New Philippine president opposes multi-billion economic zone project

Newly-inaugurated Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr has vetoed a bill that would have created a special economic zone north of the country’s capital Manila, the presidential office said on June 2.

In one of his first legislative acts, Marcos disagreed with the bill for the establishment of the Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport. 

The zone would have included urban and industrial developments around a planned $13.4-billion international airport project developed by Philippine conglomerate San Miguel Corporation.

In May, the upper chamber of congress passed a bill creating the economic zone. It was authored by senator Imee Marcos, one of the president’s many political allies in Congress.

”Substantial fiscal risk”

In a letter to the senate signed by Marcos on July 1, he said he cannot support a bill to create a new special economic zone which offers “lengthy and wide-ranging tax perks to investors.” This would “pose substantial fiscal risk to the country and its infringement on or conflict with other agencies’ mandates and authorities.”

It is understood that his refusal is only related to the economic zone and focuses on certain “defects” in the bill such as a provision exempting the special economic zone and freeport from audit scrutiny and environment-related legal issues.

“The construction of the Bulacan international airport and aero city is not affected by the veto,” Marcos Jr’s press secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said.

New international airport on track

The privately financed international airport located 35 kilometers north of Metro Manila will be designed to handle 100 million passengers annually, compared with the 31-million capacity of the existing main gateway in the metropolitan area, and serve as a new main hub for the Philippine capital.

Marcos Jr, who took office on June 30 after winning the May election by a landslide, has inherited over $200 billion in government debt accumulated by his predecessor’s pandemic response and the impact on the economy.

“Fiscal prudence must be exercised particularly at times when resources are scarce and the needs are abundant,” Marcos said in his letter.



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Newly-inaugurated Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr has vetoed a bill that would have created a special economic zone north of the country’s capital Manila, the presidential office said on June 2. In one of his first legislative acts, Marcos disagreed with the bill for the establishment of the Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport.  The zone would have included urban and industrial developments around a planned $13.4-billion international airport project developed by Philippine conglomerate San Miguel Corporation. In May, the upper chamber of congress passed a bill creating the economic zone. It was authored by senator Imee Marcos,...

Newly-inaugurated Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr has vetoed a bill that would have created a special economic zone north of the country’s capital Manila, the presidential office said on June 2.

In one of his first legislative acts, Marcos disagreed with the bill for the establishment of the Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport. 

The zone would have included urban and industrial developments around a planned $13.4-billion international airport project developed by Philippine conglomerate San Miguel Corporation.

In May, the upper chamber of congress passed a bill creating the economic zone. It was authored by senator Imee Marcos, one of the president’s many political allies in Congress.

”Substantial fiscal risk”

In a letter to the senate signed by Marcos on July 1, he said he cannot support a bill to create a new special economic zone which offers “lengthy and wide-ranging tax perks to investors.” This would “pose substantial fiscal risk to the country and its infringement on or conflict with other agencies’ mandates and authorities.”

It is understood that his refusal is only related to the economic zone and focuses on certain “defects” in the bill such as a provision exempting the special economic zone and freeport from audit scrutiny and environment-related legal issues.

“The construction of the Bulacan international airport and aero city is not affected by the veto,” Marcos Jr’s press secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles said.

New international airport on track

The privately financed international airport located 35 kilometers north of Metro Manila will be designed to handle 100 million passengers annually, compared with the 31-million capacity of the existing main gateway in the metropolitan area, and serve as a new main hub for the Philippine capital.

Marcos Jr, who took office on June 30 after winning the May election by a landslide, has inherited over $200 billion in government debt accumulated by his predecessor’s pandemic response and the impact on the economy.

“Fiscal prudence must be exercised particularly at times when resources are scarce and the needs are abundant,” Marcos said in his letter.



Support ASEAN news

Investvine has been a consistent voice in ASEAN news for more than a decade. From breaking news to exclusive interviews with key ASEAN leaders, we have brought you factual and engaging reports – the stories that matter, free of charge.

Like many news organisations, we are striving to survive in an age of reduced advertising and biased journalism. Our mission is to rise above today’s challenges and chart tomorrow’s world with clear, dependable reporting.

Support us now with a donation of your choosing. Your contribution will help us shine a light on important ASEAN stories, reach more people and lift the manifold voices of this dynamic, influential region.

 

 

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