Diokno supports veto of San Miguel ecozone

Published July 6, 2022, 3:13 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said the proposed Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport had carried substantial fiscal risks to the government.

In an interview with ANC on Wednesday, July 6, Diokno affirmed former Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III’s call to the President to stop the creation of an ecozone adjacent to the planned New Manila International Airport of San Miguel Corp. in Bulacan.

“I agree with the views expressed by Department of Finance Secretary Dominguez in his memo to the President, and so, on that basis, I also recommended that veto,” Diokno said.

According to Diokno, if the bill creating the Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport was enacted by President Marcos, the government will be obliged the provide “very generous fiscal incentives.”

The Department of Finance estimated that the San Miguel ecozone would cost the government at least P60 billion in leakages

“The president finds the version unacceptable,” Diokno pointed out.

Aside from fiscal cost, Diokno disclosed that “there are many other objections from other parts of the bureaucracy.”

“Rather than question the soundness of the veto, I think you should just read the veto message,” he added.

But despite the vetoed ecozone, San Miguel assured that the company will proceed with building an international airport in Bulacan.

“San Miguel remains fully committed to continuing on its path of growth through nation-building, and building the New Manila International Airport—seen as the solution to decades of air traffic and land congestion that have severely limited the country’s growth,” the company said.

Ramon S. Ang, San Miguel president also said they respect and abide by the government’s decision

“We thank him for recognizing where the proposed Freeport bill can be further improved, and we look forward to working with his administration towards perfecting this,” Ang said.

According to Ang, the country could reap about $200 billion in export revenue annually from potential foreign investors in the aviation, manufacturing, technology, education, healthcare and tourism industries.