SO, newbie President Ferdinand Romualdez Marcos, Jr., had vetoed HB 7575, the act creating Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport to correct some defects and processes in it as HB 7575 "lacks coherence with existing laws, rules and regulations as it failed to provide audit provisions for COA, procedures for the appropriation of lands awarded to agrarian reform beneficiaries and a master plan for the specific metes and bounds of the economic zone".
The construction of the Bulacan airport is not affected by the presidential veto. Already, the proposed alternative to the congested NAIA has used up to 3,000 hectares for its site in Barangay Taliptip, Bulacan. Its residents are seriously wary of its effects on their lands if the proposed special economic zone and freeport push through.
The existing Clark Freeport Zone is less than 100 kilometers away north of the proposed Bulacan airport and aero city. Experts say the legislated freeport zone would eat up funds under the General Appropriations Act which could better be used for other purposes. They view this as a very special accommodation to prominent businessman Ramon S. Ang, President & CEO of San Miguel Corporation. Such act is not consistent with constitutional limitations, they concluded.
Charito Plaza, Director General of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority or PEZA claimed that the project could have registered with her agency to avoid litigious issues.
Expectedly, the Clark Development Corporation, which freeport zone antedates other similar establishments such as that in Subic and Bataan issued a statement on PBBM's veto of the Bulacan Airport Special Economic Zone and Freeport Bill: Clark Development Corporation (CDC) welcomes the decision of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., to interpose his veto on House Bill 7575 titled: An Act Establishing the Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport, Province of Bulacan and Appropriating Funds Therefor.
Recognizing the existence of Clark Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) President Marcos put emphasis on the significant role of Clark Special Economic Zone in being at the center of economic development, not only to Central Luzon but to the rest of the country.
This sets the tone of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.'s administration vis-a-vis Clark Freeport and Clark Special Economic Zone. This decision is a big boost to our marketing efforts and our goals of attracting investments in Clark. God bless this administration for not succumbing to pressures from the proponents of the Bulacan City Special Economic and Freeport, CDC President and CEO PBGen. Manuel R. Gaerlan said in a statement.
CDC, mandated to manage and develop this area has so far remitted P6.06B to the national coffers since its establishment. It continues to attract investments not only from local sources, but also from investors all over the world.
With its proximity to Clark International Airport and the North-South Railway System, CSEZ will continue in the coming years to attract more investors, provide more employment and generate funds for the national treasury.
While the proposed special economic zone will provide employment and introduce industrial development in the area, this is not the proper time to appropriate funds which are more needed to revitalize the weakened economy, to provide assistance to recovering industries and help our educational and health sectors to go back to normal operations.
We believe that Clark Development Corporation is more than ready to provide the impetus needed by the national government to jumpstart its economic recovery programs.
Special thanks to Eric Jimenez, Manager of the Communications Division, CDC, for the full text of President Gaerlan's statement.
The Clark Freeport Zone should be given about 10-15 more years to achieve and maximize its full growth and potentials.
As it is, it is one of the most profitable state-owned facilities and remits substantial amounts to the national treasury annually.