Zubiri: Senate to correct deficiencies pointed out by Malacañang on vetoed Bulacan ecozone bill

Published July 4, 2022, 2:56 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Incoming Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri assured today July 4 that the Senate would try give priority to correcting deficiencies pointed out by Malacanang on the vetoed Bulacan airport and economic zone bill.

“Remember that ecozones are considered local bills and therefore must emanate from the House of Representatives. If it is passed there once again and transmitted to the upper Chamber, we will give priority correcting the deficiencies pointed out by the Executive department,” Zubiri said in his Viber account.

Incoming Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III explained that if the bill is refiled, “then we just have to thoroughly discuss the bill.”

“But since the veto message mentions metes and bounds, COA (Commission on Audit) authority, need to rationalize incentives, tax exemptions, and many others, if a bill should be re-filed then that bill should be a “much improved bill,” he explained.

“But then again, there is no assurance that such an improved bill will be acceptable to Malacanang. Pag sikapan nalang ng sponsors (Sponsors of the bill would just have to try harder to have it passed),”he added.

Zubiri said he respects and recognizes the position of the Department of Finance that no new economic zone shall be established.

“However, the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) law does not ban the establishment of new economic zones as long as it conforms with the new fiscal and non-fiscal incentives under the CREATE law and as long as it conforms with the strict regulatory powers of the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB),” he pointed out..

Zubiri emphasized that the Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone is envisioned to complement the construction of one of the largest airports in the region and to make it not just a transportation hub but a manufacturing hub as well, in the hope of bringing in much-needed investments and thousands of jobs for the people of Central Luzon.

“That is why we made sure that the bill conforms with the provisions of CREATE law on the new incentives regime,” he added.

The list of 10 bills filed today by Senator Imee Marcos, elder sister of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., with the Senate Bills and Index office at the first working day of the Senate and of the Marcos administration are:

1. Emancipation of Tenants

2. New Omnibus Election Code

3. Young Farmers Challenge Act

4. Pandemic Protection Act

5. Citizen Service Act

6. Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Act

7. Exempting Migrant Workers from the Payment of PhilHealth Premium Contributions

8. Doubling Farmers Income Act

9. Farm-to-Market Roads for All Act

10. Granting the President the Power to Suspend the Imposition of VAT on Petroleum Products .