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San Miguel Aerocity franchise lapses into law

SAN MIGUEL Aerocity, Inc. was granted the franchise for the P740-billion Bulacan airport after the legislation lapsed into law last month.

Republic Act No. 11506 granting the company the franchise to construct and operate the domestic and international airport in Bulacan lapsed into law on Dec. 20 after President Rodrigo R. Duterte failed to sign the bill within 30 days after receipt.

The San Miguel Corp. (SMC) subsidiary will be granted tax exemptions during a decade-long maximum construction period. The company can then continue to enjoy tax exemptions after construction and until the Bureau of Internal Revenue decides that it has fully recovered its investment costs.

The 50-year franchise, which includes the construction period, also entitles the company to a 12% revenue share each year until investment recovery has been determined.

The company has said that it plans to start construction in the first quarter this year, with land development work to be done by Dutch firm Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V., through its local units Boskalis Philippines, Inc.

SMC Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang said that the New Manila International Airport in the coastal areas of Bulakan town, Bulacan will be done by 2024.

The project has been criticized by various sectors, including fisherfolk and civil society groups for its environmental impact on marine life, endangered birds, and mangroves.

The groups filed before the Supreme Court a “writ of kalikasan,” a legal remedy that protects the constitutional right to a healthy environment. — Jenina P. Ibañez

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