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Palace: Vetoed Bulacan Airport City ecozone bill has to be sharpened

Following President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s veto of the  proposed measure which aims to create a special economic and freeport zone at the Bulacan Airport City, Malacañang on Monday said the law had to be "sharpened."

At a Palace presser, Press Secretary Attorney Trixie Cruz-Angeles was asked for comment on the "disappointment" of Senator Imee Marcos, the president's elder sister, on the vetoed bill as she raised concerns on the possible chilling effect to domestic and foreign investors.

"Well, the Palace merely says that the law has to be sharpened. We have to make anticipations of possible constitutional challenges on this one. It will cause further delays if the law is challenged and invalidated," Cruz-Angeles said.

"So this is the best way to address the problems, the innate problems of the House bill, and it gives an opportunity for the legislature to make those corrections."

Cruz-Angeles added that the Palace understood the feelings of disappointment, however, President Marcos had made his position clear: "Let’s fix this now so we don’t wait for it to be challenged later on."

She noted that the new President fully supported the proposed legislation.

"And so in fact this is — it is his commitment to sharpen the law so that when this is indeed passed, then he can fully support it," Cruz-Angeles said.

In his letter addressed to the Senate President and members of the upper chamber dated July 1, 2022, Marcos said he was “constrained to veto” the enrolled House Bill 7575 or “An Act Establishing the Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport, Province of Bulacan and Appropriating Funds Therefor.”

In vetoing the bill, the President explained that the proposal “significantly narrows our tax base with its mandated incentives applicable to registered enterprises,” which was “contrary to the government’s objective of developing a tax system with low rates and broad tax base.”

In a previous statement, Senator Marcos said she recognized and upheld the President's prerogative to veto any bill, but she was deeply "disappointed the Bulacan ecozone has been cancelled."

"In truth, this is unfinished business from Secretary Dominguez's tenure, during which all new ecozones were vetoed from 2016 until today," said Sen. Marcos.

"The reasons cited in the veto message were amply discussed during numerous hearings involving the stakeholders, then debated at length during plenary - resulting in a rare, unanimous Senate vote," she added.

The senator then called on Marcos' economic team "to stake a clear policy on the creation of new ecozones, which are not prohibited under the CREATE (Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises) law." — DVM, GMA News