SEN. Richard Gordon on Monday moved to update the 27-year-old law that transformed the former Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base into economic zones following the expiration of US bases treaty in 1991.
Looking to revitalize the special economic zones in Subic and Clark, Gordon filed Senate Bill 2207 expanding the territories of the Subic Special Economic Zone and the Clark Special Economic Zone, increasing their powers and revising the allocation of income on taxes earned.
The senator added the remedial legislation will also “entail creation of a new tax regime” for the two economic zones, to be finalized in the upcoming plenary deliberations on the bill.
In sponsoring the enabling measure, Gordon projects that early enactment into law of the remedial legislation amending the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) will “revitalize and spread the blessings of the Subic experience to neighboring communities who are willing to share the same culture of hard work, the same vision of prosperity and development, and the same willingness to work hard to make it happen.”
Moreover, he added that the proposed amendment, likewise, aims to “further strengthen Subic’s equally successful neighbor, Clark Special Economic Zone, by expanding its scope and fine-tuning policies that will further its growth.”
Endorsed for early enactment under Committee Report 653, Senate Bill 2207, once passed into law, shall be known as “An Act Revitalizing The Bases Conversion Development, Amending For The Purpose Republic Act No. 7227, Otherwise Known As The ‘Bases Conversion And Development Act of 1992,’ As Amended.”
Soon after its enactment, the proposed law provides that Subic Special Economic Zone will be developed into a “self-sustaining industrial, commercial, financial and investment center to generate employment opportunities in and around the zone, and to attract and promote not only productive foreign investments, but domestic investments, as well.”
In addition, Gordon’s bill will also expand the Subic Special Economic Zone by extending its territory to include the whole or part of the territory of the municipality of San Antonio in Zambales and the municipalities of Morong, Hermosa and Dinalupihan, upon resolution of their respective Sanggunian, for a period of not less than 50 years.
Meanwhile, Clark Special Economic Zone’s free-port zone will be increased from 4,400 hectares to 35,400 hectares. It also mandates that the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority board of directors shall provide a master plan for the phased expansion of the free-port zone every two years in the municipality of Olongapo, Zambales, and in the municipalities of Dinalupihan, Hermosa and Morong, Bataan.
Image credits: Henry Empeño