The Philippine Economic Zone Authority said over the weekend it is willing to consider the application of San Miguel Corp.’s proposed Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport, after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. rejected a bill creating a new investment promotion agency on his first day in office.
PEZA director-general Charito Plaza said San Miguel could register its project with the premier investment promotion agency if it meets the requirements under the laws.
“If Bulacan airport will apply with PEZA, we can accept their application following the criteria and parameters provided in the CREATE [Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises] law and SIPP [Strategic Investments Priorities Plan],” said Plaza.
She said President Marcos vetoed the House Bill 7575, or the proposed Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport Act, because it was creating a separate investment promotion agency and freeport zone that would be a “financial burden” to the government.
“Legislating the approval of the project will create another bureaucracy that must have annual budget allocation which is the case for legislated economic zones,” she said.
Plaza said for legislated economic zones, the national government should provide the seed capital and the yearly budget for maintenance and operations.
“But with Ramon Ang, he can definitely finance his ecozone development. However, since it’s legislated, the government is compelled to provide yearly budget for other needs that can’t be funded outside the private ecozone of Ramon Ang,” said Plaza.
Plaza said if the project would apply for registration with PEZA, it should pass the scrutiny of the the Fiscal Incentives Review Board, which is tasked to the fiscal incentives given to all big ticket projects.
“They can vie for the most generous incentives if their project will meet the minimum $1-billion capital investment. Under our framework, they will have to apply first as an ecozone developer. Aerotropolis is a good model for them,” Plaza said.
PEZA said proponents of the proposed Bulacan aerotropolis should register as economic zone developer. They should also take charge of the development and the construction of infrastructure.
PEZA said economic zones are investment-driven, developed, operated and maintained by the investor-developers themselves.
Plaza said PEZA is the “go to” agency of foreign and local companies not only for world-class incentives, but also for the full range of support the agency delivers to PEZA registered business enterprises.
PEZA registers and approves business establishments, logistics and transportation hub, warehouses, manufacturing with commercial, residential, industrial areas designed into township and PEZA special economic zones.
“Big investors, in fact , invest by building their own seaport and airport, power, utilities and facilities exclusive for company’s use. This will lower the cost to government and, generally, lower the cost of doing business in the country,” Plaza said.