By Zaldy De Layola

Artist sketch of the proposed New Manila International Airport in Bulakan, Bulacan

MANILA – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s decision to let the bill creating the Bulacan Special Economic Zone and Freeport lapse into law will speed up the economic development not only of Bulacan province but also of Central Luzon and other areas north of Metro Manila.

The spread of economic progress in these parts of Luzon could also decongest the National Capital Region (NCR), according to Cagayan de Oro City 2nd District Rep. Rufus Rodriguez on Sunday.

“I foresee migration of workers, business locators and airline passengers crowding our main gateway, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, since there will be a new airport inside the new economic zone,” Rodriguez, one of the authors of the Bulacan Eco Zone (BuZ) bill, now Republic Act (RA) No. 11999, said in a news release.

The Mindanao lawmaker urged the national government and the Bulacan provincial government to prepare for this eventuality by helping the Bulacan Freeport establish or add the necessary infrastructure like roads, and health, housing and similar facilities.

San Miguel Corp. (SMC), the proponent-builder of the new Bulacan international airport, and Central Luzon lawmakers and local officials pushed for the enactment of the Bulacan Freeport bill.

SMC, which is also a toll road operator, is proposing to construct a network of expressways leading to the New Manila International Airport in Bulakan town.

Under RA 11999, the Freeport shall cover the airport project and airport city development. It will be run by the Bulacan Special Economic Zone and Freeport Authority, which shall be organized within 180 days upon the effectivity of the law.

In consultation with the National Economic and Development Authority, the Freeport management shall establish the general framework for land use, planning and development for the area, consistent with the Philippine Development Plan. (PNA)