
The BCDA may also effectively carry out its mandate of converting, managing or disposing of former military bases primarily for the benefit of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the communities around them and the nation in general.
The bill also seeks to increase the authorized capital of the government-owned and controlled corporation from P100 billion to P400 billion, which may be fully subscribed by the national government and funded either in cash or property.
House Speaker Martin Romualdez cited the development of the former American navy and air force bases in Subic in Zambales and Clark in Angeles City, Pampanga into special economic zones (SEZs).
He said these ecozones benefited the adjacent communities and local government units.
“We have airports in Clark and Subic. Subic also has a deep water port. With the necessary infrastructure, these two SEZs can be transformed into regional manufacturing and logistics hubs and tourist destinations. We have to maximize their potential,” he said.
The bill also declares as “alienable and disposable” residential and residential mixed-use lands identified by BCDA in its master development plan for the economic zones.
The proposed law allows the BCDA to sell alienable and disposable lands.
Proceeds shall accrue to the agency but will be reported to the Office of the President.
Romualdez noted that a large part of the proceeds from the sale of parts of military reservations in Metro Manila was allocated to the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.