Business Provinces

Bulacan Eco Zone bill lapses into law, set to hasten C. Luzon, North NCR dev’t

BULACAN/MANILA – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has allowed the bill creating the Bulacan Special Economic Zone and Freeport lapse into law.

 Bulacan residents welcomed the law hoping that it will speed up the economic development not only of Bulacan province but also of Central Luzon and other areas north of Metro Manila.

The spread of economic progress in these parts of Luzon could also decongest the National Capital Region (NCR), according to Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez.

The Mindanao lawmaker urged the national government and the Bulacan provincial government to prepare for this eventuality by helping the Bulacan Freeport establish or add the necessary infrastructure like roads, and health, housing and similar facilities.

San Miguel Corp. (SMC), the proponent-builder of the new Bulacan international airport, and Central Luzon lawmakers and local officials pushed for the enactment of the Bulacan Freeport bill.

Republic Act 11999, which establishes the Bulacan Special Economic Zone (EcoZone) Freeport or the Bulacan EcoZone and the Bulacan Special Economic Zone and Freeport Authority (BEZA), lapsed into law on June 13.

Under the law, the BEZA shall manage the Bulacan EcoZone, which covers the airport and the airport city projects.

The BEZA shall be organized within 180 days upon the effectivity of the law, which will take effect 15 days following the completion of its publication in the Official Gazette, or in a newspaper of general circulation.

In consultation with NEDA, BEZA shall establish the general framework for land use, planning, and development for the area covered by Bulacan EcoZone, consistent with the Philippine Development Plan of the government.

In a statement, House Ways and Means Committee chairperson Joey Salceda said the creation of the Bulacan EcoZone could bring in an estimated US$200 billion in export revenues annually.

He said the Bulacan Airport will be the “biggest investment ever made” in the Philippines.

“You have to surround it with a well-planned ecozone. You can build export industries around it, because airports are now the world’s fastest ports of entry for goods. Electronics exports thrive around airports. Imagine Mactan but on steroids,” Salceda said.

He said the area will also create “massive revenue gains” in income taxes and property taxes, so the foregone revenue from tax incentives will get offset.

Salceda expressed hope that with Bulacan airport underway, there will be investors interested in the logistics chains that a “massive” international airport will create.

“I think a lot of them will start investing in Bulacan before the airport gets completed. Years from now, when Bulacan ecozone has become our latest success story, people will look back and say this started under PBBM (President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.),” he said.

SMC, which is also a toll road operator, is proposing to construct a network of expressways leading to the New Manila International Airport in Bulakan town.

Under RA 11999, the Freeport shall cover the airport project and airport city development. It will be run by the Bulacan Special Economic Zone and Freeport Authority, which shall be organized within 180 days upon the effectivity of the law.

In consultation with the National Economic and Development Authority, the Freeport management shall establish the general framework for land use, planning and development for the area, consistent with the Philippine Development Plan.

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