By DANIEL ASIDO
MANILA – Several groups are renewing their calls for the repeal of the Republic Act 11506 or the franchise granting San Miguel Corporation Aerocity to create the Bulacan Airport City.
This after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. vetoed House Bill 7575, a measure establishing a special economic zone adjacent to the airport city, citing substantial fiscal risks to the country and conflict with other agencies’ work.
A joint statement from Anakpawis and Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas urged Marcos to direct the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council to revoke the law and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to revoke the approval of the project.
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Marcos, as president, sits as the Chairperson of the NEDA Board Executive Committee.
In December 2020, House Bill 7507 lapsed into law as Republic Act No. 11506 after former President Rodrigo Duterte failed to sign it within the 30-day period given for Malacañang’s review. Through this law, San Miguel Corporation bagged the unsolicited proposal amounting to P736-billion.
Both Anakpawis and Pamalkaya added that only the interests of big corporations like the San Miguel Corporation would stand to gain from this.
Anakpawis Party-list national president Ariel Casilao said that the project should be stopped as it affects nearby fishing communities due to flooding and gained the condemnation of scientists and environmentalists alike.
“Even the local government units of Bulacan, Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, and Department of Science and Technology’s maps state that the location is prone to liquefaction and ground-shaking, but Ang and Tugade still want to build an airport there?” Casilao said.
A 2013 study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency did not recommend the construction of this airport hub on the Bulacan side of Manila Bay. Meanwhile, a separate study by the environmental group Advocates of Science and Technology for the People (AGHAM) revealed that the whole 2,500-hectare airport hub may be submerged into the water in case of a storm surge.
Fisherfolk group Pamalakaya national chairperson Fernando Hicap added that they will pursue the repealing of the law through the House of Representatives.
Hicap said that the construction of the airport is in conflict with several provisions of the Republic Act 8550 Fisheries Code, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) usurpation of reclassifying lands, the use of dummy firms of SMC, and secret issuance of the environmental compliance certificate of the project.
Hicap said that his groups will seek to refile bills that seek to revoke the San Miguel Aerocity franchise and to declare Manila Bay as a “reclamation-free” zone.
Grassroots groups have earlier filed a similar legislative measure through the Makabayan Coalition. (JJE)