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Bulacan ecozone can be under COA periodic audit – Salceda

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star
Bulacan ecozone can be under COA periodic audit â Salceda
The photo displays an artist's rendition of the Bulacan airport project.
Department of Transportation

MANILA, Philippines — The Bulacan ecozone bill vetoed by President Marcos can still be replaced with legislation that includes provisions for periodic reviews by the Commission on Audit (COA).

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, main author of House Bill 7575 that the Chief Executive flatly rejected, said there are still ways to make provisions for audits, where the ecozone authority can be assessed thoroughly by government accountants.

“We propose a provision explicitly subjecting the ecozone authority to the COA and other governance mechanisms under the GOCC Governance Act (RA 10149), particularly on audit mechanisms,” Salceda said.

According to Salceda, the airport ecozone can be subjected to “subsequent rules and regulations issued by the Governance Commission for GOCCs (government-owned-and-controlled-corporations).”

The administration legislator also dispelled fears of government losing much-needed revenues, suggesting that the ecozone will “be fully subject to rules and procedures under the Tax Code.”

“We propose explicitly stating that the power of the ecozone authority to grant incentives shall be a delegated power from the Fiscal Incentives Review Board. This would address the President’s concern about the lack of coherence with existing laws, rules and regulations,” he said.

At the same time, Salceda suggested it would be better if the powers and functions of the proposed Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport Authority “take standard powers and functions granted to other Investment Promotion Agencies.”

As far as he is concerned, Salceda said “the path that affords the least resistance while moving the objectives of the bill forward is to simply craft a new bill that addresses the President’s concerns.”

Still on

Bulacan Gov. Daniel Fernando has clarified that the construction of the Bulacan airport is still a go after President Marcos recently vetoed the bill creating the Bulacan Airport City Special Economic Zone and Freeport.

Fernando explained that the two projects are separate entities and said that the bill needs more time for careful study, evaluation and review.

“The only issue that we have as of the moment is the approval of the proposed special economic zone which I strongly believe will just need to be justified, revisited and reviewed,” Fernando noted. – Ramon Efren Lazaro

BULACAN AIRPORT

COA

GOCC

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