Senate passes Bataan Freeport bill
The Senate passed on third reading last Monday a bill that proposes to convert the Bataan Economic Zone (BEZ) in Mariveles, Bataan into a Freeport which has the potential of becoming a busy trade center in Asia.
Sen. Richard J. Gordon (Ind.), co-author and co-sponsor of Senate Bill 2118 or the Bataan Special Economic Zone and Freeport Act of 2008, said the creation of a Freeport in Bataan will spur development, not only in the province of Bataan, but also in the National Capital Region (NCR) and the whole of Luzon.
“The creation of a Freeport in the Mariveles special economic zone will generate more investments for Bataan which will help the government address the problem of increasing unemployment in the country,” he said.
“With its proximity to Metro Manila, the Bataan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (BSECF) will attract more foreign investors and has the potential of becoming a busy trade center in Asia once developed to its fullest after a port that could service both local and international trade is successfully put in place,” he added.
The bill was passed with 14 affirmative votes, two negative votes, and one abstention.
House Bill 055344, the House of Representatives’ counterpart measure of the Senate measure, was passed on third reading on Dec. 8, 2009 and was transmitted to the Senate on Dec. 12, 2009.
Gordon, who led the conversion of the former Subic Naval Base into a Freeport, stressed that local governments should also have a strong hand in operating the Bataan Special Economic Zone and Freeport as they had in Subic because the local folks would have more enthusiasm in making it into a viable operation. by MARIO CASAYURAN, ROLLY CARANDANG - TEMPO