Knives out and it’s just Day One! Bongbong trashes Imee’s pet bill creating Bulacan airport ecozone

President Bongbong Marcos’ first act as the most powerful Filipino is to veto the pet bill of his sister, Senator Imee Marcos, creating the Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport.

The ecozone is a crucial component of the ambitious international gateway of ultra bilyonaryo Ramon S. Ang’s San Miguel Corp. on a 2,500-hectare property in Bulakan, Bulacan.

In a veto message addressed to the Senate President and House Speaker, Marcos said it was impractical to give away more tax breaks at a time of economic slowdown.

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“While this administration recognizes the objective of the proposed measure to accelerate economic growth in its locality, I cannot support the bill considering the provisions that pose substantial fiscal risks to the country and its infringement on or conflict with other agencies’ mandates and authorities,” the President said in his veto order dated July 1.

Imee Marcos, chair of the Senate committee on economic affairs, was the main sponsor of the bill in the Senate which was approved by 21 senators in May 2022, or eight months after it passed the House of Representatives.

The veto is the first sign of the animosity between Marcos and his sister who has been frozen out of his presidential campaign as part of First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos’ strategy to start on a new slate in his administration.

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Marcos said the proposed tax breaks for the Bulacan airport ecozone were not aligned to the tax perks provided for under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) law.

Marcos also cited the ecozone’s close proximity to the Clark Special Economic Zone which he said ran counter to the government’s policy on creating special economic zones in strategic locations.

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“Contrary to the government’s objective of developing a tax system with low rates and a broad tax base, the enrolled bill will significantly narrow our tax base with its mandated incentives applicable to registered enterprises,” he added.

The President said that no less than the National Economic and Development Authority and the Regional Development Council Ill have stressed the need to study the proposed creation of a special economic zone for the Bulacan airport to ensure it will be beneficial for the entire country.

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